In a weekend somewhat reminiscent of the old WWE “Black Fridays”, UFC did a massive housecleaning of contracted fighters over the last several days as news started to leak out Friday as Marcus Brimage, Matt Van Buren, and Cristos Giagos announced their own cuts via Twitter.
Eddie Gordon, a castmate of Van Buren on season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter, also announced his own release from the company via Facebook earlier in the day. Chris Clements and Roger Narvaez subsequently announced their releases as well. More names, rumoured to be as many as 50, are expected to become public by Tuesday.
Some notes on the released fighters:
- Gordon won the TUF 19 middleweight tournament, knocking out Dhiego Lima in the finals. He also beat Cathal Pendred in the previous round. He went on to lose his next three fights, including two by finish. Gordon is 32 and will have to be really impressive on the regional circuit to earn his way back.
- Brimage was a TUF 14 cast member, losing in the 2nd round of that tournament to Bryan Caraway. He went on to win his first three UFC official UFC fights before being Conor McGregor’s first UFC victim in April 2013. That kicked off a 1-4 stretch with three of the losses being by KO that led to his release. The American Top Team product is 30 and should get back at some point as he has a lot of personality and a fun fighting style.
- Van Buren made it to the finals of TUF 19 before being KO'd in the first round by Corey Anderson. The former Bellator fighter lost his follow-up fight, also by KO, to Sean O’Connell. Despite being just 29, Van Buren would be a longshot to make it back to UFC. He was even a longshot to get as far as he did in the TUF tourney.
- Giagos was a veteran of the California regional scene when he got a call as a late replacement for a fight against the tough Gilbert Burns in October 2014. He was submitted in the first round but won his follow-up fight in March before losing via decision to Chris Wade in June. At just 25, he’s almost a lock to get back to UFC at some point if he puts a few wins together.
- Clements is a Canadian fighter who opened eyes in 2011 with a win on the Score Fighter Series over Rich Clementi. He made his UFC debut the following year against Matt Riddle, being submitted in the 2nd round. The result was later overturned due to a drug test failure by Riddle. Clements went 1-2 in his next 3 fights, losing by decision to Nordine Taleb at UFC 186 in his last fight. Clements is 39 and this could be it for him.
- Narvaez was an undefeated prospect when he made his UFC debut last year against Patrick Cummins. He went 1-2 in UFC with both losses coming by KO. His last fight was on the UFC 185 prelims against Elias Theodorou. He’s 32, but only started in the sport in 2011 so it’s a young 32. Expect him back at some point.