The writing may have been on the wall after Cung Le's brutal loss to Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 a few months ago (see his destroyed face here), but after the promotion sullied his good name with a bumbled drug test (full details here), the former Strikeforce Middleweight champion has requested to be released from his contract.
Le was originally slapped with a nine-month suspension following his fourth round technical knockout loss to Bisping because traces of human growth hormone (HGH) were allegedly detected in his bloodstream after testing was performed in Macau, China. Le subsequently challenged the voracity of the testing procedures that were used and the handling of his sample and UFC ultimately rescinded his suspension.
However, it appears that the damage was already done.
Indeed, Le remains bitter about the public shaming and is no longer interested in working under the Zuffa banner, according to an interview with Josh Gross. He outlined his feelings about UFC and the reason he asked to part ways with the promotion.
"I'd just prefer not to be part of the UFC anymore. I'd prefer not to put the effort into something I don't believe in anymore. If I would fight for anyone, it would be Scott Coker. I would not fight for the UFC after what happened."
Le's manager, Gary Ibarra, also appeared on the show to outline why he had submitted Le's request for a release:
"His career will forever have something of an asterisk next to it, due to something that is no fault of his own. Does anybody deserve that? No, absolutely not. I would hope the UFC would understand that and recuse themselves from further drug testing when there are no athletic commissions."
As of this writing, UFC has not granted Le's release request. But, considering that Le is interested in re-uniting with Coker, who runs the rival Bellator MMA promotion -- and a handful of notable UFC veterans have already been eager to switch sweaters -- it seems like an unlikely scenario.
Then again, Le is 42 and on the downswing of his career. And, just maybe, UFC will grant his request to make up for its high-profile blunder. Either way, we'll keep you updated on all the latest developments.