Over the past week, the UFC has been thinning the herd a bit, apparently. 8 fighters have reported their release, retirement, or been taken off the books heading in to 2015. UFCFIGHTERSiNFO reported the removal of 6 of them (and the previously reported Charlie Brenneman) all but confirming their release from underneath Zuffa's promotional banner.
Most publicly, Phil Harris and Isaac Vallie-Flagg both reported that they would not be competing for Zuffa in 2015. Vallie-Flagg tweeted out, that he'd been cut following his third straight loss against Matt Wiman at Fight Night: Swanson vs. Edgar.
Well fuck sometimes putting on a fun show isn't enough.— ike vallie-flagg (@IKEVF) December 30, 2014
Phil Harris didn't announce his release from the UFC, but rather his retirement from active MMA competition. Harris had been released from the promotion after a loss to Louis Gaudinot back in March. But, when that loss was overturned to a no contest, the UFC brought him back for another fight. Harris faced off against Neil Seery at Fight Night McGregor vs. Brandao, dropping a unanimous decision. He retires from MMA after 12 years of competition, with a 22-12 (2 NC) record.
So 2014 I've decided to retire from MMA but will be staying competitive training out of @Gym01Portsmouth BJJ team roll on 2015— Phil Harris ufc (@Philharrismma) December 31, 2014
Now for the unconfirmed releases, profiles for Fabricio Camoes, Garett Whiteley, Wagner Silva, Guto Inocente, and Chris Heatherly have all been removed from the UFC's active roster. Likewise, Ernest Chavez, while not having been removed, has been booked for a fight in another organization, outside the UFC and has thus, almost certainly, been released.
There are no big surprises here, combined these men have a UFC recored of 3-15-1. The Road back to the UFC for Camoes, Whiteley, and Chavez may be a particularly long one if it exists at all. All three men are in their 30s, and while Whiteley and Chavez haven't had nearly the lengthy career Camoes had (starting back in 1997), they fight in particularly deep and competitive divisions.
For Wagner Silva and Chris Heatherly, this simply seems like a case of too much too soon. Silva, especially, had only had 3 pro fights when he made the cast of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil. If he can go out and get some more experience on the Brazilian regional scene, there's no reason to think he couldn't get a short notice call up to the UFC in the not too distant future. Heatherly has a few more fights under his belt that Silva, but having started his career in 2012, is still an incredibly green talent. With a couple more years of seasoning on the regionals (and maybe even a drop to lightweight) he could easily work himself back into the UFC.