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Wednesday, 04/11/2012, 11:26 am

Is The UFC's "Fire At Will" Policy A Fair Way To Determine Fighter Employment?


By James Emerson:

UFC 137 was the last UFC fight for the career of Danny ‘Boy” Downes. At 25 years old, why was it his last fight with the promotion? He was obviously losing the fight but caught some attention in the second round with an inverted triangle/crucifix attempt. It stood out, not something that you normally see, especially on a Facebook prelim. Was this decision to end Downes’ UFC career based on his second consecutive loss? Or was it something else? There were no reports of him testing positive for PED’s, missing weight, or any other action that would immediately target him for any disciplinary actions. Countless fighters have had two consecutive losses but not all of them were released. It could be that Downes’ losses were his first fights with the UFC after Zuffa picked up the WEC. Both defeats came by decision, had they been two consecutive first round KO’s it would be more conclusive that he was not performing at UFC level.

How does the UFC determine how they cut a fighter? The fact of the matter is the UFC does not have a set list of guidelines that determine this. They are identified with a “Fire at Will” policy where not all fighters are necessarily treated equal. The reaction created by the organization can be fueled more by emotion than any documented rule. Few might recall the Miguel Torres controversy when he posted an alleged joke that referenced rape on twitter. It was brought to the attention of UFC President Dana White during an interview on television. Offended by the post Dana said that at that moment Miguel Torres was cut from the UFC. On the other hand, Forest Griffin was guilty of making the same categorized comment. Griffin was not released from the UFC or disciplined in any manner. Most recently, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson put out a viral video where he attempts to rape an unsuspecting victim but falls victim himself when he discovers she is a transgender. There was no media coverage on the UFC’s reaction on the video release from Rampage. Three UFC fighters used the subject of rape to make a comedic statement via Twitter, only one suffered the punishment of termination.

There is no formula for which the UFC based its decisions regarding employment with the organization. When these situations are brought to the surface questions do arise; Do you blame the fighter for posting what can be classified as inappropriate material? Or is the organization to blame for not informing employees that such an action can result in termination? Without some sort of Conduct Guideline, the UFC should not anticipate that each fighter will instinctually know what to do in accordance with the UFC’s wishes in every situation. In turn, the fighters should be able to know what actions will get them fired.

Two consecutive losses and you’re done Downes. James Toney you got one more to go.

comments

22 Comments to Is The UFC's "Fire At Will" Policy A Fair Way To Determine Fighter Employment?

  1. Not You says:

    The UFC only wants the big money draws.

    • Faaris Sheikh says:

      UFC are clearly in it for the money; Quinton Jackson is on a 2 loss streak, why don’t they fire him? Because he draws in a lot of fans generating a lot of money for the UFC why wouldn’t they want to lose a big name and upset fans; But when it comes to smaller names such as Dany Downes who does not bring as much fans to the table compared to other UFC athletes its understandable because at the end of the day its buisness.

  2. chris says:

    i always liked downes…i remember the first time i watched him in fight in the wec i said hell no this kid cant fight when i first saw him but he actually was pretty good. he was entertaining whether winning or losing

    • GET RID OF FITCH (forever) says:

      Didn’t Dan hardy lose 4 in row. oh yeah they need a ll the Brit fighters they can find with rooster hair

  3. John C. says:

    Can’t really say there should be a set of guidelines for firing a fighter when it comes to a promotion like this in a sport where each fight is different. Fact of the matter is that they can only have some many fighters on at a time and it’s competitive so the UFC ultimately is going to pick the fighters that fight / are draws.
    That said, regarding fighters like Torres, I think the UFC (Dana White in particular) is very emotional and does make snap decisions like that but more often than not, he gives people a second chance. From a business point of view, it’s better for them to do it like this… It might not seem very “fair” to the fighters, but that’s the sport / career that they decide to get into and it’s one promotion that they’re getting cut from – sure, it’s the biggest promotion that pays the best for MMA fighters but that means that as a fighter, one should probably hold themselves up to a fairly high standard of PERFORMANCE.

  4. THOM BJJ says:

    erm downes got dominated and got a gift crucifix and didnt know what to do with it.. whats the point of keeping prelim fighters who cant hold their own against top 50 opponents? just my 2 cents.

  5. Brend0magic says:

    Danny Down Syndrome Downes should be fired, he sux.

  6. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    Well any job I’ve worked for they make you sign paperwork saying they can terminate you at their own discretion. You aren’t guaranteed or a promised a job.

    As for the twitter stuff, you have to ask is it funny? Miguel Torres jokes might have been a quote from a show but it had no set up just a punchline from a television show. You only heard half the joke and the half he told wasn’t funny to a normal person or to his boss. It was easy to be offended.

    RUBBER BALLS AND LICK HER…. See that isn’t funny (wish I could think of a recent joke not from K-12… LOL).

    With Rampage, the joke was funny he had a set up it was obviously an act and the the woman/man got revenge on her attacker. Also he is known for being a funny guy and has great comedic timing. I myself am a pretty reclusive and serious person at work so if I told a dirty joke people would react in a negative way. They would be like where the fuck did that come from? It’s really how you present yourself on a daily basis.

    BTW I hate the PC society that we live in today.

    • Thurgood Jenkins says:

      Amen to your final point Ninja. People need to learn that laughter really is the best medicine. I’m a white guy, but I love watching Chappelle and Katt Williams make fun of white people because it’s not intended to scorn. Most people are way too PC these days.

  7. Mainez says:

    Great article. It’s definitely not a uniform policy when fighters such as Hardy can lose 4 in a row in convincing fashion, yet fighters ego make it competitive for 2 fights get cut.

  8. DMAC says:

    I would love to see any employer that has guidelines for termination. If UFC can’t draw with you 2 and done seems about right.

    Go get some soild wins and I’m sure UFC will have him back. I’ll be checking for downes now!

  9. Jon Joey says:

    They fire fighters to raise the stakes too, its added preasure for fighters. whether fighters take their bouts more seriosley because of this is debateable. They have fired big names like Keith Jardine for consecutive losses, a common main event fighter who beat big name opponents like Chuck Liddel and Forrest Griffin.

  10. ben says:

    If the contract states an employee can be let go at anytime for any reason then so be it…….sign the contract or don’t…….
    I’d sign it!!!! And there are far too many fighters in the UFC to allow a new fighter to loose twice in a row! Im sure they told him to go to another organization, get some more experience, get with a new.camp, etc.

  11. john says:

    man fuck dana white and his heavy metal red neck ufc!!! ufc makes mma look like shit!!!! they need an organization like pride again!!!!!!!

  12. Perry says:

    It has a lot to do with positive or negative attention, from the media, from the public, and how much attention is brought. Rampage can lose and he still has the positive attention from the fans, therefore he stays. Danny Downes didn’t bring enough positive attention, so he goes. Miguel Torres brought negative attention, so he goes. And so on…. The UFC is a business and if that is how they want to run it, then so be it; whether we agree with all of their decisions or not.

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