Two weeks ago, the UFC made a surprising decision to release ranked middleweight Elias Theodorou and ranked heavyweight Justin Willis. Both fighters had success inside the Octagon but were coming off of lackluster losses.
This week, UFC President, Dana White explained why the Las Vegas-based promotion decided to release the two fighters.
Dana White on the decision to release Elias Theodorou and Justin Willis despite their strong win percentages in the UFC. pic.twitter.com/w0MK9iCFja
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) June 7, 2019
“Yeah, well you know there is a ton of guys and girls that fight here. We have like 600 people on the roster. There is always times when we release people and they question. Well, why were these people released? I’m looking for people who can break into the top-five or possibly become world champions,” Dana White said to TSN. “And, I make these decisions. The real question is, ask me how many times I have been wrong? If you look at when I release people and who I’ve released, how many times have I actually been wrong about that? And, you will see people stick around that are on a skid that put on unbelievably exciting fight.”
Elias Theodorou went 8-3 in the UFC and before his last loss was on a three-fight winning streak. Willis, on the other hand, went 4-1 inside the promotion, but to many fans, their styles were not particularly entertaining. But, according to Dana White, the decision to release the two of them had nothing to do with their style. Rather, he says the decision to cut them was based on the fact he didn’t see either becoming a champion.
“It is based on your fighting abilities. They might be decent fighters, (but) they are never going to break into the top-five. They are never going to be world champions. I need to free up roster spots for people who will be.”
What do you make of this explanation from Dana White?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/7/2019.