Promoted from the FanPosts by Kid Nate.
Always a fan-favorite, whether fighting in his native Canada or elsewhere, UFC middleweight Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald (21-12, 5-5 UFC) suffered his third loss in four fights to Nate Quarry at Saturday's UFC 97, succumbing to brutal elbows from Quarry for a first-round TKO.
Nonetheless, despite a .500 UFC record, and his inability to string together consecutive wins (late 2006 was the last time he won two fights in a row), MacDonald is not likely to be on Joe Silva's contractual chopping block anytime soon, according to Dana White himself in post-UFC 97 comments reported by MMA Junkie:
"Here's the thing that we love," White said in the post-UFC 97 press conference. "Anybody who goes out there and tries to fight – MacDonald is always awesome, man. He's always in an exciting fight."
"We want guys like Jason," White said. "They come to fight."
Of course the same could be said for welterweight Luigi Fioravanti, who, despite having nearly the same UFC record as MacDonald (4-5) and the same willingness to step up on short notice and put on a good scrap, was cut from the UFC following his TKO loss to Anthony Johnson in February.
If we compare the two, MacDonald's UFC losses have come at the hands of: Nate Quarry, Wilson Gouveia, Demian Maia, Rich Franklin, and Yushin Okami. Essentially, MacDonald has only lost to some of the best 185-pounders in the world (obviously Gouveia and Quarry's status are debatable), and win-or-lose, he's only been to a decision once in 9 career UFC fights.
On the other hand, Fioravanti's UFC losses were against: Anthony Johnson, Diego Sanchez, Forrest Petz, Jon Fitch and Chris Leben. Although Sanchez and Fitch are top contenders in their respective divisions, Fioravanti's other losses are against far less impressive competition than MacDonald, and with 4 decisions in 9 UFC fights, it can also be (subjectively) argued that Fioravanti wasn't as "exciting" a fighter as MacDonald. This leads to one 5-5 fighter staying with the UFC after two consecutive losses (MacDonad), while another 4-5 fighter was released following a win and a loss (Fioravanti).
Dana White had similar comments about Ed Herman, who was believed to have saved his UFC career with a decision win over David Loiseau on Saturday:
"I love Ed Herman," White said. "That's another kid I really like. He's a tough, gritty kid. He goes out to fight and likes to win. I really, personally like that kid."
"Obviously, if he would have lost, he probably would have been on his way out," White said. "He probably would have been on the smaller shows and trying to work his way back."
As I did with MacDonald and Fioravanti, let's compare Ed Herman to another recently-released UFC fighter with an identical record: lightweight Rich Clementi.
Herman is 5-4 in the UFC with losses against: Alan Belcher, Demian Maia, Kendall Grove, and Jason MacDonald. He has has gone to a decision 3 times in his 9 fights.
Clementi, also 5-4 at the time of his release, suffered losses to: Gleison Tibau, Gray Maynard, Roan Carneiro, and Din Thomas. These are tough competitors in their own right, but are not pound-for-pound on the same level as Herman's opposition. Furthermore, Clementi saw 4 decisions in his 9 career UFC fights, and lost two consecutive fights before his release.
Again, if we try to step into Joe Silva's shoes, it seems that Herman is the more exciting fighter and thus his spot is safe for now, while Clementi is off entertaining offers from smaller promotions.
The secret formula that Joe Silva uses for determining roster cuts will probably never be known exactly, but both MacDonald and Herman had to know they were close to the threshold between employed and unemployed. MacDonald certainly deserves an easier opponent for his next fight, and Herman needs to continue to impress, but in a middleweight division that's often-criticized for its lack of depth, the UFC will likely do whatever they can (to a degree) to maintain their 185 pound talent pool.