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Big talk, big trouble: Josh Thomson, Jon Fitch, and Roy Nelson’s “Uncle Tom” remark

By Zach Arnold | June 15, 2013

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Josh Thomson is receiving the same kind of treatment that someone like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck normally endures from political interest groups & the press. Why? The Huffington Post made sure to highlight comments Thomson recently made on Facebook about gay marriage. Let’s call it his Rick Santorum moment.

“Should you be allowed to marry whoever you want? Before you answer that, should u be allowed to have more than 1 wife?”

“I’m only asking a question. My next question is, should siblings be allowed to marry siblings? My point is, where do you draw the line? I personally don’t care who you marry but I also am smart enough to know that it opens a gateway to men/women trying to marry young kids, siblings marrying each other and people having multiple husbands an wives. You have to think all of these things are okay otherwise your stopping them from being happy as well which is hypocrisy. Equality doesn’t stop with gay marriage, it just starts with it.”

As you might imagine, this is playing out disastrously in New York where Sheldon Silver is regaining momentum to try to squash political desire to get a vote on the floor of the state Assembly to pass legislation to regulate MMA. Thomson’s comments have now given him some political cover and Zuffa some more heartburn. This will not end well for Thomson.

Next, we have the back-and-forth between Jon Fitch and Dana White over fighter pay and whether or not UFC should be considered a sport. As to the latter, Fitch says UFC is more like WWE than Major League Baseball or the National Football League. His point, on face value, is entirely correct. The audience cross-over between UFC and pro-wrestling fans is real and many of UFC’s viewers are not hardcore sports fans. As for the issue of fighter pay, Dana White has always disliked Jon Fitch — which is why there is great irony that Dana got worked up about Fitch claiming that UFC created a hostile work environment for him. After all, Dana & Lorenzo went after Fitch over video game rights. Dana’s larger point about Fitch hurting himself with some of his fight performances, however, is entirely accurate.

“Jon Fitch said he was working under a hostile work environment and that he never had an opportunity and should have double the wins he had with us,” White said. “He was complaining about what he had to go through here, about people saying stuff under their breath to him and all this bulls—. Jon Fitch is so full of s–t. He’s f—ing delusional. First of all, he had every opportunity that anyone else had. After Georges St-Pierre beat the living s–t out of him, did we treat him differently or anything?”

Fitch fired back on the money issue.

Responding to White’s assertion that he made $302,000 in discretionary bonuses, Fitch added up his fight purses, saying he was paid a total of $1,022,000 for 18 bouts with the promotion and “about $300,000 in bonuses,” which he said brought his total payout to $1,322,000.

“Sounds like a lot of money,” he said. “But let’s look at that a little bit closer. Out of the 18 fights in that fight purse, I paid 20 percent of that to management and the gym. So if you take that number, divide it by seven-and-a-half years, I was making roughly $176,000 a year before management and gym fees.”

After burying UFC, Fitch praised the World Series of Fighting and talked about how happy he was to be fighting for the new organization.

And then Friday night happened. For Jon Fitch’s sake, let’s hope that not a lot of people watched his fight against Josh Burkman. Burkman choked him out silly in 41 seconds and got a huge pop in the process.

The choke was done so quickly and effectively that Steve Mazzagatti figured it out after Burkman got up and let Fitch go on the canvas. Lead TV announcer Todd Harris called Mazzagatti a great MMA referee a few minutes later.

After losing in humiliating fashion, Fitch was classy in defeat but appealed for a rubber fight with Burkman if Burkman becomes WSOF’s champion. You could practically hear the champagne corks popping from Manitoba after Fitch got humiliated on television. Fitch’s only consolation prize from Dana is that he wasn’t defending Mazzagatti on Twitter.

I guess Dana’s not a fan of Alabama’s new regulations regarding pro-wrestling or something.

And then we have the execrable comments from Roy Nelson about Daniel Cormier during a pre-UFC 161 interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.

ARIEL HELWANI: “You saved the day, you stepped up to the plate but you said recently that others didn’t. Specifically, Daniel Cormier, right? And Daniel Cormier took exception to that and he said he wants to fight you next and not only does he want to kick your ass, he wants to kick your ass “for Dana White.” What did you make of that?”

ROY NELSON: “How did I take that? I was like… wow. But from my understanding is the UFC called me, said hey you want to fight or “you’re going to fight Daniel,” not “do you want to fight Daniel?” You’re going to fight Daniel and I said, OK, and then they’re like, OK, and then a day later, uh, “No, you’re not fighting Daniel, you’re fighting somebody else,” and I’m like, OK. And then next thing I know Daniel, you know, didn’t take the fight and then something about his medical clearance or whatever and I don’t think the UFC, I hope a billion-dollar company would know who’s cleared and who’s not before they make those phone calls. If not, there’s a lot of idiots running it and they need a smart guy running it.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, you think he turned down the fight?”

ROY NELSON: “I don’t know, I mean, that’s what I would say, assume to because it just makes logical sense but I’m not genius, just smart.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “What do you think when he says he not only wants to kick your ass but he wants to do it for Dana White, kind of like a hired gun?”

ROY NELSON: “Uh, you know, having a lot of black friends, they would say that would be more of an Uncle Tom move.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Really?” Why would that be an Uncle Tom? How does one have to do with the other?”

ROY NELSON: “Why? I just, just from that’s what my friends were saying and that’s what I just like, WOW… and… hey, it is what it is. I mean, you got to what you can do for the boss but you know they called me up and they said jump and I said, how high, and they said 161 and I did it, OK.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “So, do you have a score to settle with him? Do you want to fight him next?”

ROY NELSON: “Is he Heavyweight champ?”

ARIEL HELWANI: “No.”

ROY NELSON: “Then who cares?”

ARIEL HELWANI: “You’re not interested?”

ROY NELSON: “It’s Daniel Cormier. He had his chance.”

Brent Brookhouse slammed Nelson’s comments and put them in appropriate context:

The “my black friends said it” excuse should not fly in this case. Uncle Tom is a vile, racist term. There’s no room for other interpretations of what it means.

For those unfamiliar with the term, an oversimplified explanation would be referring to a black man who sides with “the white man” to gain favor. It’s a term with a long and very ugly history.

Nelson’s manager, Mike Kogan, may have stepped in it a bit himself earlier today when he tweeted out “Fag shoe contest Jordan vs Ariel who wins ? I say Jordan outpinks Ariel Helwani.”

Kogan recently defended client Nate Diaz’s use of “fag” by clumsily stating that it isn’t a term for a gay man where Diaz comes from.

Kogan and Nelson’s comments come on the heels of Josh Thomson’s bizarre anti-gay marriage ramblings on social media in the past few days, making this a less than positive week for the promotion in terms of PR.

As Cage Potato aptly put it, MMA Moron Week continues. “It hasn’t even been 24 hours since a notable MMA figure said something unbelievably stupid.”

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

10 Responses to “Big talk, big trouble: Josh Thomson, Jon Fitch, and Roy Nelson’s “Uncle Tom” remark”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) It feels like the UFC doesn’t want to sign Roy Nelson and wants him to sign with Bellator. This is the same tactic they have used for the majority of the competition in the past. The don’t try to sign a few guys and let the competitors increase their payroll until it becomes too much. Happened with Affliction and Sylvia/Arlovski. It happened with Strikeforce with Dan Henderson. It is happening now with Bellator and Rampage. And yes, the UFC had the right to match the contract and didn’t.

    2) Jon Fitch is one loss away from retirement. I think if the WSOF gets him one more more and then a rematch with Burkman for the title…. If he loses one of those fights…. He needs to retire.

    3) I thought the production value of WSOF 3 was much much better then the previous 2 shows. The online stream had horrible audio issues, but the TV broadcast was a huge step in the right direction. Would love to see the WSOF turn into a monthly event.

    4) Dana White made a great point about Fitch & Rampage. He said they both said they have never been happier…. so why are they still so concerned with the UFC?

    5) Is anybody actually ordering the PPV tonight? This just doesn’t have a good enough card to pay $55 for. It has a few interesting fights, but nothing great.

    6) The other PPV that isn’t looking good right now is Aldo/TKZ. I think TKZ getting a title shot is fine, but the PPV main card is severely lacking. Davis/Machida will probably be boring. Koscheck is too washed up to give Maia a run. And then there aren’t 2 other fights worthy of being on PPV. I think the poor PPV’s is a direct result of the UFC trying to put on a few really good FOX Sports 1 cards to start things off….

  2. RST says:

    ” this is playing out disastrously in New York”

    In no small part to be and other new normal MMA blogs desperately jumping on the higher then thou hobby horse. It was all the front page non-issue when it happpened,
    sigh. What would the huffington post do without bloodyelbow? Or race cards. sigh.

    Personally I think Thompson has a right to his opinion. I may only partially agree with what he said, but I agree with his right to say it. (sigh). Everything be doesn’t agree with isn’t “hate speech”. (sigh).

    I wouldn’t worry aboot sheldon silver and new york, Sigh. When they had absolutely nothing to complain aboot they complained. You must have quite the resiliant stamina boss to keep paying those people attention. Sigh.

    Thats a good win for Burkman. Burkman was always kind of good. Some guys guys on the ufc roster would get a chance to be a lot better without danajoel. Remember when Nick Diaz got away from the ufc? I dont see Fitch’s stock dropping that much. Burkman’s a good fighter and Fitch will be back.

    I dont have the biggest problem with what Big Country said. It was racy, yes. It was not proper new normal phraseology. But it wasn’t racist. Not at all. I understood exactly what he was saying. It was brutally to the point. cormier said that he wants to beat up country and do it for mister massa. What Nelson said is honest and true from a perspective.

    “The “my black friends said it” excuse should not fly in this case. Uncle Tom is a vile, racist term. ”

    Does brent brookehouse have any black friends? Black people say a lot worse stuff then that mister thing.

  3. david m says:

    I don’t know who Brent Brookhouse is, but he sounds like a politically correct imbecile who is incapable of independent thought. It is pathetic for Cormier to say he is going to beat Roy for Dana. If Cormier were white and said that, everyone would think that he was a major asskisser of the boss. Dana adds and drops these guys at his whims, so for one of his fighters to say he will take out another for daring to stand up to the boss, that is a betrayal of the fighters’ common bond. Roy’s trainer is Jeff Mayweather FFS, I don’t think he is racist. When Rashad called Jon Jones a white boy, where was this douche clown Brent Brookhouse? It is only racially insensitive or offensive if a white person says something. Ridiculous, GTFO with this trash.

    • RST says:

      It seems a little asskissy at the very least. What Roy said was a bit…insensitive. Rude? I would characterize it as more presumptuous then racist. Then again I dont know Country personally. Maybe he earned the right to say that.

      • Chuck says:

        I agree almost 100% with this statement. It was stupid and insensitive. What is with this growing trend of pseudo-celebrities (many of which are fighters and pro wrestlers) saying stupid shit in public under the guise of being a “straight shooter” or “telling it like it is”? Man, I am sick of it. Yeah, telling it like it is is a good/great thing, but many of the aforementioned say stupid shit just to give off the impression of being “straight shooters” and to be “entertaining”. All they accomplish is sounding like dumbasses. It’s like we have an entire generation of dudes worshiping Stone Cold Steve Austin and Han Solo.

        Yeah, Chael Sonnen is the poster boy of this attitude. I say this in the thread about Roy Nelson, but the funny thing? Nelson is way more natural at this method of talking than most (especially Chael Sonnen).

        • RST says:

          I’m not excusing what Country said,
          it was rude.

          I think he had every intention on being rude.

          It wasn’t racist.

          It was familiar.

          And whether or not that was justified can be a liberal-esque sliding scale.

  4. RST says:

    The thing is, why its not as big of a deal what Nelson said as high falutin liberals want it to be, is that in the country, black fowlkes and white fowlkes talk the same way. Black fowlkes get a lot of their vernacular from country talk. And they say stuff like that all the time. And much, much , much worse. But its just talking.

    Brent Brookhouse may have gotten a C in black people class when he was in college, but if he actually knew any black people then he would have known that.

  5. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Brown-nose? Cormiers a brown-nosing that Mr White…
    thats not racist but…

    ufc 161 EH?
    $55 ?! that was by far the absolute worst match making ever in the recent last few years of terrible ufc match making. 1 out of 11 fights has a finish and that was brain dead Barry(hes gonna get the Goodridge award), and why no 5 rd main event?!?!

  6. king famous says:

    Racism doesn’t exist in the gym – but it does everywhere else. Roy should b smarter but then again should all of us. When your words are being broadcast you must choose wisely or have a degree of savvy. There are still ways to make headlines without being a racist.

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