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Tag: UFC firings

Let the Purge Begin: UFC Releases 17 Fighters From Its Roster, 33 More to Come

(via Getty)

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…


And Now He’s Fired: Paulo Thiago Cut by UFC Following Three Straight Losses

(Paulo Thiago gets cracked by Sean Spencer during their fight in September. / Photo via Getty)

After losing his last three fights — and seven out of his last nine — Brazilian welterweight veteran Paulo Thiago has been released by the UFC. Thiago most recently competed at last month’s UFC Fight Night 51: Bigfoot vs. Arlovski, where he lost a unanimous decision to Sean Spencer on the prelims.

Thiago made his UFC debut in February 2009 as a 10-0 prospect, carrying a rad backstory as a B.O.P.E. supercop. He was immediately thrown to the wolves, drawing Josh Koscheck as his debut opponent at UFC 95. Koscheck was a heavy favorite to beat the unheralded newcomer. Instead, this happened:

Thiago dropped a decision to Jon Fitch in his next outing, but then posted back to back wins against Jacob Volkmann and Mike Swick. Suddenly, Paulo Thiago seemed like a legitimate threat in the welterweight division. Unfortunately, that was essentially his career peak in the UFC. He would never win two consecutive fights again, and the opponents he lost to went from top-of-the-food-chain (Martin Kampmann, Diego Sanchez) to pretty dangerous (Siyar Bahadurzada, Dong Hyun Kim) to downright obscure (Brandon Thatch, Gasan Umalatov). The last time people were talking about Paulo Thiago, it was because of his gig working security at the World Cup.

Before his latest loss to Sean Spencer, Thiago signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, but of course, UFC contracts can be ended at any time by the promoter, because they’re not exactly “contracts” in the traditional sense; don’t get me started. Good luck with your next gig, Paulo.


Thiago Silva Released From UFC Contract (Again) After Disturbing Videos Surface

(Photo via

When it rains, it pours. The UFC has reconsidered its position on Thiago Silva, releasing the light-heavyweight from his contract following new videos released by his ex-wife Thaysa. Here’s the official statement from

Thiago Silva was released from his UFC contract on Feb. 7 due to his arrest by police in South Florida. The charges against Silva were dropped by the Broward County District Attorney’s office and Silva was re-signed to the UFC earlier this month. Based on new information received today in the form of video and audio evidence, Silva has been terminated from his UFC contract.

And yes, that’s the entire statement. So once again, we’ll fill in the blanks. Earlier today, published a video provided by Thiago Silva’s ex-wife, which shows an agitated Silva carrying a gun and making paranoid accusations about Thaysa “hiding a guy up there.” BloodyElbow has a translation of the exchange, as well as another video that allegedly shows Silva under the influence of cocaine.

In other words: Embarrassing video evidence needed to go public before the UFC decided to do the right thing. Huh. Why does that sound familiar?

Thaysa also explained to Globo why she moved to Brazil and stopped cooperating with the aggravated assault/battery case against her ex-husband:


And Now They’re Fired: Pat Healy, TUF 16 Winner Colton Smith, + More

(You just keep your surfer boy hand gestures away from my daughter, pothead! Photo via Getty.)

Ever since being screwed out of his UFC 159 win over Jim Miller (and the $130,000 in bonuses that came with it) due to a positive marijuana test (a.k.a some old bullshit), Pat Healy has seen some rough times. He’s dropped his past four contests to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Bobby Green, Jorge Masvidal, and Gleison Tibau, and while none of those were exactly gimme fights, Healy’s stock in the lightweight division has plummeted nonetheless. Unfortunately, today brings news that “Bam Bam” has been released from the UFC in light of his four-fight skid.

The losing streak seems all the more surprising given Healy’s previous run under the Strikeforce banner, which saw him score five straight wins and earn a title shot against Gil Melendez (that was eventually cancelled when the latter went down with an injury). Tough luck, kid. Here’s hoping Healy can rebound in a big way when the WSOF inevitably scoops him up.

In somewhat less surprising pink slip news, TUF 16 winner Colton Smith has been fired following his lightning quick submission loss to the Wikipedia-less Carlos Diego Ferreira at Fight Night 44 last month. Since defeating Mike Ricci to win the TUF 16 trophy back in December of 2012, Smith has dropped three straight to Robert Whittaker, Michael Chiesa, and Ferreira, all by stoppage. His most recent loss dropped his professional record to 3-4, or 6-4 if you’re the promotion attempting to make their reality show winners look like above-average fighters.

In other firing news…


And Now He’s Fired: Brandon Vera Axed by UFC (Again), Following 16-Fight Stint With Promotion

(A fan art tribute to a legendary broken nose, by FLYD.)

Though it’s not entirely clear when the axe came down, Fox Sports has confirmed that UFC heavyweight/light-heavyweight Brandon Vera was released from the promotion sometime after his TKO loss to Ben Rothwell last August. It was Vera’s second consecutive defeat, following a previous KO at the hands of Shogun Rua, and it dropped his overall UFC record to 8-7 with one no-contest.

Any post-mortem of Brandon Vera’s career has to focus on what a disappointment it turned out to be. (I’m not trying to be a dick, here; I bet Vera feels the same way.) This is a guy who went from hot-shot contender to hapless journeyman seemingly overnight. The Fox Sports article summarizes it well:

Vera burst upon the scene in Oct. 2005, defeating Fabiano Scherner via TKO in the first of four consecutive victories, a streak that emboldened him to infamously promise that he would hold two UFC title belts at the same time.

He never even fought for the title.

Vera was at one time slated to fight for the UFC heavyweight championship, but a contract dispute put his career on ice in the fall of 2006. By the time it was resolved, nearly a year had gone by, and Vera was never able to recapture his previous magic and reach the high bar he’d set for himself.

By late 2006, Vera had every right to carry a big ego. He had a flawless pro record of 8-0 with all wins by stoppage, and was fresh off a 69-second TKO of former champ Frank Mir, who was struggling to make a comeback at the time (and eventually succeeded). As it turned out, Mir was the last notable opponent that Vera managed to beat. And if you wanted to be brutally honest about it, you could argue that Mir is the only notable opponent that Vera has ever beaten.


Jason High Released From UFC After Shoving Referee at UFC Fight Night 42

(At least he’s taking it well. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

The axe has finally dropped on Jason High, following his regrettable shoving of referee Kevin Mulhall at last weekend’s UFC Fight Night 42. UFC president Dana White confirmed High’s firing in yesterday’s installment of “The Download,” his weekly address on Though White didn’t watch the “Henderson vs. Khabilov” event live due to illness (more on that later), he acted swiftly as soon as he heard what happened:

“What I did find out is that I guess that Jason High kid got up and pushed a referee – he’s cut,” White said in disgust. “I’m going to cut him. I look at that the way (Paul) Daley put his hands on his opponent after a fight was over. You don’t ever, ever f****** touch a referee, ever. You’re done here. He’s been apologizing on Twitter, but he’s done.”

I feel bad for High. It’s not like he went full-Yvel on Mulhall, and yet he could be shut out of the UFC for life, for a single bad decision. On the other hand, an example needs to be set that you never put your hands on an official, no matter how much you think the stoppage sucked. On the other, other hand:

“Say that Chael Sonnen was the one that lightly pushed the ref and that Jason High failed the drug test. Does Dana instantly fire Chael and then go on TV to publicly defend High?

There’s some truth to that. Maybe High’s biggest crime was simply being expendable.

Dana also confirmed in the “Download” column that the UFC will be paying Ross Pearson his win bonus after Pearson was blatantly robbed against Diego Sanchez, and hoped that the judge who scored the fight 30-27 for Sanchez (Jeff Collins) never judges another professional fight. Also, he was struggling with allergies while relaxing in Maine and buying cars while drunk:


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…


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 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.


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.


And Now They’re Fired: Alessio Sakara, George Sotiropoulos, and Rosi Sexton Removed From Roster

(To answer the question posed by your body language, hellz yeah bro, that is some sick ink. / Photo via Getty)

BloodyElbow gives us the heads up that three notable UFC fighters have had their profiles removed from — a sure sign that they’ve recently been released by the promotion. While it’s always sad to see people lose their jobs right before Christmas, you can’t argue that these three didn’t have it coming. So who felt the axe in the latest round of roster-cuts? Let’s begin…

Alessio Sakara: The Italian striker has been a reliable gatekeeper-presence at light-heavyweight and middleweight since his Octagon debut in 2005, earning solid wins against Elvis Sinosic, Joe Vedepo, Thales Leites, and James Irvin. But training injuries began to pile up beginning in 2009, and Sakara also missed fights due to sudden illness and the loss of his father.

In 2011, Sakara kicked off what would become a four-fight losing streak, when he dropped a decision to newcomer (and future middleweight champion) Chris Weidman, who came into the fight as a short notice injury replacement. After that, Sakara was KO’d by Brian Stann, DQ’d due to rabbit-punches in a fight against Patrick Cote, and armbarred by UFC rookie Nicholas Musoke during his most recent appearance at UFC Fight Night 30 in October. That loss dropped Sakara’s overall UFC record to 6-8 with one no-contest.

George Sotiropoulos: After entering the UFC as semi-finalist on TUF 6 in 2007, Sotiropoulos went on an absolute tear, winning seven fights in a row (which earned him a spot on the all-time leaderboard). In 2010, Sotiropoulos defeated Joe Stevenson, Kurt Pellegrino, and Joe Lauzon, making him a legitimate title contender in the lightweight division. But in a stunning reversal of fortune, Sotriopoulos would never win another fight in the UFC.