UFC vs. Stephen Thompson: Fighter has update on pay dispute

Stephen Thompson's saga over a failed UFC fight with Michel Pereira appears to have come to a close.

By: Zane Simon | 1 month ago
UFC vs. Stephen Thompson: Fighter has update on pay dispute
Stephen Thompson weighs in for UFC Orlando. | Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

Back in July, Stephen Thompson hoped to teach the UFC roster a lesson. Faced with a PPV main card bout against rising then-welterweight prospect Michel Pereira, Thompson turned the fight at the 11th hour, following a 3-pound weight miss for the Brazilian on the scales. Although he could have elected to go on with fight, Thompson hoped that making an example of Pereira would show other fighters the value of professionalism.

“I want everybody to know right now in the 170 division, that if you’re going to fight me now you better be on weight or it’s not going to happen,” Thompson told fans, speaking of his decision. “I’m at a place in my career where I want to fight fairly. I don’t want to play any games. I don’t know what needs to be done but I think there should be more and greater consequences for these guys who are coming in with no integrity and no honor to make weight.”

UFC makes an example out of Stephen Thompson

Unfortunately for Thompson, after looking for the UFC to compensate him for upholding his end of his contract, he ended up being the one getting turned into a public example.

“You decided not to fight,” White said of Thomspon at a press conference shortly after the event. “(Pereira) was three pounds overweight. You get a piece of his purse if you take the fight… We also offered him another fight. There’s a much bigger story behind the scenes. No, you don’t just show up and say ‘yeah, I’m not going to fight, I want a quarter of a million dollars.’ That’s not the way it works. Hasn’t worked that way for anybody.”

Thompson and the UFC back on good ground

Back in September Thompson sat down for a conversation with longtime friend and training partner, former UFC champion Chris Weidman. At the time, Thompson said he hoped that the UFC would settle their dispute over pay with a bump up in compensation for his upcoming bout against Shavkat Rakhmonov in December.

With that card now fast approaching, it sounds like the details have all been worked out. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Thompson provided an update on his contract saga with the UFC. According to ‘Wonderboy’ everything has now been settled in a way that’s agreeable to all parties.

“Me and the UFC, and my management, we’ve settled everything,” Thompson confirmed, speaking of his dispute with the world’s largest MMA promotion. “So everything’s great. We settled with something we were both happy with, and that was it.”

“It took a little bit because they have a business and a lot of stuff going on — and so have I,” Thompson said. “So my managers have been taking care of everything. But, yeah man, I was happy with everything, with what the UFC has done for me, and we got away from this last fight with a smile on our faces.

“Not only that, but then [I got] a fight, obviously, against a top opponent, someone ranked above me, and on one of the most stacked cards of the year — the last card of the year.”

UFC 296 goes down on December 16th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas adjacent Paradise, NV. Alongside the welterweight top contender’s bout, the card is set to be headlined by a divisional title fight between champion Leon Edwards and Colby Covington. A flyweight title fight between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Royval is set for the co-main event.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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