MMA Weekly reports:
Following a rocky time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, capped by a surprising knockout loss to Octagon newcomer Junior dos Santos at UFC 90, Chute Boxe fighter Fabricio Werdum has left the promotion.
Sources tell MMAWeekly.com that Werdum's exit comes on the heels of a failed contract renegotiation following the loss to dos Santos. The Brazilian came into the fight with the expectation that he would soon be contending for a heavyweight title shot.
The knockout at UFC 90 derailed anything of the like in the near future, and spurred a renegotiation of his contract. Werdum and the UFC were apparently unable to come to an agreement. He has already opened talks with other promotions in the U.S. and Japan.
As Zack Arnold points out, the implications of this are real:
I do find it interesting that UFC has the contractual rights to not only be able to cut a fighter after they lose but to also ask a fighter to take a paycut or get released. In other sports (like professional football), there are buyouts and cuts but generally a negative impact towards a ’salary cap.’ In the world of UFC, management has the best of all worlds — they have complete and total control.
Michael David Smith adds:
That’s a stunning fall from grace for a fighter who once thought that he would get the first title shot against the winner of the current four-man UFC heavyweight tournament. But it’s not altogether unsurprising: Werdum was never a huge draw, and that loss to Cigano was devastating. And, as Zach Arnold notes, when it comes to fighter contracts, UFC has total control. In this case, they’re using their control to say goodbye to Werdum.
This is why, as much as I love the UFC's product, I do hope for a competent and honest competitor to emerge in the American market.
Werdum isn't the world's greatest fighter, but he deserves better than this. The part I don't like is their pattern of giving fighters one run and then never bringing them back.
If Werdum goes on a 10 fight winning streak in Japan would he be brought back to the UFC? Would he want to? Jorge Santiago is one fighter currently in that situation. I think Santiago would be a great addition to the UFC's middleweight talent pool, particularly if Anderson Silva moves to 205 or retires. But I doubt we'll ever see Santiago back in the UFC. Same thing for Werdum. He'd be an excellent test for their crop of young wrestlers -- Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, etc. Too bad we'll never get to see those fights.