This afternoon, news broke that former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contender, Yushin Okami, had been released from the promotion following a devastating loss to Ronaldo Souza at UFC Fight Night 28: "Teixeira vs Bader."
The news came as bit of a shock as Okami was able to compile a 13-5 record inside the Octagon and is still ranked in the Top 10, according to the Official UFC rankings.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports was able to talk to UFC President Dana White to find out the reason the promotion chose to part ways with the Japanese fighter. White had described Okami as the "best fighter to come out of Japan" in the lead up to his UFC 134 bout with Anderson Silva.
"He's been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it's almost like he'd become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you've heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But, he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I've been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That's why these fights are so meaningful."
White also noted on Twitter that Okami can work his way back to the promotion, he'll just have to put together a winning streak elsewhere.
In his tenure, Okami was able to pick up wins over some of the best fighters to grace the Octagon, including Evan Tanner, Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt, and two wins over Alan Belcher. He was also the last man to hold a win over Anderson Silva prior to his UFC 163 loss to Chris Weidman.
On a more interesting note, Okami was released earlier this week and now the UFC is searching for a new opponent for Tim Kennedy at Fight for the Troops 3. If I'm Okami's manager, I'm giving Joe Silva a call.
So Maniacs, do you agree with Dana White? Was Okami falling into the 'gate keeper' role? Or did he still have more to offer?