Towards the end of 2020, UFC President Dana White promised some hefty cuts to the UFC’s rather bloated roster. Thus far, they have come at a trickle, rather than a flood — but over the past week, the headman’s axe has been a little busier. Among the recent victims of the UFC downsizing are the popular Spike Carlyle, and TUF Brazil 3 winner Antonio Carlos Junior.
The pair join several other UFC fighters in the unemployment line, including Sarah Moras, Rhys McKee, Carlton Minus, and Anthony Ivy. An additional report by MMA Fighting has suggested that nearly a dozen fighters have been handed their walking papers recently, with “Slippery” Peter Barrett, Jacob Kilburn, Vinicius Moreira, Markus Perez, and Cole Williams also shown the door. All of the aforementioned fighters were coming off recent losses.
Not all of those in question have confirmed their exit from the promotion. However, Carlyle took to social media to address the matter.
“I’m sure some of you know, some of you may not, but about three days ago I was released from the UFC. I had one more fight on my contract, but they decided to cut me,” Carlyle stated in a live video stream. “They said it was partially based on my last performance. It’s a little bitter, but it’s also a way lot sweet. I’m actually pretty stoked on it. The UFC was a great experience and a great opportunity and I loved it, but people who truly know me know that my heart’s desire and my dream has always been to fight in Japan. So that is my goal.”
“The Alpha Ginger” isn’t joking. Prior to his UFC run, he spike to Cageside Press about his dream of some day fighting in Japan.
“My goal is to fight for ONE FC or RIZIN. It’s been my dream since I was fifteen to fight in Japan. I feel in love with PRIDE FC,” Carlyle said at the time. Of course, he detoured to the UFC, going 1-2 across three fights in 2020.
Also without a UFC deal currently (and rather surprisingly) is Vanessa Melo, who is the woman who defeated Sarah Moras in what appears to be the Canadian’s final octagon bout. However, rather than a cut, it appears her contract has simply run out. It’s likely the Brazilian could re-sign with the promotion, however.