Looks like the UFC was serious about that whole shedding dead weight thing: Travis Lutter has made history as the first Ultimate Fighter winner to get his contract shredded. Lutter made the announcement yesterday via a MySpace blog entry, which was later confirmed by FightTicker.com. The blog entry suggests that Lutter might have hit the bottle directly after getting the bad news:
I have been released from my UFC Contract.
Friday afternnon I was told by my manager that UFC matchmaker Joe Silza had left my him a message on his phone that I had been released from my UFC contract because of my 2 losses in a row.
And that’s it. At the time of this writing, the post had accumulated eight “kudos.”
Lutter made his Octagon debut at UFC 50 (10/22/04) with a knockout victory over Marvin Eastman, but lost his next two UFC matches against Matt Lindland and Trevor Prangley. After winning a couple of matches outside the Octagon, Lutter was chosen for The Ultimate Fighter 4 (“The Comeback”), where he defeated fellow middleweights Scott Smith and Pete Sell before submitting Patrick Côté via armbar in the final. But Lutter’s been skating on thin ice since he failed to make weight for his championship match against Anderson Silva at UFC 67, causing the card’s main event to be downgraded to an absolutely pointless non-title fight.
The last straw turned out to be his disappointing performance against Rich Franklin at UFC 83, where Lutter was so gassed by the second round that he barely had the energy to get to his feet after Franklin shook out of a leglock attempt. Following the loss, Lutter did an anger-venting interview with FightTicker where he notably said, “fans of this sport just suck…I definitely don’t fight for those people.” Lutter had four fights left on his contract.
The question is, who will get the ax next? So far, the UFC’s roster cuts are following a simple, cold logic: Boring fighting style + one or two losses + nobody likes you = fired. The most obvious upcoming win-or-leave matchup that comes to mind is Evan Tanner vs. Kendall Grove, which headlines the TUF 7 finale on June 21st. Tanner looked like a shell of his former self in his loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 82, and his personal stability is still a question mark; another loss for Grove would make it an unacceptable three in a row. But it would be very surprising if more cuts didn’t take place before that. Any predictions?