UFC Cut List – How hard is it to predict releases?

As we all know by now, the UFC has been firing people left and right lately. The influx of Strikeforce fighters has left the…

By: Tim Burke | 10 years ago
UFC Cut List – How hard is it to predict releases?
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

As we all know by now, the UFC has been firing people left and right lately. The influx of Strikeforce fighters has left the roster pretty bloated, and Dana White has made it clear that they’re looking to slim down the number of fighters they have and save some money while they’re doing it. Starting with UFC 157 a couple of months ago, I decided to start writing regular pieces examining who might be in danger of losing their job with a loss at each event. And it has been quite interesting, at least to me.

Since the start, people have asked me how well I’ve done with my “predictions”. I hesitated before writing this because it somehow doesn’t seem right to tally up how often I was right or wrong about someone losing their job. It seems sort of aloof, I guess. But the truth is that we’re writing about a sport here, and part of the business of sport is athletes getting signed and released. I’m not trying to be callous by writing this – I’m just giving people a clear view of what has gone on over the last few months.

With that in mind, here’s a quick breakdown of the last six events. For those that haven’t read the pieces before, I assign each fighter on a card into one of three categories: ‘Likely to be cut with a loss’; ‘Possibly cut with a loss’; and ‘Likely safe regardless of the outcome’. This will briefly go through who lost on each card, what category they were in, and the outcome. The totals are based on the number of fighters eligible for release (ie. they lost) and how many actually got cut. You can click on each of the event names to get to the actual article pertaining to that card.

UFC 157

I had seven guys in the “likely” category – Robbie Lawler, Josh Neer, Lavar Johnson, Brendan Schaub, Sam Stout, Caros Fodor, and Matt Grice. Lawler, Schaub, and Stout won, so they were safe. Of the four guys that lost, Neer, Johnson, and Fodor were released. Grice stayed due to his FOTY candidate with Bermudez. Johnson’s a bit iffy though – it seemed like they were going to keep him until he failed a drug test, then they cut him.

In the “possibly” category, I had four fighters – Urijah Faber, Josh Koscheck, Court McGee, and Anton Kuivanen. Faber and McGee won. Koscheck lost but stayed, while Kuivanen lost and was released.

All seven of the “not likely” fighters were retained as expected, despite four of them losing.

Likely – 3 for 4
Possibly – 1 for 2

UFC 158

I had five fighters in the likely category – Bobby Voelker, Rick Story, Issei Tamura, Reuben Duran, and George Roop. Story and Roop won. Voelker lost to Cote but stayed. Tamura and Duran lost and were cut.

In the possibly category were nine fighters – Nate Marquardt, Mike Ricci, Colin Fletcher, Patrick Cote, Antonio Carvalho, Dan Miller, Jordan Mein, John Makdessi, and Quinn Mulhern. Ricci, Cote, Mein and Makdessi won. Marquardt, Miller, and Mulhern (say that three times fast) lost but stayed. Fletcher and Carvalho were cut after losses.

All 10 on the safe list stayed, despite two of them losing.

Likely – 2 for 3
Possibly – 2 for 5

UFC on Fuel 9

The likely list included eight fighters – Ryan Couture, Matt Mitrione, Philip De Fries, Tom Lawlor, Tor Troeng, Adam Cella, Papy Abedi and Besam Yousef, Mitrione, Lawlor, Troeng, and Abedi won. Couture lost but stayed. De Fries, Cella, and Yousef all lost and were released.

Six guys sat in the possibly category – Pablo Garza, Reza Madadi, Michael Johnson, Chris Spang, Adlan Amagov, and Michael Kuiper. Madadi and Amagov won. Johnson and Kuiper lost but stayed. Garza and Spang came up short and got cut.

All 12 on the safe list stayed. Five of them were defeated on the card.

Likely – 3 for 4
Possibly – 2 for 4

TUF 17 Finale

13 guys were on the likely list. Every TUF fighter outside the finalists plus Bristol Marunde (that’s 10), plus Bart Palaszewski, Daniel Pineda, and Maximo Blanco. Five of the TUF guys won. Of the five losers (Jimmy Quinlan, Collin Hart, Kevin Casey, Gilbert Smith, and Marunde), only Marunde stayed. Pineda and Blanco won. Palaszewski lost and was cut.

Only three guys were on the maybe list – Cole Miller, Justin Lawrence, and Sam Sicilia. Miller won, the other two lost and were both released.

All eight fighters on the safe list are still around. Four of them lost.

Likely – 5 for 6
Possibly – 2 for 2

UFC on Fox 7

Nobody at all was on the likely list, due to all of the quality fighters on the card.

Five were on the possibly list – Jorge Masvidal, Anthony Njokuani, Roger Bowling, Clifford Starks, and Yoel Romero. Masvidal, Njokuani, and Romero won. Bowling lost but is apparently still on the roster. Starks lost and was released.

19 guys were on the safe list, and all of them are still employed. 10 of them lost.

Likely – 0 for 0
Possibly – 1 for 2

UFC 159

Four were on the likely list – Leonard Garcia, Cody McKenzie, Nick Catone, and Kurt Holobaugh. Catone’s fight was cancelled, and McKenzie won. Garcia and Holobaugh lost and were both released.

Seven were on the possibly list – Pat Healy, Yancy Medeiros, Ovince St. Preux, Gian Villante, Bryan Caraway, James Head, and Steven Siler. Healy, OSP, Caraway, and Siler won. Head’s fight was cancelled. Medeiros lost but is still around right now. Villante lost, but the eyepoke and controversial ending will probably keep him around.

13 fighters were on the safe list, and one of them has actually left the organization – Cheick Kongo. It’s hard to call it a cut, since it was the last fight on his contract. But I should have seen the warning signs there and put him the possibly list at least.

Likely – 2 for 2
Possibly – 0 for 2

So after all that, here are my grand totals after six events of doing this:

Likely – 15 for 19
Possibly – 8 for 16

And that’s a wrap.

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