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.
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.