Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem were both released from their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contracts yesterday (March 3, 2021) after lengthy runs with the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
While not too many were shocked with the moves, there were still some unanswered questions as to why it all went down. There were reports suggesting that “Cigano” was let go after he turned down a fight against Marcin Tybura, while many felt “The Reem’s” high salary was part of his release.
UFC President, Dana White, though, claims there was no bad blood in the decision to let both men go, saying that it’s simply part of the fight game, while praising both Heavyweight veterans.
“Nothing happened behind the scenes,” White told TMZ Sports. “They are both great guys who have had great careers here. First of all, people get cut every week. Every week that a show happens people get cut. I think those two are pretty self explanatory. Its nothing negative, it’s just part of the sport.
“If you look up what they’ve done recently, you look at their age, you look at everything that’s going on, it’s pretty self explanatory,” he added.
“Cigano’s” release didn’t come as too much of shock after he suffered four straight knockout losses. Overeem, meanwhile, is coming off a knockout defeat at the heavy hands of Alexander Volkov a few weeks back.
Still, despite the move, White says he has nothing but love for both men.
“We’ve had a great run and love Alistair, and the same with Junior dos Santos,” he said. “Alistair Overeem never said no to a fight, never turned down a fight, would fight anybody. And JDS is one of the nicest human beings in the sport, I have nothing but amazing things to say about both guys.
“The one thing, age get’s us all man,” he concluded. “Those guys are getting, you know ... I am sitting here talking about how great they are, so I don’t want to sit here and shit on them. We all get old, man, and we cut people every week. Every week people come and people go.”
RIZIN and Bellator MMA are the two most likely options for both big men moving forward, though it will likely be a while before we find out just what’s next for the two long-time veterans. Overeem knocked out dos Santos in their first and only meeting in Dec. 2015.