The above Tweet is making the rounds to folks that cover the sport big and small. Some people have a problem with what Thomson said, who is part of MMA media now but he’s not saying anything that isn’t worth saying and I for one, agree with him.
A rising tide lifts all boats
First, let’s not discredit the UFC. If it were not for the success of the UFC, the sport of MMA would not be as popular as it is now. Their success has shown that promoting regulated mixed martial arts competition as a competitive sport is something that can draw generations of fans and competitors. It’s legit, but crossing that threshold has created the “UFC Stan”, a term I first heard when we had All Access MMA’s Jacob De Leon on the Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour podcast last summer.
If you don’t know what a “UFC Stan” is, it’s the fan that watches nothing but the UFC, likely has never trained in any form of martial art to appreciate what the athletes go through, and has never heard of or frowns on other promotions featuring the sport. They disregard talent outside of the UFC without ever having seen a fighter compete, even though Dana White has a feeder program wholly based on finding such talent with his Contender Series and “Lookin’ for a Fight” shows.
Clearly, White knows about regional and other MMA promotions and has recruited great talent from them. However, the UFC was first so they absolutely deserve credit for that.
But the UFC is not MMA.
Thomson has fought for the UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, and Pride Fighting Championships. He’s one of the athletes that pursued greatness in a sport where it is still hard to fight the best of the best. His call out to the media comes from being happy to see a rare event that the UFC would never do because they do not want to sully the name of the brand. Bellator MMA and RIZIN prefer to let the fighters show their talent, regardless of who promotes an…