clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White on Stephen Thompson’s UFC Nashville pay: ‘There’s a much bigger story behind the scenes’

UFC President Dana White said the promotion is working with Stephen Thompson on some sort of compensation for his cancelled fight at UFC 291. But he also defended the practice of not automatically paying fighters their show money for fights that didn’t take place.

“There’s a much bigger story behind the scenes,” White said at the DWCS Season 7 Week 1 press conference. “And no, you don’t just show up and say, ‘Yeah, I’m not gonna fight – I want a quarter of a million dollars.’ Not the way it works.”

“Wonderboy” Thompson did show up for a scheduled fight against Michel Pereira on the July pay-per-view card, but Pereira missed weight by three pounds. As White pointed out Tuesday, fighters are given the option of taking a portion of their opponent’s purse, typically 20 percent of the “show” money. Thompson instead declined the fight, and it was cancelled.

Afterward, it was reported that Thompson had not received his “show” pay for the fight. On a recent episode of The MMA Hour, he explained his decision to turn down the fight and was optimistic the UFC would compensate him in some way for the cancelled fight. He ultimately placed the blame at Pereira’s feet for the cancellation and said the UFC should include a mandatory pay clause in their contracts when fighters lose fights through no fault of their own.

The UFC, in fact, has often paid the show purses of fighters who have shown up on weight, only to see their bouts cancelled for reasons beyond their control. It has also paid undisclosed portions of pay to fighters for their training expenses incurred when a fight is cancelled. White said the promotion continues to do so, but he also put some of the onus on Thompson for not taking a fight he said was offered when the Pereira bout was cancelled.

“So how that works is, guys don’t just get paid to not fight,” he said. “It’s not how that works. Guys have been paid. We’ve taken care of guys. Hey, listen, if you come in, and you’re making short money, we take care of you.

“You come in and you don’t fight – first of all, you decided not to fight. The guy was three pounds overweight, whatever it was, you get a piece of his purse if you take the fight. But if you deter you decide you don’t want to take the fight. We also offered him another fight.”

White did not name the fight Thompson was offered after the cancelled Pereira fight. Typically, the promotion has offered quick turnarounds to fighters whose fights are cancelled – however, that scheduling doesn’t always work for athletes who train to peak at a certain time, or train on the assumption they are taking on an opponent that will be beneficial to their career.

At 40, Thompson is one of the more experienced competitors in the welterweight division. He has shot down previous calls to retire after losses and said he’ll remain on the title hunt as long as he’s fighting.

“If you don’t turn around quickly, then we try to figure out what did it cost for your camp?” White said. “We’ll reimburse you. You know, there’s a lot of different ways that this gets worked out. You don’t just go, ‘Yeah, this guy’s three pounds over, I’m not gonna fight, and no I won’t take another fight two weeks later, and pay me my show money.’ Not how it works.

“You don’t fight, you don’t get paid necessarily in the contract. But we always make sure that we take care of everybody, and we’re working it out with ‘Wonderboy’ right now. It’s all being worked out behind the scenes, and this should all be worked out by Saturday.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting