Some surprising news broke across the Brazilian MMA blogosphere last night, as just weeks after the UFC announced that he would be matched up with Tom Lawlor at UFC 134 in Rio, Maiquel Falcao has now been released from his UFC contract and removed from the Rio event. Tatame received an open letter penned by Falcao's manager, (and Team Kaobon luta-livre coach) Marcelo Brigadeiro, describing the situation:
We’ve received an e-mail from Joe Silva yesterday saying that the UFC decided to end Maiquel Falcão’s contract. They decided to do that because of some legal problems Maiquel got involved recently.
I decided to communicate you because of the respect we have with Maiquel’s fans. I always worked in a honest and clear way about everything, and wouldn’t act that way in this situation.
This news got us by surprise and left us very shocked, mainly after we signed to fight at UFC Rio. Anyway, we’re very grateful for everything the UFC have done for Maiquel and we believe we go out in a good way.
Besides the sadness, we respect UFC’s decision and hope to return to the biggest event on the planet soon. I think this type of thing happen to make us think about a lot of things, to learn and move on, and you can be sure that Maiquel Falcão will move on.
MMA Junkie also spoke to Falcao's management and got some more details:
The rep said Falcao's 2002 arrest still plagues the fighter, and with fans and media contacting the UFC and demanding his removal from the summer card in Rio de Janeiro, officials ultimately decided to sever ties with the middleweight.
The backstory on Falcao's legal troubles as recounted by the fighter himself, is somewhat confusing:
"In 2002, I was at a club with a couple of friends, and one of them had an argument with another group of guys," Falcao said. "They started fighting, and soon it became a fight between two groups. One girl got injured in the lips during this mess and took me and my friends to court. I was considered guilty for aggression.
"I was supposed to present myself regularly and could not leave the town, but I did not know that because the lawyer who was working on this at that time said that I had nothing else to worry about and that I could move. I moved to another city to train in a better team, and because this lawyer did not say anything to the judge about it, I was considered missing."
Reports earlier in the spring had suggested that Falcao was cleared of all legal troubles, but even if that's the case, and if his management is to be believed, it seems that outcry from the public and the Brazilian media led to Falcao's release, and not necessarily ongoing legal proceedings.