Even as someone who follows the sports as closely as I do, I would be remiss to say that I could regularly identify more fighters on the average UFC card than I could not these days. With over 550 fighters on their roster, the UFC is becoming an increasingly sink-or-swim promotion with little room for error, which doesn’t exactly help fighters still in need of development upon being signed by the world’s premiere organization (ie. TUF stars, unheralded prospects, late replacement opponents, etc.). Nor does it help mid-level MMA bloggers keep track of who’s coming and going.
Earlier this month, the UFC released TUF 13 finalist Ramsey Nijem along with Elias Silverio, Jorge Oliveira, and Nazareno Malegarie, which more or less proves my point (of those four, I only recognize the first two). Late last week, TUF 19 middleweight winner Eddie Gordon was cut following 3 straight losses, as was Christos Giagos (1-2), Matt Van Buren (0-2), and Roger Narvaez (1-2). The most interesting thing to come out of that bit of news was Giagos’ claim that he was released as a result of the UFC “over-booking” their roster and needing to make some cuts as a result, which coincided with an unconfirmed Swedish report that the UFC would be cutting a total of 50 fighters.
Marcus Brimage and Chris Clements announced their releases shortly thereafter, and today, UFCFIGHTERSINFO announced the deletion of some 17 more profiles from the UFC’s fighter database, meaning almost surely that said fighters are no longer under UFC contract. Those fighters are…
Ivan Jorge: 2-2 UFC record, most recently submitted by Joseph Duffy at Fight Night 72
Francisco Trevino: aka the guy who showed up heavy to his fight with Sage Northcutt, got KO’d inside a minute, pushed Herb Dean, then tested positive for marijuana. Literally no one could have seen this coming.
Pawel Pawlak: 1-2, last dropped a unanimous decision to Leon Edwards at Fight Night 72
Hernani Perpetuo: 0-2, last dropped a UD to Tim Means at UFC on FOX 12
Vagner Rocha: 0-1 in his second UFC stint, 1-4 overall, choked out by Jake Matthews at Fight Night 55
David Michaud: 1-2, last suffered a third round submission loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier at UFC 186
Naoyuki Kotani: 0-3, with losses to Norman Parke, Yan Cabral, and Kajan Johnson
Amir Sadollah: The charismatic TUF 7 has been sadly plagued by injuries for the majority of his career, which he has fought exclusively in the UFC. After returning from a two-year layoff in 2014, Sadollah dropped a unanimous decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama and has not competed since.
Luke Zachrich: 1-2, was last submitted by Daniel Kelly at Fight Night 55
TJ Waldburger: 1-3 in his last 4 (4-4 overall), has not competed since a TKO loss to Mike Pyle in February of last year
William Macario: 1-3, was infamously KO’d by a Matt Dwyer superman punch at Fight Night 61
Leonardo Mafra: 1-2, was last TKO’d by Steven Ray at Fight Night 72
Ron Stallings: 1-3, disqualified in his last bout after illegally up-kicking Joe Riggs
Roger Zapata: 0-1, suffered a hand injury Shinsho Anzai at Fight Night 75 in September.
Joe Merritt: 0-1, having dropped a decision to Alex Oliveira and posed for this hilariously shameful photo.
Lewis Gonzalez: 0-1, dropped a unanimous decision to Leandro Silva at Fight Night 70.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Soa Palelei also announced his retirement from the sport amidst the rash of firings. While I wouldn’t imagine that he was on the chopping block, having gone 4-2 in his second UFC stint with 4 finishes, he was on the heels of a tough loss to Bigfoot Silva, so who knows. Regardless, “The Hulk” took to Twitter to thank the UFC for the opportunities they gave him.
I want to take an opportunity to officially announce my retirement from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Thank you to the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Joe Silva for giving me a second chance to fight for the organization. I’ve had a great time, but feel it’s time to focus on my family and other career interests. After several months of thought and discussion with my family and my team, we realize our future includes many things in MMA, but active competition in the sport is no longer one of them. This isn’t goodbye, as I will still be very much involved in the sport but just not as a fighter. I want to help further MMA around the world and give my contribution to the sport. I know that I have, and will continue to contribute much to the growth of our sport outside of the Octagon. Stay tuned guys as there is still so much more to come from “The Hulk” ?#?WatchThisSpace? ?#?MuchLove
Let’s hope that Palelei’s retirement will lift the inexplicable ban on visiting sick kids that had been placed on him by his home country. Seriously, WTF Australia?