Longtime MMA fans will already know that Stephen Thompson has a regular presence in his corner for each and every one of his fights – his father.
Ray Thompson was a professional kickboxer in his younger days and runs the Upstate Karate gym in South Carolina, where Stephen (14-4-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) also works and trains.
Ray was a driving force in Stephen’s martial arts training and subsequent MMA career, and, speaking to reporters backstage at UFC 238, ‘Wonderboy’ paid tribute to his father as he looked forward to Father’s Day.
“Man, my dad is everything to me. I don’t know what I’m gonna do when that time comes,” he said. “I know a lot of people who don’t spend their time with their dad – my dad was one of them.
“With (my) grandfather – he died when I was very young – I remember my dad telling me at a young age that his dad would always say, ‘Hey, you need to hang out with your dad – I’m not going be around long enough.’
“Pops didn’t take him seriously and the next thing you know, he ended up dying in a car accident and that’s something he regrets.”
“Wonderboy” said he doesn’t want to live with similar regrets, which is one of the reasons why he and his father seem so inseparable.
“I like to consider myself a very observant person and try to learn from that and try to spend as much time with my dad as possible,” he said. “He’s a very wise dude, and I wouldn’t be the man I am if it wasn’t for him.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson opens up on his close bond with father and coach