When the news broke on Feb. 20 that the UFC had cut 16 fighters including Top 10 ranked welterweight Jon Fitch, many were shocked. When UFC president Dana White announced that the Las Vegas-based fight promotion has 100 fighters too many still on its roster, fighters began to evaluate their status and wonder if they were going to be next.
White made it clear following UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche what will keep your position with the company on solid ground: fighting like your job is on the line.
“The cut thing, when I told you there were over a hundred (fighters on the roster that need to be cut), that’s an absolute fact. There’s going to be a night when we put on a card, there’s going to be 15 guys we cut, and then there’s going to be a night where we put on a card that we don’t cut any of the losers,” said White during the UFC 157 post-fight press conference.
“That’s one of those fights that there’s no loser. There is no loser in that fight. When you turn on your TV set and you put down your money, or you buy a ticket, that’s what you expect to show up and see. As a fight fan, those are the fights you want to watch, and those are the kinds of fights were guys won’t get cut. It’s pretty easy, pretty simple,” said White.
When Strikeforce closed its doors following its Jan. 12 event, most of the roster was folded over into the UFC. White has been pleased with the former Strikeforce fighters’ performances in the Octagon and feels their approach could raise the bar for every fighter in the UFC who feels they’re on the bubble of being cut.
“Strikeforce had hungry fighters. These (expletive) guys are hungry. Most of them hadn’t fought in a year. They didn’t know what was going on with their careers, couldn’t pay their bills, all this (expletive). They’re hungry,” said White. “The Strikeforce guys are going to raise the bar on these other guys.”
Exciting performances isn’t everything. Fighters still have to produce wins. Winning is always the best way to maintain job security.
“I don’t think we’d ever do that, start cutting guys after wins,” said the UFC president. “We might want to, but we wouldn’t.”