Okay, so maybe Brock Lesnar being gone from the UFC roster again isn’t a shock. Lesnar’s return to the sport last year was surprise enough to many, as the WWE superstar had seemed decidedly retired after his first UFC run. A spot on UFC 200 and a failed drug test later and Lesnar’s return appears to be over.
But he’s not the only one.
The UFC purged a whole slew of fighters from their active roster over on UFC.com on Friday, February 10th. While some names were unsurprising - like recently retired Tim Kennedy, Sean O’Connell, and Aisling Daly, others seem like they came totally out of left field.
It looks like the UFC has parted ways with longtime WEC staple and fan favorite action fighter Takeya Mizugaki. They also removed Rick Story, and Lorenz Larkin. Both fighters were free agents and this move might mean that the UFC may no longer be pursuing re-signing them. Alongside those notable vets, prospects Taylor Lapilus and Erik Perez appear to have gotten the axe, both men coming off recent wins.
This could suggest a shift in the UFC’s way of managing their roster; an attempt to keep it trimmed down only to those fighters under contract, and excluding fighters with whom they are currently renegotiating. But, given the promotion’s long history of inefficient updates and habit of hanging on to most fighter profiles for years after those fighters have moved on, it seems unlikely that they’d change their approach now.
Here’s a list of the fighters removed, as reported by UFCFIGHTERSiNFO on Twitter, not including those fighters who have previously announced their retirement or whose release from the promotion has already been reported.
It will be worth watching whether notable free agents like Larkin, Story, Lapilus, and Perez do indeed re-sign with the UFC and are added back on. But so far, history suggests that getting taken off the website marks the end of their runs, at least until they win a couple fights outside the promotion.
UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, the UFCFIGHTERSiNFO reports that an additional 7 fighters have been trimmed from the UFC’s online roster.
UPDATE #2: Another 9 fighters have been removed.