With the some-what recent announcement of the termination of 16 fighters’ contracts with the UFC, there has been constant banter about the longevity of some athletes under the promotion. Dana White has been quoted saying that the UFC is “100 fighters heavy”, and will be having to make room for the heavy barrage of incoming fighters that should be being employed over the next year; this primarily includes women fighters, Strikeforce fighters, and straw-weight fighters (which has been rumored to begin later this year).
Jon Fitch, the biggest name of that list, was released following just a single loss to top-ranked Demian Maia. Fitch held a 14-3-1 record under the promotion; while he was a veteran, he did have many fans. There is reason to believe that only the most exciting fighters will be able to savor their contract, and those three-round grinders will be on thin-ice.
So let’s look at just one division; lightweights. Marked as being one of the most cut-throat and exciting divisions in the game, but even this highly competitive weight class has fighters that seem to stink up the card in terms of low interest and talent.
Expect the following fighters to either be cut when the next batch of contracts hits the paper shredder, or if they lose their next bout:
The TUF Finalist has now gone 0-2 in the promotion; not a good way to start off the spotlight of your career. “The Psycho” has made more banter about his flamboyant costumes and overall appearance rather than the skills in the cage. It doesn’t matter if you have “TUF Finalist” in your resume or not, as that achievement really does not mean much in modern day MMA.
Another TUF competitor. The highly touted prospect out of the Serra-Longo Fight Team dropped his UFC debut by first round submission. Because Al Iaquinta showed so much promise on the show, being a semi-finalist, Al Iaquinta will look to gain himself a second chance when he faces TUF quarter-finalist Joe Proctor who is 1-1 in the UFC.
Gleison should be a fairly common name that you’d be surprised would be on this list; but make no mistake about it, Tibau is in danger. With the UFC being 100 fighters over, they need to start weeding out some of their veterans that have had a long enough chance to make their impact. Tibau has been fighting in the UFC since 2006 and has never managed a longer win-streak inside the promotion than 3 fights. Tibau was last seen losing a very close decision to Evan Dunham, and will be fighting John Cholish in May.
Another fairly big name. Bocek, known for being a superior wrestler, has not fought this year nor is rumored to be fighting this year. His last fight was November of 2012, where he lost a decision to Rafael dos Anjos. Expect Bocek to be cut should he lose his next fight.
Anytime you are a fairly new face in the UFC and go on a losing streak, you can expect to be on thin-ice. John Maguire started out as a promising fighter, beating Justin Edwards and submitting DaMarques Johnson in a Submission of the Night Award performance. However, since then, he lost two fights in a row and will be facing Mitch Clarke in June in his lightweight debut. Should he lose, expect Maguire to face the axe.
A highly recognized BJJ competitor and practitioner, Cristiano Marcello made his first UFC appearance via The Ultimate Fighter. He was defeated in just the first round inside of the house, by knockout, and then was defeated again at the TUF Finale by knockout. Since then, Marcello edged Reza Madadi by split decision, and was recently defeated by Kazuki Tokedome by decision. Expect Marcello to be cut soon, or if he loses his next bout.
Cutting fighters is never a very pleasant thing to see, but in a competitive organization such as the UFC, it’s inevitable. Eventually you’re going to see your favorite prospects go on a short skid and lose their chance at getting into the big spotlight. But know that as one door closes, another opens.
Personally, I’m excited to see more Strikeforce fighters come over and show how hungry they are. You could say that they have been “starved” while under the Strikeforce banner, and treated poorly. Ontop of that, you have an exciting new division being rumored to establish, and an army of women fighters. Thanks for reading, please leave a comment!