Stephen Thompson has yet to get paid his show money for his canceled UFC 291 bout with Michel Pereira in July. But according to ‘Wonderboy,’ the company plans to make it right in the form of extra compensation for his upcoming UFC 296 matchup with Shavkat Rakhmonov in December.
Stephen Thompson claims he’s getting paid extra for UFC 296
The wake of Stephen Thompson’s UFC 291 situation drew controversy. Wonderboy felt he should get his show money, but UFC CEO Dana White explained it by saying: “You don’t fight, you don’t get paid necessarily in the contract.”
But in his recent conversation with former champion Chris Weidman, Stephen Thompson says the UFC plans to make things right for UFC 296.
“I expected really not to get paid. Obviously, my manager and everybody was, like, ‘Hey, you showed up. You should be getting something.’ So the managers went and chased that.
“So here I am now. I haven’t seen any money yet, but… I do believe that they are going to — I think the deal is when I fight Shavkat, they’re gonna add on what they owed me for the last fight.”
‘I don’t think they’re bribing me’
Weidman went on to ask if it was some form of a bribe from the UFC. Stephen Thompson doesn’t see it that way and explains how the Shavkat fight came to be.
“I don’t think they’re bribing me, but it was the fact that I wanted somebody… There was a thing about Usman. Usman called me out, and I wanted that fight, but UFC kept coming back and saying, ‘No, Usman’s not gonna fight you, he’s gonna fight somebody else.’
“There was a lot going on. Then Ian Garry fights, and he calls me out. And then I get a call from the UFC saying, ‘Hey, fight Ian Garry at MSG.’
“I’m like, ‘No, I’m done fighting these guys ranked below me. Give me somebody that’s ranked above me.’”
Stephen Thompson believes a win at UFC 296 will get him a title shot
The 40-year-old Thompson isn’t one of the frontrunners for a title shot. But with a win over Shavkat, the seven-ranked contender believes he faces the winner of UFC 295’s championship bout between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington.
“People are looking at (Shavkat), undefeated, hundred percent finish rate. Nobody wants to fight this guy, so here I am. Do I fight somebody ranked below me? Do I fight somebody ranked above me, probably one of the toughest guys in the division who nobody wants to fight? I’ll fight Shavkat. Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen.
“Because I believe (if) I go out there and beat this guy… he should be fighting for the title after this fight with (the winner of) Leon vs. Colby,” he continued. “I think Shavkat’s got it. He’s going to be fighting for (the title). So if I beat this guy, I’m looking at another title shot.”
When asked about Stephen Thompson’s claim, UFC CEO Dana White had this to say in response.
“Okay … okay … if that’s what he said, it must be true,” he said during Tuesday’s Contender Series media scrum.
Shavkat Rakhmonov’s record
The 28-year-old Kazakh has made waves in the UFC’s 170-pound division. A former M-1 champion, Shavkat (17-0) entered the organization in 2020 with a first-round submission win over Alex Oliveira.
He continued to pile on win after win, with his last three victories earning him Performance of the Night bonuses. Shavkat’s last bout happened at UFC 285 in March against Geoff Neal at a 175-pound catchweight after the latter missed weight.
Shavkat won via third-round submission and a $50K bonus for Fight of the Night.
UFC 296 fight card so far
The Stephen Thompson-Shavkat Rakhmonov matchup is one of the latest additions to the year’s final UFC PPV event. At the top of the bill are two title fights: flyweight champion Alexandre Pantoja defends the belt for the first time against Brandon Royval at the co-main event. Headlining the card is the welterweight championship between Leon Edwards and Colby Covington.
Also announced is the welterweight bout between Vicente Luque and Ian Machado Garry, as well as Tony Ferguson’s return against Paddy Pimblett.
UFC 296 happens on December 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
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