UFC trims fighter roster by 16

February 21, 2013

MMA Fighting reports that the UFC has let go of 16 fighters including welterweight Jon Fitch.  Each fighter released were coming off of a loss.

Fitch is the most notable fighter released as he was once thought of as a welterweight contender until he was KO’d by Johny Hendricks and most recently lost to Demian Maia. In between that he had a dominating win over up and comer Erick Silva.

The other fighters released include Wagner Prado, Mike Russow, Jacob Volkmann, Vladimir Matyushenko, Che Mills, Jay Hieron, Terry Etim, Paul Sass, Jorge Santiago, Mike Stumpf, Simeon Thoresen, C.J. Keith, Motonobu Tezuka, Josh Grispi and Ulysses Gomez.

At Thursday’s press conference, White stated that Fitch would be welcome back in the UFC after a few wins outside of the UFC.

Payout Perspective:

One of the aspects that did not sit well with some of the cut fighters was that they had to find out via twitter or others.  A bad move by the UFC as they should have at least been able to contact the fighters (or their reps) before announcing their release.  Its the professional thing to do.

Fitch’s release is the most surprising out of the group.  After an impressive showing against Erick Silva, he was dominated by Demian Maia.  He had been making $60K show/$60K win.  He actually made $66K at UFC 156 and would have likele made $66K for a win.   In relative terms, this is not an expensive price tag especially for a fighter that rose through the ranks.  In his second UFC fight (Ultimate Fight Night 4, April 2006), Fitch made only $8,000.  It could have been Fitch’s comments before his fight with Erick Silva that might have irked UFC officials.  Perhaps the UFC recalls his past problems with the UFC related to his initial refusal to sign over his name and likeness rights to the UFC’s video game franchise.  It does seem Fitch will be welcomed back at some point although he is a likely candidate to jump to Bellator.  As for the other fighters, Bellator or other regional promotions will likely scoop up these fighters.

The cuts show that despite the amount of events the UFC will put on, there is still not enough fights for each fighter retained by the UFC.  In fact, the UFC indicated it may cut more fighters.

10 Responses to “UFC trims fighter roster by 16”

  1. Jose on February 21st, 2013 9:13 PM

    Seems a clear sign that UFC’s finances are not as flush as Dana wants everyone to believe. For the last several years Dana has constantly said they need more and more fighters cause they were adding more and more fights. More dates, more countries, more fights, more fighters.

    Something happened. My guess is some of UFC’s overseas expansion plans have hit a roadblock.

    UFC is like any other business with too much inventory. They bought too much, were over optimistic. Now they have to scale back.

  2. Brain Smasher on February 22nd, 2013 1:02 AM

    I think you are wrong in that he isnt an expensive price tag. You have to look at who he would be fighting going forward in the UFC. He is basically not top 10 right now and after 3 bad fights would be fighting low level fighters for the next few fights. You cant pay Fitch 6 figures to beat up cans outside the top 15 or 20. Lets look at the top guys in the division. Ellenberger makes 42/42, Pierce(about the level of Fitch now) makes 22/22, Kampman 42/42, Condit 55/55, Koscheck 73/73. He is making more or as much as all the top guys in the division. What kind of message does that send if he loses to a low tier fighter? Then they will want Fitch money since they beat Fitch. They always do. Fitch right now should be making about 20-30k to show and to win. I wont even mention the number of champs in lighter divisions he is making more than.

    It sucks for Fitch but is a good business decision by the UFC. Like Dana said. He has never asked for a fighter to take less money. He said he will not go up to a fighter and say “you’re not worth that anymore”. I understand why he wouldnt want to do that. But that is why Fitch wasnt resigned to a smaller contract. He might be better off playing the FA market anyway. I was more disappointed in Volkman. I liked him but he was very inconsistant and lost to guys he shouldnt have lost to in bad fashion.

  3. jeff on February 22nd, 2013 1:07 AM

    jesus…..brain smasher is the ultimate UFC apologist with a TON of time on his hands

  4. BrainSmasher on February 22nd, 2013 4:56 AM

    I could have just said “stop being a boring fighter who has nothing to offer” but that is t good enough for the fake fight fans out there who wantto play arm chair quarterbacks like they are wallstreet tycoons. Anyone in the UFCs position who is a responsible and successful business person would have done the same thing. Fit h was lucky he got a rookie and easy payday when he got Erick Silva. If not for that, a top 5 guy fighting a sub 25 ranked guy, he would have been released months ago.

  5. Weezy02 on February 22nd, 2013 5:19 AM

    The old saying applies here: “You are worth what someone will pay you.” If Jon is worth $120,000 per fight on the open market, then this is no real setback for him. He’ll simply get it elsewhere. If he’s not worth nearly that to other promotional entities, then Zuffa will likely re-sign him at a lower rate.

  6. Random Dude on February 23rd, 2013 2:34 AM

    If the UFC can’t afford to keep a top 10 fighter for 66k/66k and they are looking to cut a lot more people, it tells me their PPV business is not doing so well. Combine decreased PPV buys with all of the debt the UFC carries and maybe everything isn’t so bright anymore…

  7. BrainSmasher on February 23rd, 2013 5:18 AM

    He isnt top 10. He hasnt beat a ranked fighter in 3 years while losing and looking bad doing it. Also them releasing fighters doesn’t mean anything. They have done this atleast 2 times in the past after they bought out promotions and had to many fighters and couldn’t keep them active. funny seeing people act like this hasnt been done before. And yes people bitch about it then too. So if the UFC has to cut 100 fighters isnt a 34 year old struggling over paid Fitch a good place to start? I think so!

    Also the last two times the UFC claims it needed to cut about 100 fighters also. They never do. They usually cut about 30 or so. So expect another 15-20 in a few weeks.

  8. Weezy02 on February 23rd, 2013 6:56 AM

    “If the UFC can’t afford to keep a top 10 fighter for 66k/66k and they are looking to cut a lot more people, it tells me their PPV business is not doing so well. Combine decreased PPV buys with all of the debt the UFC carries and maybe everything isn’t so bright anymore…”

    If that’s true then it’s even more of a great thing for Jon. Wouldn’t want to be trapped on a sinking ship, now would he? Now he’s free to go sign huge money deals elsewhere.

  9. Random Dude on February 23rd, 2013 11:57 AM

    “He isnt top 10.”

    On Monday of this week, he was # 9 on their own rankings page.

  10. Random Dude on February 23rd, 2013 12:05 PM

    “If that’s true then it’s even more of a great thing for Jon. Wouldn’t want to be trapped on a sinking ship, now would he? Now he’s free to go sign huge money deals elsewhere.”

    Has nothing to do with any point I was making. My point is that rumors of UFC/MMA’s decline in popularity appear to be true if they can’t afford 66k/66k for a top 10 fighter and they have the best in the world when it comes to fighters.

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