January 06, 2011
Four more fighters became victims of the post-merger UFC. Brandon Vera, Marcus Davis, Phil Baroni and Antonio McKee all were given pink slips after losing at UFC 125.
Vera has had a long, strange trip through the UFC. He's headlined cards and fought legends like Randy Couture, but is on a three-fight losing streak. Cage Potato called him one of the MMA's best can-crushers. Perhaps he needs to take out a few tomato cans to get his career back on track.
Davis started with the UFC on the second season of "The Ultimate Fighter," and has had 14 bouts with the promotion. He won Fight of the Night three times, but lost four of his last five. Dropping to lightweight didn't help him, as he was knocked out by Jeremy Stephens at UFC 125.
Despite long careers in MMA, both McKee and Baroni had short stints with the UFC. McKee fought for the IFL and Canadian-based MFC before getting his shot in the Octagon against Jacob Volkmann at UFC 125. Baroni fought for PRIDE, Strikeforce and EliteXC before getting two fights in the UFC. Both were losses, to Amir Sadollah and Brad Tavares.
Losing fighters like these robs the UFC of some of the fun and personality that fighters like Baroni bring to it. Davis, Vera and McKee have perfected the art of trash-talking like few others. But with so many fighters on the roster after the merger with the WEC, this is the reality of the UFC today. This is especially true at lightweight, where McKee and Davis competed.
The upside is that it gives fighters in the UFC a level of accountability that is unheard of in professional sports. Football players can slump for an entire season and not worry about being cut. The same is true in basketball and baseball. The closest comparable can be found in golf, where players who don't make the top 125 in earnings don't automatically get their tour card for the next year. Like golfers, fighters know that they have to perform to keep their jobs.
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