No allegedly here, through various sources the release of five fighters from the UFC have been confirmed, as well as confirmation of one other probable release that was hinted at by the UFC a couple weeks ago. MMAFighting reports that Tom Niinimaki and Sean Soriano have been released from their Zuffa contracts. Accompanying them, Mike Rhodes announced, via Twitter that he was no longer fighting for the UFC, and Igor Pokrajac spoke to Fight Site in Croatia to give the official word that his contract had been terminated. MMAFighting has also reported that Alexis Dufresne has been released from the UFC, following her loss to Marion Reneau at UFC 182. Along with these new reports, the release of Rodrigo Damm was confirmed, Damm was briefly removed from the UFC active roster earlier this month, sparking speculation that his contract had been terminated.
For fighters like Dufresne, Rhodes, and Soriano their release from the UFC seems more like a bump in the road (and perhaps even a fortuitous bump) more than a coffin nail in their careers. All three have shown some flashes of potential; Rhodes and Soriano both looked decent against strong runs of competition, while going 0-3 under Zuffa. A chance to go back to a lower level of competition and rebuild their confidence while rounding out their overall game, may be just what they need. I'd expect any and all of them back on the tail of a few wins or a late notice injury replacement.
For fighters like Niinimaki and Pokrajac, it feels much more like the end of the road with Zuffa. Certainly in as thin a division as LHW is Pokrajac could have a chance to rebuild his record, and Niinimaki seems as though he still has some tread on the tires. But, but both fighters have been in the game for quite a while, and neither men put on the kind of performances in the UFC that's likely to put them at the top of Silva or Shelby's list for a return trip. Stay tuned for more updates, as the UFC appears to be releasing fighters at a much quicker pace than they have been over the past year or two, and of course, they're always bringing in more new talent. No doubt the next roster update news is just around the corner.