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