Latest UFC cuts as Contender Series fills up

Another four fighters appear to have been released from the UFC in anticipation of DWCS 2023.

By: Zane Simon | 4 months ago
Latest UFC cuts as Contender Series fills up
Bea Malecki talks to reporters after her KO loss. IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

Summer is here, the UFC schedule continues unabated. With events running every single week for the foreseeable future, the world’s largest MMA promotion appears to be gearing up for its upcoming session of roster turnover.

The next season of Dana White’s Contender Series starts on August 8th, at the Apex facility in Las Vegas, NV. If it’s anything like recent years, that means that we’ll be seeing somewhere close to 50 new fighters signed to $10k/$10k contracts by mid-October. With the UFC seemingly trying to hold their roster in around the 600 fighters mark for the last couple years now, that means they’ll have a lot of cutting back to do to make room for the new batch.

UFC removes 4 more fighters from roster

If June is anything to go by, the roster trimming process is already well underway, too. As we recently reported, the promotion has already released more than 15 fighters in this month alone. That includes the very recent release of woman strawweight Maria Oliveira, who infamously used her training camp time to compete on a reality TV show. Unsurprisingly, what’s now become her final Octagon bout did not include a stellar performance from the Brazilian.

To go along with all those numbers, another four fighters look to have gotten the axe. UFC Roster Watch reports that Don Shainis, Bea Malecki, Martin Sano, and Braxton Smith have all been taken off the online version of the UFC’s list of active fighters. While that can, occasionally, be a sign of something other than fighter’s release from the promotion—including USADA suspensions, contract negotiations, or simple database errors—more often than not it only means one thing, that the athlete’s next bout will be happening under a different banner.

Bea Malecki confirms UFC release

Notable among this list is former female bantamweight fighter Bea Malecki. The ‘Bad News Barbie’ started her pro MMA career with the UFC, as a contestant on Season 28 of the Ultimate Fighter, losing in the opening round of the show to Leah Letson. Malecki made her Octagon debut in 2019, with a win over Duda Santana, and followed that with a victory over Veronica Hardy.

After more than a year on the sidelines Malecki returned to action against Josiane Nunes, at UFC On ESPN: Cannonier vs. Gastelum. The Allstars talent out of Stockholm suffered a brutal first round KO in the fight, resulting in more time away from the cage while she dealt with severe concussion symptoms. The injury was bad enough that it seemed as though her fighting career may have been over altogether.

However, in a recent post to social media Malecki revealed that she had been looking to make her return to fighting. The only problem? She wanted to come back at 145 lbs., and it sounds like UFC matchmakers don’t have much interest in the future of the women’s featherweight division. As such, she and the promotion parted ways amicably.

June 2023 UFC cut list

Here’s a list of all the fighters that have been released from the UFC in the month of June this year so far.


  • Braxton Smith
  • Ilir Latifi

Light Heavyweight

  • Maxim Grishin


  • Martin Sano
  • Takeshi Sato
  • Orion Cosce
  • Mounir Lazzez


  • Erick Gonzalez
  • Nick Fiore
  • Omar Morales


  • Don Shainis
  • Makwan Amirkhani


  • Aaron Phillips
  • Journey Newson
  • Trevin Jones
  • Tony Gravely
  • Batgerel Danaa

Women’s Bantamweight

  • Bea Malecki

Women’s Strawweight

  • Maria Oliveira
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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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