UFC president Dana White says that the upcoming roster cuts from the world’s leading MMA promotion have “nothing to do with fighter pay.”
Last week, the UFC made the surprising move to release former middleweight title contender Yoel Romero. Although Romero is 43 years old and riding a three-fight losing streak, he was still ranked in the top-five and the move came as a surprise to a lot of people. White told the media that these surprises will keep on coming as the promotion looks to cut up to 60 fighters from its active roster. That has led fans and media to speculate on the UFC’s motivation to cut all of these 60 fighters.
According to White, it’s just a numbers game. A new report from MMAjunkie.com quotes a UFC official who says the organization has about 660 fighters on its roster and wants to get that number down to 600. That means that difficult cuts will have to be made, and Romero was just the first in what is likely a long line of them. White suggested the reason behind the cuts is to open up space on the roster for Contender Series contract winners, TUF alum, and newly-signed free agent fighters.
However, that hasn’t stopped some fans and media from suggesting the cuts are financially motivated. Fighters such as Romero and Anderson Silva were both on big contracts, and that didn’t go unnoticed by those wondering why they were cut. White, though, says that money has nothing to do with any of the roster cuts. The UFC president said the only motivation is to get the active roster down in size.
“We’ve been making these same moves every weekend for 20 years. We haven’t in the past few months. It has nothing to do with fighter pay or anything else. It just hasn’t been done in a few months during the pandemic. If I was trying to save money, I would be laying off employees like every other company in America right now. That’s how you save money during something like this. I have honored every fighter contract and have not laid off one employee during this pandemic,” White said.
With the UFC in the midst of cutting 60 fighters, anyone riding a losing streak could be at risk of being cut. On Tuesday, the promotion made five more cuts to the roster including letting go of veteran lightweight Matt Wiman. Expect more of these veterans to be released as the UFC looks to create more space on its roster.
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