The future was promising for rising light heavyweight contender Misha Cirkunov. In a division calling for fresh blood and new intrigue, the 29-year-old Latvian was expected to test the top 5 after impressively finishing all of his first four Octagon appearances. However, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White announced earlier this week that contract negotiations with Cirkunov have unexpectedly taken a turn for the worse and that the rising light heavyweight no longer has a place with the promotion.
"I met with Misha and his wife, and good people and everything else, but he ended up really flaking out on the deal," said White in a recent interview with TSN. "So I'm not interested. I'm done. He knows I'm done. I made it very clear I'm done."
Wow. White has played this card before in challenging a fighter's negotiation tactic, but it seems like Cirkunov crossed the UFC president at one point or another. While White didn't elaborate on how Cirkunov "flaked" out on a new contract, he doubles down on his decision to no longer pursue the rising title threat.
"You'll see him somewhere," added White. "It just won't be here."
With Cirkunov out of the picture moving forward in 2017, rising prospects like Volkan Oezdemir, Jarred Cannonier, Paul Craig, Ion Cutelaba and Khalil Rountree will be left to pick up the slack.