He may not have ended up “telling all” as he teased he would when his split with World Series of Fighting was announced, but WSOF middleweight and light heavyweight champion David Branch is still making headlines. This time it’s not for the contract he’s finished, but the one he’s starting, back with the UFC.
Branch had a mixed first tenure with the promotion in 2010-2011, going 2-2. He dropped a highlight KO loss to Gerald Harris in his UFC debut, before picking up decision wins over Tomasz Drwal and Rich Attonito. A kneebar submission loss to Rousimar Palhares ended his run.
Shortly after leaving the UFC, Branch became one of the cornerstone fighters for the upstart World Series of Fighting promotion. He featured on their first ever event, defeating Dustin Jacoby via decision. Over the next four years, Branch went 10-0 for the promotion, defeating vets like Jesse Taylor, Clifford Starks, Vinny Magalhaes, and Yushin Okami, and picking up the middleweight and light heavyweight crowns in the process.
And while he may have had success in the cage, the financial side of the WSOF has often been something of a murky, strained relationship between promoter and fighters. Talk of financial instability and a string of cancelled events finally culminated in reports that the promotion had been sold for $25 million. And while the WSOF has their first event under new ownership planned for March 18th, it appears they’ll be going ahead without Branch.
“I’m definitely a free agent now, I’m officially a free agent,” Branch said on the MMA Hour on February 6th. “I’m going to be looking to explore my opportunities on the outside of WSOF. And I think it was about time for me and the company to just split ways. There was some misunderstandings that happened, and as a result of those misunderstandings it was best for me to be released and stuff like that. Plus I just want to do other things.”
Other things like signing with the UFC. MMA Fighting reports that Branch has now signed a multi-fight deal with the WME-IMG promotion. He’s expected to make his return debut in May, but no opponent, or precise date has been announced as of yet. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates.