Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson has still not been paid for showing up to UFC 291 ready to fight. Unfortunately, his opponent did not afford him the same courtesy resulting in the cancelation of their highly anticipated fight.
The MMA community has been up in arms after a report from MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn revealed that ‘Wonderboy’ was not paid for showing up on point and ready to go ahead of his scheduled scrap with Michel Pereira. Sadly, Thompson never stepped foot inside the Octagon after his opponent stepped on the scale three pounds over the welterweight non-title limit. Thompson subsequently declined to accept the fight as a catchweight and the bout was canceled.
Many fans assumed that ‘Wonderboy’ opted to take his show money and go home, but as it turns out, he hasn’t received a dime. A truth that immediately sent MMA Twitter into a tizzy. Speaking on the situation, three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen revealed that he is standing tall with Thompson in hopes that the promotion will make good with one of their most respected and tenured fighters.
“I stand with Stephen. I stand with Thompson on this one,” Sonnen said on Beyond the Fight. “Thompson made a statement and said, ‘I hope that my actions will preclude somebody in the future from missing weight.’ I like it. It’s condescending. It’s something you would say to a six-year-old. I thought it was beautiful. I really did.”
According to Sonnen, the promotion has offered ‘Wonderboy’ $30,000 for his time. A pretty nice chunk of change for most people, but when you consider the weeks of time and training that Thompson put into his fight camp, not to mention the individuals that helped him along the way, it’s perhaps more of an insult than anything.
“The situation is, they’ve offered [Thompson] $30,000 for his time,” Sonnen claimed. “Now, I think you’re going to be able to see all sides of that. Imagine if you had a plan for a job to be done. It could be anything. You have a very clear plan. You do what you said you were going to be, but at the end of the day the chimney wasn’t there, but the guy would still want paid. And you kind of go, ‘Well, we don’t have the chimney the way we planned, but I do see you got the bricks. You got the mortar and I see you’re here.'”
Thompson took home a base pay of $350,000 for his December 2022 fight with Kevin Holland. He also bagged a $100,000 win bonus and $15,000 in sponsorship money.
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) July 31, 2023
Chael Sonnen Calls Out Fighters for Their Lack of Discipline Following ‘Wonderboy’ Debacle
Clearly upset by the situation, and having experienced it himself, Chael Sonnen tore into mixed martial artists, suggesting that they lack the discipline necessary to make weight two or three times a year while competitive wrestlers make weight every week for an entire season.
“When you have an opponent that doesn’t make weight, what do you do? The general consensus is amongst you guys is, ‘What difference does it make? It’s four pounds.’ I don’t disagree with you, but guess what? Neither does Stephen Thompson,” Sonnen said. “That’s not what this was about. This was about an honor and a respect that goes deeper than just this organization. It goes back to our roots and you and I both know the deal and you and I both know you can’t do it.”
“If I was fighting somebody and they missed weight… I’ve been in this position. The show goes on, I understand that. I would feel very different if that person was a wrestler. As wrestlers, we don’t miss weight. As fighters, we miss weight all the time. Fighters are nowhere near as disciplined or as tough as wrestlers.
“Wrestlers will weigh in every single Friday night for an entire season and never miss weight. Not only will they not miss, they won’t even see anybody miss. You won’t even hear the word miss. It never happens. Fighters gotta do it three times a year and can’t make the damn weight.”
Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that with fighters regularly attempting to cut 20-30 pounds to compete in a division that allows them to bully people with a significant weight advantage, but that’s a different conversation for another day.