Stephen Thompson may be the most respectful competitor in MMA.
But even an extremely nice person like “Wonderboy” can’t hide all of his true feelings following his extremely close and controversial decision loss to Darren Till in the main event of Sunday’s (May 27, 2018) UFC Liverpool from the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
He was respectful and complimentary of Till in the moments after the fight, yet during an appearance on The MMA Hour today, ‘Wonderboy’ told Ariel Helwani that he believes the judges could ‘do better’ and if the fight was anywhere but Till’s hometown of Liverpool he believes he would have won a decision:
“I know close fights are very hard in the moment,” Thompson said. “But there seems to be a lot of that happening recently. But I think [I would have won if the fight was not in Liverpool]. I really do. I think so. Darren is definitely a tough guy, man. He’s a very confident person. Definitely built for the fight game. And yeah, I think I would win that fight.”
Several of the decision’s doubters – most media members scored it for Thompson – believed that the boisterous crowd, who oohed and awed every time Till even through a strike that missed, played a huge part in the cageside judges scoring it for the 25-year-old rising star. Thompson said he didn’t notice it, but if that was the case, those judges should have judged the match-up more professionally:
“You’ve gotta be professional out there,” Thompson said. “I’d like to think of the judges as being professional and not thinking that and them focusing on the fight and not what the fans are doing. I literally didn’t hear a damn thing out there. I didn’t hear the crowd. People were saying that every time a punch would whiff by you — not even make contact — the crowd was going crazy. I don’t know. That could be a possibility, yeah.”
Ultimately, though, Thompson kept the same strategy that he did after the loss, choosing to respect his opponent no matter which way the scorecards went:
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“Once they make that announcement, I’m not gonna go out there and pitch a fit,” Thompson said. “I’m gonna take it like a man and be a gentleman. I’m gonna shake my partner’s hand and that’s how it should be done. I can’t go back and change it.”