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Sokoudjou and Gurgel Get Laid Off + More UFC News

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Well, it looks like the Octagon will be short one dreadlocked Camaroonian. Multiple sources have confirmed that charismatic Team Quest fighter Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou has been released from his fight contract following his TKO loss to light-heavyweight up-and-comer Luis Cane at UFC 89 last month; the defeat dropped Soko’s UFC record down to 1-2, and his overall record to 5-3. Though he entered the UFC on a wave of hype last year with quick knockout victories over PRIDE stars Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona under his belt, Sokodjou’s relative inexperience was exposed in his unsuccessful debut against Lyoto Machida, and now he’s been pink-slipped to sharpen up his game elsewhere.

Speaking of fighters who never lived up to the promise of their pre-UFC performances, Rich Franklin‘s BFF Jorge Gurgel has been cut — despite winning a $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus at UFC 91 — and picked up by Strikeforce. Gurgel’s decision loss to Aaron Riley earlier this month was just another frustrating example of Gurgel brawling his way to defeat rather than use the fearsome jiu-jitsu that earned him a 9-1 record (with all wins by submission) before being signed by the UFC. Within the Octagon, Gurgel went 3-4, with all but one fight going to a decision.

Though he told MMA Junkie that the cut was "very humiliating" and "a crushing of my childhood dream," he also sounded hopeful in a press release distributed by Strikeforce, saying "To me, this is like a new start. I’m coming in fresh…I make some bad decisions because I have too much fun. I have never used my Jiu Jitsu in the UFC…[people] ask me why I don’t use my Jiu-Jitsu. I have so much fun standing up and I completely think I’m winning all the time…I will always bring the same intensity and I’m always going to fight 110 percent. I just want to be able to use everything that I know."

UFC 91 PPV numbers and more after the jump…

Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer is reporting that UFC 91 pulled in about 800,000 pay-per-view buys, which would put it between UFC 66 (1,050,000 buys) and UFC 61 (775,000 buys) as the second-most-popular UFC PPV card ever. Not quite the 1.2 million that Dana White was predicting, but still an encouraging sign for Brock Lesnar‘s drawing ability as a UFC star. As Bloody Elbow points out, Randy Couture‘s highest buyrate before UFC 91 was 540,000 buys for UFC 68, where he defeated Tim Sylvia after a year-long hiatus.

– Popular lightweight Joe Lauzon will reportedly return at UFC Fight Night 17 (February 7th, Las Vegas) against Hermes Franca. Lauzon is coming off a second-round TKO victory over Kyle Bradley at UFC Fight Night 15, while Franca — a former WEC lightweight champion and UFC #1 contender – is coming off a decision win against Jeremy Horn and Rousimar Palhares has been added to UFC 93 (January 17th; Dublin, Ireland). Horn is coming off back-to-back submission losses to Nate Marquardt and Dean Lister, while Palhares had a five-fight win streak snapped at UFC 88 with a decision loss to Dan Henderson. With the UFC’s layoff trigger-finger as itchy as it is these days, the loser of this one may have to go bye-bye.

Cagepotato Comments

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JIMMA- November 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm
WAR Joe Lauzon!

This kid has some serious talent, he trains at a gym by where I live. I hope he goes out there and [Finally!] further stamps his name into the UFC.
UFC fan- November 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm
Hate to see soko get the boot....glad to see gurgel get the pink slip.
"it was the best of times, it was the worst of times!"

PS. I hate the new shit of this board, to much effort to find the newest thing....go back to the "NEXT" button.
Steve-O- November 29, 2008 at 8:07 pm
i think rather than investing in the very inexperienced guy with ko power in sokoudjou, the ufc should've put some money into either of the two guys they passed up on that were ko'd by the guy....rogerio or arona, even both would've turned out better than thierry in my book.

and for gurgel, fuck him....he knew what he was doing all along, everyone around him told him what he needed to do to win fights but he didn't listen. his fights could have been just as exciting to watch and much more technically sound on his part if he had used his jits at all, if only he had tried to balance the two he could be awesome to watch but his sloppy striking style and lack of willingness to use his world class bjj ends him up right where he belongs....facing lesser competition
Anonymous- November 29, 2008 at 7:01 am
There are worse fighter than Sokoudjou at 205..a lot worse Machida is quality and anyone will find it hard to beat him..and Cane hits hard..tough break for Sokoudjou but the talent pool at 205 is pretty deep and I couldn't ever see him getting even close to a belt so he's best of heading back to japland
Crocop's Testicle Juice- November 28, 2008 at 11:09 pm
Doesn't look like Gurgel will ever learn from his mistakes. He want to be a remembered an exciting superstar, it won't happen you're losing fight... Jorge.
Devil Beest- November 28, 2008 at 10:37 pm
I'll miss Gurgel, I need to make sure I'm aware of who the prettiest boy in BJJ is. Gurgel and Bravo, let the games begin.
Saul Goode- November 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Franca/Lauzon is gonna be a great fight. Two heavy handed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players...gonna be SICK!

Rousimar "Toquinho" is gonna tear "Gumby's" ACL with a Reverse Heel Hook imo.

Sucks for Soko & Gurgel...especially Gurgel. The guy gambles his win-loss record away every fight for the fan's enjoyment and this is how he is repaid? Sad. Glad to see Strikeforce has picked him up and I look forward to seeing him fight in San Jose.

Saul Goode

The Interbox!- November 28, 2008 at 3:39 pm
When will the smaller promotions learn the value of keeping their websites up to date?

Anonymous- November 28, 2008 at 2:20 pm
too bad, Sokoudjou is a really exciting fighter. at least for the first round. dana could make him fight some shitty opponents which would make him really fun to watch.
emo sux- November 28, 2008 at 1:28 pm
my bad... I thought it was a donkey show...
Hows Taste My PPP- November 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm
UFC 93 is shaping up to be kinda brutal.
Hope its free.
Meow- November 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm
i think its kinda funny you know that ;)
Richard Wad- November 28, 2008 at 11:45 am
I'll be tuning into Strikeforce events to see Gurgel putting on some more exciting fights.
Richard Wad- November 28, 2008 at 11:38 am
I'll be tuning into Strikeforce events to see Gurgel putting on some more exciting fights.
K.E.G.- November 28, 2008 at 10:41 am
Thank got Gurgel is gone now we finaly have a chance to some other mediocre fighters in the undercards. I'm sure Rich knows some other guys to take his place, lets bring back Josh Rafferty, and any other one of Franklins punching bags.
emo sux- November 28, 2008 at 9:39 am
its kinda funny how on the night of UFC 91, the ppv porn channels were down 800,000 buys... weird
Curtis" fity" Jackson- November 28, 2008 at 9:30 am
Dee Dub is gangsta, No bitch made in da UFC
Shawn- November 28, 2008 at 9:14 am
Let's see, Horn gets submitted in his last two fights and then matched up against a guy being touted as one of the best pure grapplers in the organization today. What might happen in this one?
B- November 28, 2008 at 9:09 am
I wonder if Horn is going to get submitted in the first round...