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Tag: UFC firings

Damned If You Don’t: Rich Attonito Fired by UFC for Backing Out of Gunnar Nelson Fight


(He beat the crap out of Jamie Yager, so he’ll always be a legend in our book. Photo props: Justin M. Bowen/ Las Vegas Sun)

When UFC matchmaker Joe Silva calls you to fight on short notice as an injury replacement, sometimes it’s better to not even answer the phone. That’s the lesson we’ve learned from a contradictory pair of recent firings that seem to define the phrase “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

As confirmed by MMAFighting.com, welterweight contender (and former CagePotato guest-blogger) Rich Attonito has been released by the UFC. Attonito had an official record of 3-2 within the Octagon, and last competed at UFC 140 in December 2011, where he was TKO’d by Jake Hecht. Here’s the sequence of events that led to Rich’s firing, from the MMAFighting report:

When [Pascal] Krauss pulled out of UFC on FUEL TV 5, [Joe] Silva offered Rich Attonito the fight against [Gunnar] Nelson via Attonito’s manager Dan Lambert. Lambert spoke to the American Top Team fighter, who agreed to take the welterweight bout. The next day, Lambert called Silva to tell him Attonito said he would not be able to make the 170-pound weight limit on short notice. Silva then offered him the opportunity to take the fight at a 175-pound catch weight, which both Attonito and Nelson, through his manager and father Haraldur Nelson, agreed to. The next day, Lambert called Silva back again to inform him that Attonito would not be able to make the 175-pound catch weight either. As a result, Silva decided to release Attonito from his contract.

Here’s the deal: When the UFC offers you an opportunity to come in as a replacement fighter, you generally don’t get a day or two to think about it. Attonito’s crime was speaking too soon — agreeing to a fight before he realized that making weight would be impossible. But at the time the fight was offered to him, saying “no” to Joe Silva probably seemed like the bigger sin.

Anyway, Attonito changed his mind and got fired for it. And you probably remember what happened next…

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And Now They’re Fired: DaMarques Johnson, Shane Roller Axed From UFC After Recent Losses


(Johnson secures a dominant position against Mike Swick at UFC on FOX 4, shortly before it all fell apart.)

After suffering his third-straight stoppage loss against newcomer Gunnar Nelson at UFC on FUEL 5: Struve vs. Miocic, UFC welterweight DaMarques Johnson has been released by the promotion. Johnson confirmed the news via Twitter late last night. “And the hits keep on coming,” Darkness wrote. “No longer a UFC fighter.”

The TUF 9 finalist complied an official record of 4-6 within the Octagon, with none of those fights going to decision — a stat that placed him in a first-place tie on the “Least Decision-Prone UFC Fighters of All Time” leaderboard. His most recent fight was somewhat controversial in that it came just 56 days after a brutal knockout loss to Mike Swick. Johnson faced Gunnar Nelson on short notice as an injury replacement, and while the UFC usually gives extra leeway to fighters who step up to save fights, the fact that Johnson didn’t even come close to making weight likely sealed his fate.

In other firing news…

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And Now He’s Fired: Dennis Hallman Cut After Totally Screwing One of Our Parlays


(The ballsiest fighter to ever step foot in the octagon. *rimshot*) 

Well, we called this one.

In his past three fights, longtime MMA veteran Dennis Hallman has made some startling (not to mention amateur) choices to say the least. After losing a bet to his friend that resulted in one of the most horrifying wardrobe malfunctions of all time against Brian Ebersole at UFC 133, Dennis showed up two and a half pounds overweight for his fight against John Makdessi at UFC 140 and was subsequently fined 20% of his purse. Luckily for him, he was able to pick up a win. Unfortunately for him, he apparently took nothing away from the close call, and showed up seven pounds overweight at yesterday’s weigh-ins. His scheduled opponent, Thiago Tavares, basically treated the situation with an “Are you serious, bro?” but was able to strike a deal with Hallman that if he could get down to only 3 pounds over the limit, the fight would be on.

Hallman was allegedly able to do so, but Tavares then asked him to cut an additional pound, at which point Hallman asked to be removed from the card and became the most recent UFC fighter to join the unemployment line.

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And Now They’re Fired: Michihiro Omigawa, Walel Watson, & Others Receive Their Walking Papers


(The punch may have missed, but Dillishaw’s stank bref definitely found its mark.) 

It is not a good time of year to be a struggling UFC fighter, Potato Nation.

Just a day after it was made public that Charlie “Big Hair” Brenneman (nickname pending) had been released from the UFC following a pair of losses to Kyle Noke and Erick Silva, the UFC has announced that four more UFC fighters will have to significantly cut back on their children’s wish lists this Christmas. Spoiler alert: Most of the names will not surprise you, unless you were unaware that some of them were fighting in the UFC in the first place, or even a person at all, which is likely the case with a couple of these guys.

And the nominees for saddest fighter of the day are…

-Michihiro Omigawa: Following an 0-2 stint in the octagon between 2007-2008, the DREAM and DEEP veteran reentered the UFC in February of 2011. Unfortunately for him, his second run didn’t go much better than the first. He would drop his first fight to future title challenger Chad Mendes by way of unanimous decision at UFC 126 and get absolutely screwjobbed out of a victory in his second fight against Darren Elkins at UFC 131. A UD victory of his own over Jason Young at UFC 138 would be his first and his last under the Zuffa banner, as he would suffer back-to-back unanimous decision losses to Iuri Alcantara and former WEC featherweight title challenger Manny Gamburyen at UFC 142 and UFC on FOX 4, respectively. Omigawa’s record currently stands at 13-12.

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And Now He’s Fired: Charlie Brenneman Axed by the UFC After Back-to-Back Losses


(Noke had carefully selected his training partners to mimic how Brenneman would look on fight night. / Photo via Getty)

In the space of two fights, UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman went from co-headliner to curtain-jerker. So where do you go next if you get TKO’d in 45 seconds by a non-contender on the Facebook portion of a card? The unemployment line, son. Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

That’s right, Brenneman has been released by the UFC after taking his second consecutive first-round stoppage loss to Kyle Noke at UFC 152, which followed his submission loss to Erick Silva at UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall in June. With his most recent loss, “The Spaniard”‘s overall UFC record dropped to 4-4, including decision wins over Jason High, Amilcar Alves, Rick Story, and Daniel Roberts, and previous TKO losses to Johny Hendricks, and Anthony Johnson. In other words, his victories were mostly forgettable, but his losses were all highlight-reel material. Not a good look.

Brenneman was disppointed but hopeful after getting the news, telling Bloody Elbow’s Steph Daniels:

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Rumor: Was Miguel Torres’s Second UFC Firing *Also* Rape-Joke Related?


(Props: @MiguelTorresMMA via MMAMania)

Well this is just friggin’ unbelievable. If a new report from Dave Meltzer at Wrestling Observer is accurate, Miguel Torres‘s recent UFC re-firing wasn’t due to his knockout loss to Michael McDonald earlier this year. Allegedly, it was due to the same lapse in judgement/humor/decency that got him fired the first time. As Meltzer writes:

The cutting of Miguel Torres was disciplinary in nature although it was not said what the cause was, only that he was cut. His record wasn’t bad, with a knockout loss to Michael McDonald who is going to be a top star (provided his hands don’t keep betraying him as he’s already broken them a couple of times) and a close loss to Demetrious Johnson, both top guys. He made the r*** joke on twitter and was fired, then brought back, and apparently he made some sort of a similar mistake.

The tweet at the top of this post was dug up by MMAMania, who point out that it was sent a couple weeks after the McDonald loss. And while it still hasn’t been confirmed exactly what led to Torres’s latest firing, it’s astounding that he would still be playing with fire like this. For those people who viewed Torres as a victim of over-sensitivity during his first UFC firing, you have to admit that he would have to be the dumbest motherfucker alive to continue making rape jokes after he already lost his job once.

If someone could be literally addicted to making rape jokes — and if such a person exists, it would be Miguel Torres — this would represent a pretty obvious rock bottom, and a sign that he needs help. What the hell, man. Seriously.

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And Now He’s Fired (Again): Miguel Torres Released by UFC, Signs With Titan FC


(True story.)

As a wise man once tweeted, “everyone likes surprises.” Nevertheless, Miguel Torres probably didn’t enjoy the surprise he got recently when he found out that he had been cut for the second time by the UFC. Torres confirmed on his official website that he was handed his walking papers following his first-round knockout loss against rising star Michael McDonald at UFC 145. The firing follows a temporary release in December, which Torres caught for rape-joke-related offenses.

At one point the most dominant bantamweight in the history of the sport, Torres ends his UFC stint with an underwhelming record of 2-2, including decision wins over Antonio Banuelos and Nick Pace, and losses to McDonald and Demetrious Johnson. Prior to that, Torres spent three fruitful years in the WEC, where he won the promotion’s 135-pound belt and successfully defended it three times before a pair of stoppage losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez permanently dethroned him.

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And Now He’s Fired (Yet Again): John Alessio


(Alessio prays for forgiveness (and another shot) after coming up short in a snoozer against Shane Roller at UFC 148.) 

We don’t mean to disrespect a grizzled veteran of the sport like John Alessio, but simply put, if you are shocked to learn that “The Natural” was released from the UFC following an 0-2 stint in the octagon, you are either John Alessio or Lloyd Christmas. Having compiled an 0-5 lifetime record in the promotion, Alessio not only received one of the most undeserved title shots of all time under the Zuffa banner, but will live in CagePotato infamy for his placement amongst the “50 Worst Fighters in UFC History” and “The Ten Most Ironic Nicknames in MMA”. While he might be upset to learn of his placement on one of those lists, the other was more or less just a means of wasting time on our part.

Based purely on comparative success in other promotions, Alessio was/is basically the Canadian version of Jorge Santiago — a man capable of crushing 95% of the fighters he faces outside of the promotion, but one who simply couldn’t put it together under the bright lights — scoring impressive wins over fellow UFC veterans Chris Clements, War Machine, and Sean Pierson among others. Of his five losses, four came by way of unanimous decision, against superior strikers (Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez), superior grapplers (Mark Bocek, Shane Roller) and superior superiors (Pat Militech). In an interview with MMAJunkie, Alessio discussed how his most recent loss to Roller was the hardest to swallow:

 I’m super upset. I worked so long and so hard to get back, and the UFC always puts all this pressure on you about being exciting, so I tried to change my style up to be crowd-pleasing. But then I get an opponent in my last fight, where he just chose to hold me down to win the fight, and it’s just depressing that that gets rewarded when all they talk about is exciting fights.

I really thought that I’d be spending more than a couple of months of 2012 in the UFC. I thought I’d get one more shot. I don’t know where I should go or what my options are.

Though we are sure that Alessio will find success wherever he lands, his hope of getting a win in the UFC before he retires is a long shot at best at this point in his career. The 33 year-old Xtreme Couture products record currently stands at 34-16.

A tribute to Alessio’s finest UFC moments is after the jump. 

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And Now He’s Fired: Carlos Eduardo Rocha Released Following “Bullshit” Loss to Mike Pierce at UFC on FX 3


(Gentlemen, no need to show me the door, because THERE IT IS RIGHT THERE!) 

There aren’t many fighters in the UFC who have had longer layoffs in between fights than Carlos Eduardo Rocha. Well, maybe before this summer began, that is. Fighting just three times between November of 2010 and June of 2012, Rocha’s 1-2 UFC record included a submission via kneebar win over Kris McCray and a pair of close decision losses to Jake Ellenberger at UFC 126 and most recently, Mike Pierce at UFC on FX 3. The latter fight, which you may recall was originally scored a split decision victory for Pierce rather than a UD thanks to the general incompetency of Floridians, was a relatively lackluster affair that was dominated by Pierce’s clinch and wrestling game ala Couture vs. Vera.

It might surprise you to learn that Rocha, an incredibly decorated BJJ practitioner whose only trips to the scorecards have come in the UFC, was let go following the loss. As one might understand, Rocha was none too happy to learn of this news, and quickly vented his frustrations (mainly, those relating to Pierce’s performance) when interviewed by Tatame:

I went there to fight MMA and he wants to win by points. There were 15 minutes of pure stalling This is bullshit. And UFC fires me after a fight where the guy just stood there stalling. I had good performances and even so I was cut off. I didn’t expect this.

Ah, the Nick Diaz defense. Classy move, Mr. Rocha.

More from this interview after the jump. 

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Firing Roundup: Steve Cantwell Mercifully Released After Five Straight Losses


(We’ll give “The Robot” this, he never left a *victory* in the hands of the judges.) 

Of all the fighters to be kept around by the UFC for longer than they should have, the story of Steve Cantwell‘s inexplicably long run with the promotion is perhaps the most confounding. That is not a knock on Mr. Cantwell, but more of a general observation. After defeating Brian Stann at WEC 35 to win the WEC’s last Light Heavyweight championship (not to mention a bit of redemption), Cantwell kicked off his UFC career in memorable fashion, snapping Razak Al-Hassan’s arm and then gloating over it like a serial killer at UFC: Fight for the Troops back in December of 2008. Unfortunately for “The Robot,” the win would be both his first and last while under the UFC banner.

Cantwell’s next fight would be an entertaining three round kickboxing match with Luiz Cane, a fellow light heavyweight prospect who has fallen on hard times as of late, at UFC 97. It was shortly thereafter where those following Cantwell (including Joe Rogan) began to notice a change in Cantwell’s character, at least when he stepped into the ring. His next four losses, which came to Brian Stann, Cyrille Diabate, Mike Massenzio, and Riki Fukuda, respectively, were marked by an all but total lack of striking defense on Cantwell’s part, who seemed as if he was literally trying to absorb as much damage as possible en route to defeat. All four of those losses came by way of unanimous decision, and all four would see Cantwell fail to engage with any sense of urgency on the feet while having his face put through a meat grinder in the process. None of his fights were incredibly memorable, and most of them took place on the undercard, yet Cantwell stuck around for as long as he possibly could.

Like we said, we’re not here to kick a man while he’s down, but rather to wish him the best at wherever he may land in the future. We just wish we could have seen a little more of that sociopathic fire in his eyes over the last couple years.

News of Cantwell’s release comes amidst a plethora of UFC firings, the complete list of which awaits you after the jump.

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