“It’s about making money, and I think these MMA guys were getting more money there.”
This is what UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier said about the issue regarding the two MMA veteran fighters moving to Bellator MMA during a recent interview with MMAjunkie. Cormier, who has a record of 16-1 MMA and 5-1 UFC, is set to face Alexander Gustafsson (16-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) this coming UFC 192.
Just recently, two other multi-time title contenders Josh Koscheck (17-10 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Josh Thomson (20-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) also went to the other side, which they did rather publicly, and joined Bellator MMA. The two fighters will soon make their promotional debuts later this year.
Koscheck created a lot of buzz when he left the UFC. He had tons of interviews about what took place and he had a lot to say about the UFC; he said that being in the UFC felt like being in handcuffs. Koscheck, who is now training in his own gym in Fresno, California, even called the President of the UFC, Dana White, a “little errand b-tch.”
On the other hand, Thomson admitted that he is hoping for a “fighter-friendly contract.” He backed up Cormier’s statement that the reason he left was because of the compensation.
Cormier emphasized that as incendiary as some of Koscheck’s statements have been since he left the promotion and joined Bellator, the statements haven’t been showing the real score of the issue.
“If you look at Koscheck’s statements, and he’ll say, ‘I have no beef with the UFC. “So it’s kind of weird. It’s almost like he says things and he almost takes them back. I don’t think there’s any issues. I don’t really speak to those guys on their business issues like that. I think the majority of it comes down to money and opportunity. But if you think about our gym, a lot of us have a great relationship with the UFC – Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, Khabib Numagomedov – and we’re all at different points of our career,” Cormier said.
Today, it looks like both Koscheck and Thomson’s career are taking different paths. Koscheck spent majority of his career participating in several fights in the UFC and thought about retiring before going on board with Bellator. Thomson, on the other hand, ultimately decided to join Bellator after losing against Benson Henderson this past year. Both of them, however, admitted that they are both excited by the move that they made.
Cormier also mentioned that he is fully supporting the decision of Koscheck and Thomson with their decision regarding their MMA career.
“For Thomson, I think it’s very easy for him because (Bellator President) Scott Coker is a longtime friend of his and a guy that he’s worked for for a long time and developed a very good relationship, so it fits,” he said. “Koscheck, I think it was time for a change. He had lost a bunch of fights in a row and he needed to refresh, so I think it’s good for those guys. For Josh, it’s a good fit. For Koscheck, I just think he needed a change and it gives him a fresh start – kinda.”