UFC middleweight Chris Weidman reacted to the recent UFC roster cuts, suggesting the promotion is cutting veteran fighters due to their pay.
UFC president Dana White recently revealed that 60 fighters would be cut from the roster, and it started when former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva got the ax. Since then, other high-priced veterans such as Yoel Romero and Anthony Johnson were also let go. White has said the cuts have everything to do with performance and nothing to do with fighter pay, but not everyone is buying that. Weidman certainly isn’t.
Speaking to James Lynch of Fanatics View, Weidman said that the recent cuts of Silva and Romero highlight what he believes is a trend of the UFC cutting its higher-priced veterans to make room for lesser-paid rookies. The former UFC middleweight champion said it puts the UFC fighters in a position of knowing they could be cut at any moment.
“It’s unprecedented that they’re letting guys go with fights on their contract. It really does put everybody in a position, if you’re in the UFC, like, ‘Oh crap.’ If you’re not winning right now, especially if you’re getting paid a lot of money, it looks like they’re trying to get rid of you and bring these younger guys up who they aren’t paying as much money. It started with (Anderson Silva) and then you saw it with Yoel Romero,” Weidman said.
Weidman said that in the past, part of the contract negotiations with the UFC was getting the least amount of fights possible so the promotion didn’t have you locked up long term. Weidman said he was surprised to see fighters like Silva being released when they still had fights left on their contracts, putting fighters on pins and needles.
“It was always just a thing, if you had fought on your contract, that is a position for the UFC where you can’t go somewhere else and make money. So you always wanted a little less fights on your contract, that was part of the negations. And now it seems like they’re actually letting guys go with tons of fights on their contracts,” Weidman said.
In the end, Weidman said that he believes his long-time rival Silva will find a home with another promotion, though he predicts he won’t get as much money as he wants.
“I think he fights if he wants to fight, yeah. Someone’s going to give him money to fight. He may not be getting the money he wants. It seems like the free-agency market isn’t really in the best place right now, probably due to corona and everything,” Weidman said.
While former stars like Silva are likely to find homes, some of the other 60 fighters on the periphery of the UFC roster might not be as lucky. For the fighters who are not big names but who are being paid more than the rookies coming in from the Contender Series, those are the types of fighters that Weidman feels are at risk of being released.
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