Confusion reigns over Jose Maria's UFC contract status

Jose Maria (right) lands a looping punch on the temple of John Lineker (left) - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Reports are surfacing that UFC flyweight Jose Maria may have been released, but he doesn't appear to have heard anything about it.

I never end up with more bad information than when I'm looking for news on fighter cuts and signings. Rumors tend to fly from all corners and often some of the smallest, most regional websites end up being both the biggest helps and the biggest hindrances when it comes to figuring out what really is going on. Currently the fighter in the cross hairs is UFC flyweight Jose Maria (Tome) or "No Chance," as he is affectionately known. Maria was considered the #2 Flyweight prospect in the world in 2012's Bloody Elbow Scouting Report. While not a spring chicken, currently he's 32, his 33-3 record and 16 fight unbeaten streak made him something of a hot commodity. His UFC run, however, has been somewhat less than spectacular.

After dropping a short notice call-up against John Lineker that saw him get knocked out for the first time in his career, Maria faced off against Dustin Ortiz with expectations that he would have a somewhat better showing. He didn't. Now, Brazilian MMA site Nocaute na Rede, is reporting that he has been released, per a UFC missive. Dentro de Octogono, another Brazilian MMA site, claims to have gotten in touch with Jose Maria's manager who said that they have no knowledge of the fighters release. The fact that they were apparently able to get a hold of the fighter's manager lends some credibility to their statement, as fighters themselves are often the last to know about a change in contract status. Maria himself is set to appear at Limo Fight Championship as a special UFC guest on January 24th, so he's certainly still acting like a fighter in the Zuffa fold.

Unfortunately, given the slow and secretive pace at which the UFC tends to release information on roster changes it's almost impossible to be sure what Maria's contract status currently is. Reports of his release could be greatly exaggerated, or they could be bang on the money. What do you think? Did he show enough in his first two bouts to get at least on more? Stay tuned as I'll be sure to update this story as soon as more information becomes available.

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