In a year that has seen a surge of signings due to the coronavirus pandemic (short-notice replacements always seem to be required), not to mention the recently concluded fourth season of Dana White’s Contender Series, something had to give with the UFC’s already bloated roster. So while many were surprised that the promotion chose to release multi-time title challenger Yoel Romero recently, maybe they shouldn’t have been.
Following the UFC Vegas 16 card over the weekend, UFC President Dana White shed some light into the thought process behind releasing the “Solider of God” — and warned that more cuts are coming. A lot of them.
“It’s not just Yoel. We’re gonna go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year. Probably gonna have 60 cuts coming up before the first of the year,” White said following the event this past Saturday. “Yoel has lost four of his last five, he’s 44-years old. Our roster is very inflated right now. We’re gonna have some big cuts coming before the end of the year. You’re gonna see a lot of names going here in the next several weeks.”
“We’re just literally starting to to through the list,” White added.
It appears that process has already begun. On Monday, MMA Junkie reported that Rachael Ostovich had been released by the promotion. The Hawaiian fought just over a week ago, losing her third straight bout. Ostovich had been blunt prior to the fight, admitting to media outlets including Cageside Press that a third straight loss could very likely cost her her job.
Just a few days ago, news also broke that Cole Smith, Justin Ledet, Bevon Lewis, and Collin Huckbody had also parted ways with the promotion. While none of those names carries the high profile of Romero, there are likely to be at least a few more big names shown the door. After all, following his most recent defeat, on Halloween, even Anderson Silva was handed his walking papers by the promotion.
The next few weeks could mark a bleak holiday period for a large number of fighters. While the UFC tends to clean house every now and then, it’s been a while since they made cuts to the extent White has suggested. At the same time, their roster has grown to immense size in recent years — as of this writing, their website lists 724 active fighters. While that number may not be 100% accurate depending on how up-to-date the promotion’s official website is (it does not currently include the recent cuts, for example), it’s clear the cuts are not without reason.