Tough times for Jon Fitch and 15 others.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) today (Feb. 19, 2013) announced that 16 fighters have been cut from its current roster, the most notable among them being the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) standout.
MMA Fighting has the full list:
UFC President Dana White confirmed the following fighters were also let go: Wagner Prado, Mike Russow, Jacob Volkmann, Vladimir Matyushenko, Che Mills, Jay Hieron, Terry Etim, Paul Sass, Jorge Santiago, Mike Stumpf, Simeon Thoresen, C.J. Keith, Motonobu Tezuka, Josh Grispi and Ulysses Gomez.
A harsh development, indeed.
Aside from Fitch, the cut list was bizarre in several other ways. Paul Sass, an exciting submission fighter who was 3-2 in the promotion was released after a unanimous decision loss to Danny Castillo this past weekend at UFC on Fuel TV 7. Jacob Volkmann, with a 6-2 run in the UFC's lightweight division, also received his pink slip after having lost two of his last three bouts.
The best rationalization that can be made is that UFC is cutting costs. With an influx of highly-paid Strikeforce talent, the promotion had to make room for them, which meant several tenured fighters weren't going to be sticking around.
Or, perhaps they turned down short-notice fights when offered.
With cuts like these, every fighter on the roster will have to be looking over their shoulders.