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Morning Report: Josh Thomson talks UFC departure, Reebok and 'business'

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Regardless of the circumstances of his "release," Josh Thomson sounds happy to be a part of Bellator MMA.

The 36 year-old veteran signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion last week following an 0-3 slide in the UFC's lightweight division, having only won his 2013 debut in a 'Knockout of the Night' performance over Nate Diaz.

UFC president Dana White claimed the UFC effectively released Thompson by opting not to re-sign him, but the lightweight says the promotion tried a few times during his skid.

"I was offered a contract extension [two fights ago]," Thomson told ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto. "They wanted to re-up me then, and I declined. I wasn't very happy with the numbers. After my next fight [a split decision loss to Bobby Green in July 2014], they came back and offered another contract and even upped the pay a little.

"I still declined. I was willing to go ahead and fight out my contract. I don't have a problem with the UFC. They run their business. I treated this like a business negotiation."

According to Thomson, the UFC's exclusive uniform deal with outfitter Reebok also played a role in his decision to join Bellator.

Thomson most recently dropped a unanimous decision to Tony Ferguson in July, earning $5,000 sitting in the second tier of Reebok's sponsorship program. Thomson says he was earning between $60,000 and $80,000 in sponsorship prior to the program's rollout last month.

"My understanding is that we have to wear Reebok with the UFC," Thomson said. "There's no other option. Well, you get paid to wear Reebok but you only get paid in their program, whatever their pay scale is. I took my negotiations over to Bellator, where there is no sponsorship tax, so my sponsors can sponsor me directly.

"So, if I have a company that is sponsoring me for $20,000 per fight, my sponsors aren't getting taxed by Bellator, which is more money in my pocket. You can't say that the UFC can match that. They just can't."

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A video posted by natediaz209 (@natediaz209) on


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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced this weekend (Aug. 14-16 2015)

NA

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Emmery Myers.

Fedor will sign with the UFC, nothing else has ever been an option.

In mid July the mixed martial arts world, still smoldering from the now legendary UFC 189, was set ablaze once again with the news that "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko, the stone-faced killer of yore, was negotiating with multiple promotions in anticipation of his return. Almost immediately fan speculation shifted to Bellator.

...

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