Power MMA’s Tom Vaughn Says Aaron Simpson Is “One Of The Best In The World” When “He’s On”, WSOF Bout Between Simpson and Jon Fitch “An Exciting Possibility”
By Kelsey Mowatt
While the recent wave of UFC cuts captured headlines throughout the MMA world–particularly the release of Jon Fitch–before that, plenty of heads were turned when it was announced Aaron Simpson had signed with World Series of Fighting. Although the decorated wrestler was stopped by Mike Pierce in October, it wasn’t long ago of course that Simpson was making his presence felt in the UFC middleweight division.
According to Simpson’s head instructor at Power MMA, the renowned Tom Vaughn, however, the WSOF came calling as the 38 year-old-vet entered free agency.
“It was the last fight of Aaron’s contract,” Vaughn said recently while appearing on Full Contact Fighter Radio, while discussing what led to Simpson’s departure from the UFC. “We keep our eye on the landscape of MMA, and we knew that Strikeforce was folding and that they were going to be dumping a lot fighters…the UFC didn’t cut Aaron. We made the choice to keep him busy.”
The knockout loss to Pierce came shortly into the second round, after Simpson had outscored the highly regarded welterweight in the opening frame.
“It surprised me that we lost that last fight,” said Vaughn, who is also the head instructor of the FIT NHB Team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “We felt very comfortable with Aaron beating Mike Pierce and he was beating Mike Pierce. He got caught with a punch, and it’s a fight, it happens. I don’t want to say it was luck because people train and it’s not luck. It happened the way it happened.”
Simpson (12-4), who signed with the UFC in 2009, went 7-4 during his run with the promotion and scored wins over vets like Tom Lawlor, Ed Herman, Brad Tavares and most recently, welterweight Kenny Robertson.
“We had the option of waiting until we could get him filtered back in, and renegotiate a new deal, or go on with his fight career ,” Vaughn furthered. “The decision was made to keep fighting. Aaron’s a competitor, he’s a fierce competitor, and he doesn’t want to sit around.”
The WSOF has proceeded to get Simpson back in action, and in a notable bout, as the Arizona fighter will take on UFC vet Josh Burkman at the promotion’s upcoming March 23rd event in Atlantic City.
“I think Burkman’s a tough guy,” Vaughn noted about the 32 year-old-fighter. “We’re definitely not taking that cat lightly, but when Aaron’s is on, I think he’s one of the best guys in the world at welterweight.”
Of course, the WSOF has added several established vets to its roster over the last few months, so it’s no surprise that the upstart promotion was interested in acquiring the services of Simpson. More recently it’s been reported that Jon Fitch is also close to signing with the WSOF.
“We had him, at one point, you may recall, that he was supposed to fight Jon Fitch,” Vaughn said. “I could foresee that fight happening if the right things fall into place in the future. I understand from what I’ve been reading that Jon Fitch might be with World Series of Fighting so that could be an exciting possibility.”