Running the top MMA promotion in the world is not an easy task. It often means clearing out the fighters who can not carry their weight, to make room for fresh talent, and give someone else the opportunity to prove to the world they belong among the sport’s elite athletes.
Maybe UFC 101′s pay-per-view numbers were terrible, maybe it is just a coincidence, or maybe Dana White was having a bad week, but four fighters have been cut from the UFC roster following their performances at at the Aug. 8 event. Tamdan McCrory, Thales Leites, George Roop, and Dan Cramer have all been put on the chopping block.
McCrory (11-3, 3-3 UFC) received his walking papers after giving up a close split decision loss to John Howard at UFC 101. McCrory had called out Dana White in the past for not letting him walk out to the song “Thunderhorse” (by Dethlok from the show Metalocalypse). Finally, at UFC 101 White granted him his wish and then he is cut from the organization; hardly seems fair. At only 22 years of age, “The Barncat” could likely be back inside the Octagon one day.
Although he fought for the middleweight title in the UFC 97 main event against Anderson Silva, Thales Leites (14-3, 5-3 UFC) has also been released from the organization following his second straight loss in the Octagon. Leites lost a split decision against Alessio Sakara at UFC 101. One lackluster performance can be forgiven, but two in a row can get you the axe.
George Roop (9-5, 1-2 UFC) may be headed back to Rage in the Cage after his second round submission loss to George Sotiropoulos at UFC 101 and his subsequent dismissal from the UFC. Roop came into the UFC as part of the TUF 8 cast. His only win in the UFC was a split decision victory over David Kaplan at UFC 98.
Finally, Dan Cramer (1-1, 1-1 UFC), who began his professional MMA career with a split decision win over Matt Arroyo at UFC 94, has been let go from the UFC after a unanimous decision loss to Matt Riddle at UFC 101. Very few people can claim to have started their pro MMA careers inside the Octagon, and that says a lot about Cramer’s talent. However, the young 23-year-old needs more experience in the smaller shows before he is ready to hang with the big dogs.
With the UFC’s recent acquisition of nearly 20 Affliction contracts and other recent additions to the UFC roster, one or two lackluster defeats can put a fighter in danger of losing their job. A fighter has to create value for their company by winning fights or at least losing in an entertaining fashion.
UPDATE: 8-14-09 - Apparently UFC President Dana White was unaware of the release of Leites and McCrory and has reversed the decision. This is good news for fans of “The Barncat” and the Brazilian.
UPDATE: 8-14-09 (6:30 p.m. CT) - Yahoo Sports is now reporting that McCrory and Leites HAVE been cut. It seems Dana White had a change of heart after discussing it with UFC management.