The UFC’s Reign of Terror Is the Price Paid for the WEC Merger

As brutal as the action at UFC 125 was in the Octagon, the post-event carnage has far exceeded the toll taken in the cage. …

By: Nate Wilcox | 12 years ago
The UFC’s Reign of Terror Is the Price Paid for the WEC Merger
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

As brutal as the action at UFC 125 was in the Octagon, the post-event carnage has far exceeded the toll taken in the cage. 

Phil Baroni, Antonio McKee, Brandon Vera, Marcus Davis — all cut following UFC 125.

Maggie Hendricks opines:

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.

A couple of these cases were arguable, but let’s face facts none of these fighters was going to be contending for the title anytime soon. 

In fact, S.C. Michaelson predicted 3/4 of these cuts before the event. McKee was the only one he didn’t see being in danger.

Phil Baroni probably never should have come back to the UFC at all. Strikeforce cut him off a loss and his best days are long behind him. 

Antonio McKee is 40 years old and is notoriously boring. He was only signed in the UFC because he’d strung together two straight finish wins and had built up a nice buzz online. Yeah he had a long winning streak but he’s 40 years old and again, he’s really boring. McKee had to know they would be looking to cut him if he lost a boring fight. His bout with Volkmann was dreadful, end of story.

Brandon Vera has been a bust at light heavyweight. In 2006 he was next in line for a title shot against champion Tim Sylvia after crushing Frank Mir. Instead of signing on the dotted line, Vera and his manager elected to hold out for more money. The UFC booked Randy Couture instead and the rest is history.

Vera went 3-4 at Light Heavyweight for the UFC with 2/3 of his wins via decision. The old Brandon Vera was a threat to win fights with brutal striking or lightening quick submissions. The new Brandon Vera was a threat to win or lose via a long tedious decision. His disturbing new tendency of getting his face rearranged was just the sad end of his UFC career. The 33 year old Vera needs to get some easy wins and get his confidence back or retire. 

Marcus Davis had a great UFC run. At one point he won 6 straight and had worked his way into the top 15 in the division. Then he lost to Mike Swick at UFC 85. Since then he’s gone 3-4 with all 4 losses in his last 5 fights. He tried cutting down to lightweight and despite looking really good for two rounds he got KTFO’d. At 38 it’s time for Marcus Davis to move down the road. 

Vera and Davis were protected for a long time because of their perceived importance to the UFC’s international plans. But the UFC killed plans to do an event in the Philippines after the 2008 economic crash and Davis’ Irish heritage is less relevant by the day as Ireland sinks into a deep depression. 

You can bemoan the WEC merger for these losses, but me personally, I’d much rather see Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Joseph Benavidez and Urijah Faber on the UFC roster than Baroni and company.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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