Yair Rodriguez recently gave his side of the story after he was cut by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for allegedly turning down a pair of fights. Of course, “Pantera” refuted those claims, saying he wanted a Top 10-ranked opponent or a contract renegotiation, but was willing to fight any of the two options (Ricardo Lamas and Zabit Magomedsharipov) offered to him.
Over the weekend, UFC President Dana White elaborated on his initial comments after releasing the rising star, claiming the Mexican-born combatant did indeed turn down fights. As a result, White feels the Octagon simply is not a place him — or anyone else for that matter — who wants to reject fight offers. He broke it down during the UFC Fight Night 130 post-fight presser (replay) in Liverpool, England, this past Sunday (May 27, 2018):
“We offered him fights, he turned down the fights. There was a lot more back and forth that went on with that. If you don’t want to fight, this isn’t the place to be. There’s plenty of places out there that will take Yair Rodriguez and would love to have him, and would sign him and I’m sure he’ll have a great career. This isn’t the place for you.
As far as the possibility of Rodriguez ever making a UFC return, White didn’t completely shut the door.
I don’t know. We’ll see. When I call you and offer you a fight, you should probably take it. You should probably take it. I make 42 fights a year, and if you don’t want to fight and you want to be picky and choosy — and you don’t want do this and you don’t want do that — you probably need to go somewhere else. And I’ll help you get there.”
Meanwhile, Nick and Nate Diaz keep turning down fights left and right, according to White. In addition, the talented brothers keep getting in trouble with the law (see how here and here) and haven't competed in more than two years. And yet, they still have their spots on the roster safe and secure.
It’s one thing to say a fighter can’t turn down fights, it’s another to say he or she gets a pass if he or she can “move the needle.” While Rodriguez wasn’t exactly a needle-mover just yet, he was on his way to becoming a star for the promotion who could’ve helped its get even bigger numbers in Mexico.
And lest we forget:
If you have to take it, it’s not really an offer. Sounds like something bosses tell employees and not independent contractors. https://t.co/edpxsPdYMh— Daniel Downes (@dannyboydownes) May 27, 2018
Nevertheless, White is sticking to his guns, which should be a warning shot to all (or most) fighters on the roster moving forward.