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Tag: and now he’s fired

Chopped: Seven of the Most Surprising UFC Cuts in Recent Memory


(Photo via Getty. Depression via reality.)

The news that Jake Shields had been axed by the UFC on Tuesday was not taken lightly by MMA fans who had referred to the former Strikeforce champion as “Jake Shieldzzzz” for years prior. Days later, we are still trying to make sense of the decision to cut Shields following his first loss in two and a half years, but it was an easy one to make in the eyes of Dana White, who basically told reporters that Shields was released because he didn’t “WAR!!” enough.

As several publications have noted, the firing of Shields has once again highlighted the UFC’s ever-burgeoning “entertainment over sport” mindset when it comes to the legitimacy of their product. It’s the reason guys like Leonard Garcia and Dan Hardy remained with the promotion after two, three, four losses in a row and why Ben Askren was never even given a shot in the first place despite being a top 10 welterweight on damn near everybody’s list. Where just a few years ago, the Tank Abbotts of the world were ridiculed for their one-dimensional, bar brawler-esque approach to MMA, they are now being praised for their ability to entertain and absorb punishment over actually win a fight.

MMA is a sport. The UFC is a spectacle. White’s belief that Gina Carano would deserve an immediate title shot should she sign with the promotion is proof of this. The signing of Brock Lesnar after one fight is proof of this. James Toney is proof of this. We are living in an era of the UFC where the “Just Bleed” guy has risen from psychotic fanboy to upper management, and unfortunately, the firing of Jake Shields was not the first of its kind…

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And Now He’s Fired: Jake Shields Cut by UFC Following Loss to Hector Lombard


(Jake’s drowsy-teenager defense was no match for the hard-hitting Cuban. / Photo via Getty)

Jake Shields’s decision loss to Hector Lombard last month at UFC 171 was his first defeat in two-and-a-half-years — and yet, it was enough of a justification for the UFC to cut him from the promotion. Shields’s manager Lex McMahon confirmed the firing with MMAFighting.com this morning, putting out the following statement:

Jake Shields has been released by the UFC. Jake appreciates the opportunities provided by the UFC and thanks Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita. Jake is an elite athlete who is one of the best welterweight fighters in the world with a long history of winning at a championship level. Jake and our team are already exploring options. I’m confident that Jake will have a new promotion to call home very soon. Jake thanks his fans for their support and looks forward to competing for them again soon.

Not since Jon Fitch have we been this shocked and outraged over the firing of a fighter who we didn’t really care for in the first place. Shields was coming into the Lombard match on a two-fight win streak, with split-decision victories over Demian Maia and Tyron Woodley. And he would have been riding a four-fight win streak if not for the mysterious no-contest he caught after winning a decision against Ed Herman in a middleweight bout at UFC 150, then failing his drug test.

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And Now He’s Fired: Cody McKenzie Sent Packing After Bizarre UFC on FOX 9 Performance Against Sam Stout


(Stout, seen here fighting off a beach bum who snuck his way past securi-what’s that? The man in basketball shorts *is* Cody McKenzie? My sincerest apologies. Photo via Getty.)

Aside from being one of the most unique people to ever pass through the TUF house, Cody McKenzie might be the least intimidating-looking guy to *ever* fight in the UFC, Fred Ettish excluded (all due respect to both men). With his mangy appearance and general “No fucks to give” attitude, McKenzie was a fighter who made his name as one of the most prolific one-trick ponies in the game, scoring 11 out of his 14 career wins by way of his patented McKenzietine choke.

Unfortunately, McKenzie was on borrowed time from the very moment he made the transition to the big leagues, and today brings word that he has been released by the UFC following his disastrous performance against Sam Stout at UFC on FOX 9. The announcement was made by none other than McKenzie himself via Twitter, and immediately followed up by a request to fight Shinya Aoki. Additionally, McKenzie informed us that he already has two fights lined up — one at 180 lbs and one at 170 — and would like to fight for the WSOF in the near future. Personally, I’m all for the idea of seeing McKenzie vs. Palhares with the stipulation that both men can attempt their signature submissions and nothing else for the entirety of the contest. Any takers?

Despite being shut down in the TUF 12 quarterfinals by Nam Phan, there’s no denying the resounding impact McKenzie had on the show, mainly thanks to his pair of McKenzietine wins over Amir Khillah and Marc Stevens and constant needling of Josh Koscheck. That’s what won him over in my eyes, at least.

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And Now He’s Fired: Will Chope Fired from UFC After Shady Past Surfaces


(Photo via Getty)

UFC Fight Night 38 is only hours away but it’s already causing quite a stir in the headlines. The reason? Will Chope was fired from the UFC this morning after an article from Bleacher Report exposed the fighter’s sordid past.

Chope was discharged from the Air Force in 2009 due to repeated instances of domestic abuse. The final straw was assaulting his wife in that same year, and threatening her with a knife. Here are some of the details from the official Air Force Court of Appeals documents:

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And Now He’s Fired: Melvin Guillard’s Nine-Year UFC Run Comes to an End Following ‘Fight Night 37′ Loss to Michael Johnson


(Nearly a decade later, Guillard’s shit-talking abilities and penchant for poor hairstyle choices remain among the best in all of MMA. Never change, Melvin. Never change.)

I remember the first time I saw a Melvin Guillard fight. I was watching one of those Ultimate Knockouts compilations — you know, the ones hosted by Kerri Kasem (mmm) that aired on Spike every now and again — and one of the featured fights was Guillard vs. Rick Davis at UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie. It was Guillard’s third fight in the UFC following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter 2 in 2005, although at just 21 years of age, Guillard had already built up a wealth of fight experience unmatched by some of the most tested veterans of the game, his older opponent included. It was also the most violent knockout I had ever witnessed at the time, a Laprise vs. Johnson-esque, “Did he died?” moment if there ever was one, made all the more horrifying by my misunderstanding that the “Thong Song” dude was responsible for it.

Some eight years, ten wins, and a UFC record eight TKO’s later, Guillard remains a terror for any poor soul unfortunate enough to draw him for their promotional debut. The problem is, as Guillard’s level of competition gradually rose, his win percentage began to steadily decline. After stringing together a five fight winning streak between 2010-11 (the longest of his UFC career), Guillard would be quickly submitted by Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller, knocked out by Donald Cerrone, and upended by Jamie Varner and Michael Johnson in a pair of lackluster decisions, only scoring wins over Fabricio Camoes and the now-retired Mac Danzig in between.

Dana White was especially critical of Guillard’s most recent performance against Johnson, telling reporters, “There’s no doubt Melvin ran the entire fight and was incredibly passive, the complete opposite of how he used to fight.” And today, MMAFighting passed along word that after nine years with the promotion, Guillard has been released by the UFC. His official octagon record stands at 12-9.

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And Now He’s Fired (Again): Matt Riddle Released By Bellator After Pulling Out of Second Straight Event

 
(Funny how this moment more or less serves as a metaphor for the past two years of Riddle’s life.) 

Ever since being ousted from the UFC following his second positive test for marijuana in his past three fights, Matt Riddle‘s MMA career has suffered more setbacks than the Obamacare website (#nailedit). First, he signed with Legacy Fighting Championships, only to have his contract bought out by Bellator before ever stepping foot in the LFC cage. He was then entered in the Bellator season 9 welterweight tournament, except that shortly thereafter, he injured his rib and decided to retire from the sport to find a “real job.” Except that less than a month later, Riddle announced his unretirement and accepted a fight at Bellator 109.

Unfortunately for Riddle, it looks like he will have to start looking for a “real job” once again (I hear Josh Rosenthal is seeking an understudy/mule), as he has now been released from his Bellator contract after pulling out of his second straight fight. Said Bellator Director of Communications Anthony Mazzuca in a prepared statement (via MMAFighting):

Matt was a guy we had high hopes for coming into Bellator. After Matt suffered his rib injury and withdrew from our tournament, we went back to the drawing board and got Matt another fight on November 22nd.

Unfortunately, Matt very recently informed us he would not be fighting on November 22nd from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and at that point we decided to release Matt from Bellator. We wish him the best in his future endeavors. 

Further muddying the “Deep Waters” (I’m so sorry, you guys) is the fact that no solid reasoning has been given for Riddle’s withdrawal from the card. As you might expect, Riddle’s scheduled opponent, Nathan Coy, is understandably pissed…

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On Matt Hamill’s Unretirement and Firing: A Lament


(Who saw this coming? We did, that’s who. Photo via Getty.)

Until his initial retirement back in August of 2011, Matt Hamill was considered by most to be a perennial contender at 205 lbs., a fierce grappler with ever-improving striking and a positively inspirational member of the deaf community. While the latter accolade still remains true two years and one unretirement later, the former have seemingly (and sadly) all but vanished in Hamill’s recent octagon appearances.

Following his lackluster decision loss to Quinton Jackson at UFC 130 and a second round drubbing at the hands of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 133, Hamill quietly stepped away from the sport, stating:

I was ready to make this decision after UFC 130 but my friends, family coaches and most importantly my daughter encouraged me to give it one last chance. My career has been plagued by injuries starting with The Ultimate Fighter and disrupted my training ever since.

There hasn’t been even one training camp where I’ve been able to train without training around an injury. I have not been kind to my body and it has nothing left after 28 years of non stop competition. It’s time to finally give it a rest.

I have fallen in love with the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and I will continue to coach at our gym Mohawk Valley MMA along side my teammates and help the next generation of fighters make it to the UFC. 

You see, that’s the thing that has irked us most about Hamill’s decision to unretire (and we’ve mentioned this before) — his retirement, this statement, was just so, appropriate. Hamill seemed self-aware, he seemed content, and most of all, he seemed comfortable with the legacy he had left behind while understanding that his time — as a fighter, at least — had come and gone. It was a mature, thoughtful decision not often reached by most combat sports athletes, let alone MMA fighters. It was closure.

Less than a year after making said decision, Hamill recanted on it. And now, rather than retire with the aforementioned sense of closure, it appears that Hamill has been released by the UFC following his disheartening loss to Thiago Silva at Fight Night 29. God only knows what lies in store for “The Hammer” now.

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And Now He’s Fired, Again: Joey Beltran Released by UFC After Failed Stint at Light-Heavyweight


(We’ll say one thing for Joey: He kept it gangster. / Photo via Getty)

There are some UFC firings that are shocking or at least sort of controversial. Then there are others you can see coming a mile away. Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran‘s latest dismissal by the UFC certainly falls into that second category. Beltran confirmed his latest release yesterday via twitter.

Already fired once in early 2012 following a 3-4 stint at heavyweight — which ended in back-to-back losses against Stipe Miocic and Lavar Johnson — Beltran immediately shed some pounds and tried to reinvent himself as a light-heavyweight. After beating a dude named Anton Talamantes by decision last April, the UFC called Beltran back up to the big leagues two months later for an injury-replacement fight against James Te Huna. Beltran lost the fight by decision — but the match won a Fight of the Night award, and secured Beltran another shot in the Octagon. Everybody loves a gritty Mexican brawler, right?

Beltran followed up his return fight by testing positive for steroids after a unanimous decision win against Igor Pokrajac — the fight was overturned to a no-contest — and losing a split-decision to Fabio Maldonado earlier this month in an match that impressed nobody. All in all, Beltran’s run at 205 pounds resulted in a UFC record of 0-2 with one no-contest/steroid bust; he was winless in his last five Octagon appearances.

The only question that remains is this: Bellator or WSOF?

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And Now He’s Fired: Rousimar Palhares Sent Packing After Holding Heel Hook Too Long


(Props: Keith Olbermann YouTube Channel)

Less than twenty-four hours after Rousimar Palhares scored a controversial victory over Mike Pierce – where he locked in his signature heel hook and refused to let go – Palhares is now out of a job with the UFC. Dana White – who already withheld the Submission of the Night bonus that Palhares would have won as punishment – confirmed the firing on tonight’s edition of Olbermann.

Last night’s instance of poor sportsmanship and judgment from Palhares wasn’t his first. As we’ve mentioned earlier today, Palhares was previously suspended by the UFC for doing the exact same thing to Tomasz Drwal back in 2010.

Despite initial reports that Palhares has received a lifetime ban from the organization, MMAFighting.com is reporting that Palhares has simply been “released.”

We’ll keep you up to date as this story continues to develop.

@SethFalvo

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And Now He’s Fired: Yushin Okami Released by UFC After Seven Years of ‘Perennial Contender’ Status


(“Look, Andy, you’re clearly still upset about the pool party thing, but I swear, the Evite must have gone to your junk mail folder or something, because we totally included you on the-oh God noooooo NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

“Perennial contender” is a back-handed compliment — it means you were always good enough to hang in the top ten, but never good enough to hold the belt. It suggests a kind of career limbo, in which you’re forever in the mix, highly regarded, but ultimately unsuccessful. Jon Fitch was a perennial contender, and when he was fired by the UFC in February, fans who never liked him in the first place criticized the UFC for getting rid of their #9-ranked contender — as if rankings held any sort of accurate measure of a fighter’s value. Fitch may have been more talented than most welterweights in the world, but he had outlived his usefulness, from both a competitive and promotional standpoint.

And so it goes with Yushin Okami, the latest medium-to-high-profile UFC fighter to be axed by the promotion, who is still listed as the #6 middleweight contender on UFC.com. UFC president Dana White confirmed Okami’s release today, telling Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole:

He’s been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Okami was already a 16-3 veteran when he joined the UFC, with appearances in Pancrase, Pride, Hero’s, and Rumble on the Rock, where he scored a bizarre DQ victory over Anderson Silva in January 2006. “Thunder” made his Octagon debut later that year at UFC 62, and began to steadily rise up the middleweight ranks, winning his first four fights — including decision victories against Alan Belcher and Mike Swick — before losing a #1 contender fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 72.

The rest of Okami’s UFC career would play out the exact same way.

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