FiveOuncesOfPain.com contacted James Thompson via phone at his home in England on Wednesday and he granted us an exclusive interview. During the interview, Thompson was candid about his feelings regarding his main event fight vs. Kimbo Slice during the debut of “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS. Thompson held nothing back and addressed all the questions we had pertaining to his fight vs. Slice.
He revealed during the interview that he intends to file an appeal; that he knew what was going on after the fight had been stopped and had intentionally put his hands on referee Dan Miragliotta; how he feels about one judge who scored the second round in favor of Kimbo; and that in hindsight, he feels uneasy with the tight nit relationship between Gary and Jared Shaw and Slice.
Below is the transcript of our one-on-one with Thompson:
Sam Caplan: I wanted to first see if I could get a general update on your health. How are you doing right now?
James Thompson: Yeah, I’m fine. Right after the fight a lot of people wanted me to go to the hospital. Obviously, I needed to go to the hospital for my cauliflower ear but other than that my health was 100 percent. My cauliflower was busted. They put stitches in it and sliced and diced it a little bit but that’s all fine now and that’s kind of healing. So yeah, I am 100 percent.
Sam Caplan: I wanted to go through all the events that took place this past Saturday night. First, I wanted to start with the post-fight press conference. It was kind of strange because the press conference started with Gary Shaw announcing that you were in bad shape and that you had been rushed to the hospital. Then, a few minutes later you walked in and given the circumstances, you appeared relatively fine. Did you know he had made that announcement, and if so, how did you feel when you heard that he had said that?
James Thompson: No I didn’t hear that announcement. I didn’t know until afterwards. I wouldn’t have left the press conference. I mean, I did ask to go to the hospital, because like I had just said earlier, I needed to go for my ear. But I mean, I didn’t know Kimbo was coming out, otherwise I would have hung around to finish it off. No, but I didn’t know he had said that and I’m not quite sure why he said it. I mean, what can I say? A lot of people were telling me to go to the hospital; people from Elite. In the end, I just told them over and over again that I was going to the press conference (and that) I would like to have my say and that’s what I did. And maybe he didn’t care about that? It was just a bit of a shock.
Sam Caplan: During the press conference, you were asked by a reporter if you had thought that Kimbo tapped during the first round while you were applying a guillotine choke. At the time the question was asked, you said “no” and that you didn’t think Kimbo had tapped. Do you still feel that way?
James Thompson: See, that shocked me when the question was asked because I didn’t notice any kind of tap. And on the video, he actually kneed me in the groin. That’s why I turned to the referee. That’s why I think some people might have thought I said “Did he tap?” But no, I didn’t notice that but I did obviously notice when he kneed me in the groin. And so that’s what I tried to alert the attention of the referee to. I didn’t notice or feel any tap when he did it but when I look back it did look quite strange; it did look kind of look like a small tap. I’m not quite sure why he would have done that. It didn’t look like a thumbs up because once he did the thumbs up he did it again and it kind of looked like a small tap. I don’t know why he would do that, unless obviously he tapped, then I don’t know why he would do that.
Sam Caplan: During the second round, you had Kimbo on the ground and you had his arm trapped in a crucifix. By certain counts, there was anywhere between 20-22 unanswered strikes delivered on your part to Kimbo. Do you feel the fight should have been stopped?
James Thompson: Yeah. Really, when it’s all said and done, basically if a fighter is unable to answer or improve his position, then a fight gets stopped. I just feel — and this is a gut instinct — but that if I was on the bottom and the roles were reversed, then the fight would have been stopped after 10, 11. That’s just the way I feel, maybe I am wrong. I don’t know, I just get that feeling.
Not only that, but I had the referee telling me he was going to stand it up if I didn’t keep working hard. But at the time, I was elbowing. I thought, what are you talking about, I’ve got his arm pinned? I’ve got his other arm locked down and I’m elbowing him. I’m throwing elbows and you’re telling me you possibly might stand it up? You don’t know what to think when something like that’s going on.
But yeah, of course I thought the fight should have been stopped.
Sam Caplan: With the standup, and I can already guess the answer to the question but I wanted to get your thoughts on it anyway, did you agree with the standup?
James Thompson: That’s what I first thought but I didn’t want to get too distracted. But I just couldn’t believe he stood us up from side control. Even if I was just holding him in side control and not doing anything with it, I think in the video I had been in it for, about, 10 seconds? Maybe a little bit longer? I just threw a few hammerfists with my left hand out and I kind of locked it up with my other arm. But he stood it up and that was very quick. In my head, I kind of got a sinking feeling and I thought [inaudible] at this point.
Sam Caplan: I then wanted to go into the third round when the fight was stopped. I wanted to get your feelings about the outcome of the fight and whether it was a fair stoppage?
James Thompson: No. In my opinion, he had just seen me catch some heavy shots and I was rocked. But if you looked at the first and second round, I caught heavy shots in both of them and I had managed to reverse it. I managed to get a takedown. I was still on my feet. Like I said, it did rock me but I was going to go for a clinch there. I can’t tell you what would have happened after that. I say tell you 100 percent that I would have put Kimbo down, I mean, I don’t know. No one can tell. But remember, like you had said, I threw 20-some unanswered blows and the fight didn’t get stopped in the second round. In the third round, Kimbo hits me with a good four punches (and) I’m still on my feet and the referee comes in and stops it. I think as soon as Kimbo had the slight advantage, he got the nod. That’s how it feels and that’s how it looks to me.
Sam Caplan: After Dan Miragliotta had stopped the fight and rendered his decision, you put your hand on him. According to Nick Lembo in an interview I conducted with him on Monday, he said he spoke with Miragliotta and that he had said he felt you weren’t even sure who he was and that you didn’t know the fight had been stopped. Did you know what was going on and did you intentionally put your hands on Dan Miragliotta?
James Thompson: You see, this is what almost is the most annoying to me, is the fact that I was just so disgusted and that I was so in shock by it. In disgust, I kind of shoved him. I went to shove him away and I caught his face. Now, I did that completely knowingly and completely purposely. It’s kind of like they take pity on me. Someone said “Oh, I think he thought I was Kimbo.” It’s even more insulting. Don’t get me wrong, I was rocked. But I was completely coherent. I saw him stop it; I followed his hands; I looked right back (and) I said to him, “What are you doing?” For him to say that he thought I thought he was Kimbo is absolutely ridiculous. I’d rather just get fined if that’s the case. For him to say I thought he was a black man with a beard… it’s insulting, basically.
Sam Caplan: I just wanted to clarify something you said a few sentences ago. Did you say you were “robbed” or did you say you were “rocked?”
James Thompson: No, I said he did “rock” me. I was rocked but you know, in the beginning of the second round, I was rocked. I mean, I got caught with some heavy shots earlier in the fight and I was rocked at different stages but you know, that’s what a fight is, isn’t it? To see if you can come back from that. And before I’ve come back. Plus, on the scorecards, I was two rounds up. It’s just hard to comprehend, really.
Sam Caplan: That raises another question. What did you think about judge Eric Colon… the second round was crazy. Judge Douglas Crosby scored it 10-8 in your favor yet Eric Colon scored it 10-9, Kimbo. What’s your reaction to that?
James Thompson: I don’t know if Kimbo had hit him a few times before he had sat down and he was seeing funny? Maybe he thought I was Kimbo? Maybe that’s what happened? When I saw that again, less and less it’s starting to shock me, to be honest with you. When I had first saw that, I just couldn’t believe it. Half the round I was controlling. I was in a massively dominant position for more than half the round. For him to score it that way… not that it’s an insult to me, but as insult to MMA in general. He shouldn’t be doing that job.
Sam Caplan: In my opinion and in the opinion of a lot of others, I feel like you got a really bad deal out of this whole situation. Has Gary Shaw or EliteXC come to you and said “James, we’re going to give you a rematch. This has to be decided definitively.”
James Thompson: No, no they haven’t. I haven’t heard from them. Nothing. I mean, maybe they’ll give me a rematch? I’m not holding my breath, but see, all these things happened. But there’s not much I can do all these things that I’ve just been complaining about. But what would be fair and what EliteXC can do and is in their power to do, is to say “Okay, I can understand why you’re not happy. It’s not particularly our fault, but what we can do to rectify the decision is let you guys go at it again.” Do a doover and see what happens. And that would be fair and then I’d have a lot of respect for EliteXC if that would happen. Fingers crossed, let’s wait and see.
Sam Caplan: Do you have any plans to appeal the decision and just the overall level of officiating that took place on Saturday?
James Thompson: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of time to look over things. It’s just that right afterwards everything is a bit hazy. Everything happens so quick. So many things were happening that I like to take a little bit of time out and really see how I felt about it all. Weigh it all up. But now that I’ve thought about it, I feel like I owe it to myself to at least appeal the decision. Just for myself to see what can become of it.
Sam Caplan: The Shaws seem very closely aligned to Kimbo. I spoke to writers in press row who had mention in great detail that Jared Shaw, a Vice President with EliteXC was yelling at Dan Miragliotta in the second round to stand the fight up. Then, when the fight was over, Jared Shaw was one of the first people, if not the first person, to run into the cage to congratulate Kimbo. Do you feel like there was favoritism on the part of the promoter towards Kimbo?
James Thompson: You know what, obviously Kimbo is the main guy that they’ve heavily invested money in. He’s got a great story and he sells tickets. Now, I knew all of this going into it. I didn’t pay it much attention basically just because I’ve got a job to do. You know, you always have favorites in fights and all that. It didn’t really bother me. I didn’t pay it much attention. But to be honest, I was upset I suppose when his son, Jared, was screaming for the referee to stand it up. And then to be the first one to jump through in the ring… you don’t know what to think, to be fair. I just look at that and I see that and it leaves me in a situation of saying, well what? I mean, neither of the Shaws have said anything about it or come on record to say what — I don’t know, Jared’s son manages Kimbo, someone said? He helps manage him? [editor's note: "Icey" Mike Ember is Kimbo Slice's manager of record] I don’t know, it just seems like a bit of a conflict of interest to me. Again, it makes me feel not just not happy about it, but slightly uneasy. But yeah, it just leaves me with a big question mark basically and just kind of raises a few questions that I feel need to be cleared up.
Sam Caplan: That’s all I had as far as questions, but I wanted to do this interview so you could get your side out. Is there anything else you’d like to express?
James Thompson: I just wanted to say it was a honor to be on the CBS card in the main event. I feel like, and not just for me, but there was a lot of bad decisions in very good fights which shouldn’t have happened. I’m just really glad the ratings were so good for Elite and CBS. But I do feel it’s a shame for MMA to have such controversy on its biggest night. I mean, that’s a part of sports. You’re always going to get things people don’t agree with and things don’t always quite run right. That’s a part of sport and I understand that but there were so many bad decisions and there were so many things that just weren’t right. It kind of makes me sad that this had to happen on the biggest MMA card to date.