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Josh Thomson excited to sign 'fighter-friendly contract' with Bellator MMA

Former Strikeforce champion and ex-UFC lightweight Josh Thomson has officially signed with Bellator MMA. Check out what he has to say about his new home, which reunites him with Scott Coker.

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Bellator MMA has formally announced the addition of former UFC lightweight contender Josh Thomson to its roster. Thomson's UFC deal had expired following his loss to Tony Ferguson, and according to the UFC, they opted not to give him a new contract (more on that later).

In the official press release, Thomson outlined the reasons for signing with Bellator, and also praised the promotion for its "upward trend" and "fighter-friendly contracts":

"I'm over here reading this UFC reporter saying that they've declined to re-sign me when the truth of the matter is that they've been trying to re-sign me for my last two fights. I declined and instead chose to fight out my contract and test the free agency market with Bellator. At that point, Bellator made me an offer that the UFC was unable to match given their relationships with FOX and Reebok. It's a done deal, I'm back working with Coker, and I couldn't be more excited to get back to an organization that is trending upwards with fighter-friendly contracts. Any intelligent fighter is going to go where the money is, and for me the money was at Bellator."

There's no word yet on when the 36-year-old will make his Bellator debut, but it's also interesting to note that in the same release they made note of Thomson's 3-0 pro kickboxing record in addition to his MMA accolades. Maybe we could see "The Punk" do more than MMA again now that he's under Bellator contract.

Circling back to Thomson's contract situation with the UFC, he seemed none too happy with the original report that the UFC didn't offer him a new deal, instead saying he declined to re-sign with the UFC and chose to fight out his contract and test out the free agent market. MMA Fighting obtained an email from Thomson's manager, Bob Cook, which backs the original report that Thomson had never received a new offer from Joe Silva:

"I know you said it wasn't necessary," Cook wrote in the e-mail, "but here's the offer for Thomson[. I] was trying to do everything by the book. The sooner you can let me know we can proceed would be appreciated thank you."

As reported earlier, Silva didn't match the offer sent to him on Aug. 10, nor did he offer a new contract.

UFC president Dana White also told MMA Fighting that the UFC actually released Thomson outright:

"We told them we weren't interested," White said. "We released Josh. We didn't even want to match. He was free to deal with whoever he wanted to after his last fight and they knew we weren't going to match.

"Good for Bob," White continued. "He's supposed to make believe that more people want [his client]. That's how he makes Josh more money."

Whatever the final story is, Thomson isn't a UFC fighter anymore and he joins Josh Koscheck and Phil Davis as the big UFC-to-Bellator acquisitions of 2015.