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Chael Sonnen calls for UFC to pay Stephen Thompson for scratched UFC 291 fight - ‘What are you mad about?’

Chael Sonnen made it clear that he believes UFC should pay “Wonderboy” his show money after his UFC 291 opponent missed weight, causing their fight to be canceled.

UFC 291 marked the second time the “Baddest Motherf—er (BMF)” title was on the line, and the bout between Justin Gaethje vs. Dustin Poirier definitely delivered. Unfortunately, we never got to see the “Nicest Motherf—er” belt holder Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson compete in Salt Lake City, Utah, this past weekend (Sat., July 29, 2023).

He was set to face Michel Pereira, but “Demolidor” missed weight by three pounds (details here).

Thompson refused to fight Pereira after that, given he’d previously been out-muscled by Darren Till for a decision loss after Till missed weight badly. Now, “Wonderboy” is stuck in limbo wondering whether he’ll get paid at all for all the blood, sweat and tears he put into preparing for the 170-pound tilt.

Fighter pay is typically broken down to show and win money. Fighters make a certain amount to show up, and a certain amount if he or she wins. In theory, if a fighter hits the scales, makes weight and is ready to fight, he or she should get his or her show money. In practice, UFC is very selective when it comes to who gets their show money if a fight falls through.

Sometimes, the promotion will just reschedule a fight and the athletes will get paid then. Sometimes, they pay the ready fighter (Thompson in this case) in full. But, in Thompson’s UFC 291 case, he recently stated he may not get paid at all.

“Wonderboy” is getting a lot of support in his push to at least get paid his show money. Some of that is coming from Chael Sonnen, who returned to action as an analyst on ESPN+’s broadcast at UFC 291.

“I stand with Stephen — I stand with Thompson on this one,” he said in a new YouTube video. “Thompson made a statement and he said, ‘I hope my actions will preclude somebody in the future from missing weight.’ I liked it. It was condescending, it’s what you would say to a six year old. I thought it was beautiful. I really did.

“This was about an honor and a respect that goes deeper than just this organization, you and I both know the deal and you and I both know you can’t [miss weight],” Sonnen continued. “Why should [Thompson] be punished?” he said later in the video. “What are you mad about? Are you mad that ‘Wonderboy,’ who’s followed every rule in the history of rules and then some, wanted to continue following the rules? We’re mad that he wanted to do things right?”

UFC contracts are famously one-sided and don’t lay out anything regarding when a fighter should (or shouldn’t) get paid in situations like this. And that’s undoubtedly by design. The promotion knows all sorts of crazy things happen in this sport, and it wants full flexibility to deal with things on a case-by-case basis.

Honestly, it’s the athletic commissions that should lay down the law on what constitutes show money. They’re the ones who are supposed to be protecting the fighters from sketchy promoter behavior like this. Making weight is a commission thing, so they should have clear guidelines as to what happens to a fighter’s purse if they refuse to fight someone who misses weight. Relying on the largesse of a promotion that has every financial incentive to force fighters to fight in unfair situations is not a good system.

“It’s an interesting situation,” Sonnen concluded. “I hope they do the rematch, but I will tell you: I stand with ‘Wonderboy.’”

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 291: “Poirier vs. Gaethje 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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