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Yair Rodriguez says UFC fallout was ‘big miscommunication and bad timing’

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Rodriguez vs Caceres Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Combat fight fans were caught off guard last month when it was revealed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) had released rising featherweight star Yair Rodriguez for ducking fights.

The promotion was trying to get “El Pantera” to fight fellow contender-on-the-rise Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 227. According to UFC president Dana White, Rodriguez declined the fight offer and was eventually handed his walking papers.

Luckily for all of us, the two sides reconciled this week after Rodriguez met with UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby to discuss what went wrong. At the end of the day, the promotion really didn’t want to get rid of Rodriguez, they just wanted him to fight. Probably because he’s one of the most talented young fighters in the sport today and will be a huge promotional piece in the Mexican market.

Now that the dust has settled and Rodriguez is back on track to fight Zabit at UFC 228 this September in Las Vegas, “El Pantera” took to social media earlier today (Sat., June 2, 2018) to detail the bro down he had with Shelby.

#happynews @zabit_magomedsharipov Me dirijo todos mis fans, amigos y familiares por su apoyo a mi carrera. También me gustaría agradecer a todas aquellas compañías que han mostrado interés en mi persona y trabajo. - Sean Shelby y yo tenemos un amigo en común, Mario Delgado. Él fue la conexión entre nosotros y ayudó a establecer una reunión entre Sean & yo donde tuvimos una conversación amistosa durante el almuerzo del viernes. Nos dimos cuenta de que lo que sucedió fue una gran falta de comunicación y un mal momento. Después de la conversación estoy feliz de saber que el UFC & yo estamos en los mejores términos y ahora estoy de vuelta en el camino para perseguir mi sueño de convertirme en campeón de UFC. Zabit Magomedsharipov, te veo el 8 de septiembre en Las Vegas. Respetuosamente: Yair Rodriguez. Viva Mexico ! . . . I address to all my fans, friends and family for always been supportive of my career. As well I’ll like to thank all of those companies showing interest on my persona and work. - Sean Shelby and I have a friend in common, Mario Delgado, he was the connection between us. He set up a meeting between Sean & I, where we had a friendly conversation during lunch on Friday. We got into the interview realization that what happened was a big miscommunication and bad timing. After the conversation I’m happy to know that the UFC & I are in the best terms ever and now I’m back in track to chase my dream of become a UFC champion. Zabit Magomedsharipov, see you September 8th in Las Vegas . Respectfully: Yair Rodriguez. Viva Mexico !

A post shared by Yair Rodriguez Official (@panteraufc) on

“I address to all my fans, friends and family for always been supportive of my career,” wrote Rodriguez. “As well I’ll like to thank all of those companies showing interest on my persona and work. - Sean Shelby and I have a friend in common, Mario Delgado, he was the connection between us. He set up a meeting between Sean & I, where we had a friendly conversation during lunch on Friday. We got into the interview realization that what happened was a big miscommunication and bad timing. After the conversation I’m happy to know that the UFC & I are in the best terms ever and now I’m back in track to chase my dream of become a UFC champion. Zabit Magomedsharipov, see you September 8th in Las Vegas.”

Nothing a little lunch couldn’t fix.

It’s crazy to consider that UFC was so willing to let Rodriguez walk, especially if he had landed with a rival promotion like Bellator MMA. Rodriguez doesn’t seem like the type of fighter to dodge anyone in the division — the guy fought Frankie Edgar for Christ’s sake — so it probably really was a product of “miscommunication and bad timing.”

In any case, the show must go on. Fortunately, Rodriguez is going to be part of it and will have his chance to take out one of the toughest and scariest featherweights on the roster when he meets Magomedsharipov at UFC 228 this summer.