While the UFC has been pushing hard with their UFC 157 promotion and garnering coverage from a lot of mainstream outlets, a lot of avid fans have been more interested in Zuffa's roster issues. The organization cut 18 fighters earlier in the week, and UFC president Dana White has said that up to 100 more contracts will have to be trimmed. Obviously this raises the stakes for a bunch of fighters on tonight's card in Anaheim, so I thought I'd take a quick look at where each competitor stands going into the show.
Likely to be cut with a loss
Robbie Lawler - His massive Strikeforce salary will need to be culled if he doesn't look good against Koscheck.
Josh Neer - Three losses in a row would make him one of the most obvious cuts from this card. That being said, he might be brought back down the road again with some wins.
Lavar Johnson - While the UFC likes having big strikers around and the heavyweight division isn't that deep, he makes 26k a fight just to show. A loss to Schaub would be his second in a row, and they'd probably let him go and bring him back at a lower salary after a couple of wins on the regionals.
Brendan Schaub - If Johnson knocks him out, it'll be his third straight loss. It'd be pretty hard to justify keeping him around even if he's still fighting cheap due to his TUF contract.
Sam Stout - Two losses in a row and three out of four, combined with an above-average lightweight salary, will probably spell doom for Stout if he loses to Fodor.
Caros Fodor - He's one of the few Strikeforce guys with a manageable salary, but a loss to Stout would be his second in a row and he'd probably be sent packing if that's how it goes down.
Matt Grice - Like Kuivanen below, he won his last bout (over company favorite Leonard Garcia) so he might be spared if he loses to Bermudez. But I wouldn't count on it because his 1-3 run at lightweight in the UFC back in the day will probably be held against him.
Everyone on the Facebook undercard - Wrestlers, TUF guys, and Strikeforce fighters. No one has really stood out thus far and I would think that the three men that come up short in these bouts will be shown the door.
Possibly cut with a loss
Urijah Faber - After talking to Dana White, Faber said that Dana's comments were blown out of proportion a bit. But it still seems plausible that a shock loss could send Faber and his semi-large contract (he made 32k/32k at UFC 139, the last reported salary) out of the organization for a while.
Josh Koscheck - It's not very likely, but Koscheck's salary and outspokenness might end up costing him his job if he gets knocked out by Lawler. He's hit his ceiling in the organization and is in a similar position to Jon Fitch, who was shown the door earlier this week.
Court McGee - They're not in the habit of cutting TUF winners and the weight class change might be his saving grace if he loses, but it's definitely a possibility.
Anton Kuivanen - A loss would drop him to 1-2 in the organization but he did win his last bout so they might give him one more shot, especially if the fight is exciting.
Likely safe regardless of the outcome
Ronda Rousey - Even if she did somehow lose to Carmouche, the division is built on her presence and she'd probably get an immediate rematch or something.
Liz Carmouche - Dana said that they're about to sign 10 more women for the division and make a serious go of it at 135, so cutting her after a title loss would be pretty counterproductive.
Dan Henderson - Despite Hendo's issues with the Zuffa surrounding UFC 151, his high salary, and his age, you'd have to think he's safe win or lose. He's still a pretty good draw and can anchor the middle of a main card with a variety of LHW's.
Lyoto Machida - Same boat as Henderson, with less issues. If he loses though, I'm pretty convinced his next bout will be at middleweight.
Michael Chiesa - A loss to Kuivanen would be a serious setback, but there's very little chance of the UFC cutting a TUF winner after his first official post-TUF fight. Especially since they lock those guys in with cheap, long-term deals.
Ivan Menjivar - The Pride of El Salvador doesn't earn a big salary and he's an action fighter. If things go sideways for him, there's no shame in losing to Faber and they're not going to hold that against him.
Dennis Bermudez - He was a TUF finalist that had a memorable finale fight with Diego Brandao, and he enters this bout on a two-fight winning streak. Combine that with his TUF contract and he's likely to stick around even if he loses.