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Kevin Lee released from the UFC after fourth loss in five fights

‘The Motown Phenom’ is now a free agent.

UFC Fight Night: Lee v Rodriguez
Kevin Lee throws a kick against Daniel Rodriguez in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Veteran lightweight and welterweight Kevin Lee’s days in the UFC are over.

MMA Fighting reported on Tuesday that ‘The Motown Phenom’ has been released from his contract, three months removed from his decision loss to Daniel Rodriguez. He is currently under USADA suspension through February 2022 after testing positive for Adderall.

Lee (18-7) once challenged for the UFC’s interim lightweight title when he took on Tony Ferguson at UFC 216 in 2017. After a strong start, Lee wound up losing by third-round submission. He made his UFC debut in 2014, losing a decision to Al Iaquinta before rattling off nine wins over his subsequent 10 fights, including submissions of Michael Chiesa and Francisco Trinaldo.

You could argue that the Ferguson fight was the tipping point towards Lee’s current downward trend. While he bested Edson Barboza by TKO in April 2018, he missed weight for the first time in his UFC career and third time overall. A five-round decision loss to Iaquinta soon followed, at which point he decided to move up to welterweight. Rafael dos Anjos gave him a rude welcoming by choking him out at UFC Rochester in May 2019. Lee bounced back with a spectacular head kick KO of Gregor Gillespie later that November at UFC 244.

Lee’s sole fight of 2020 saw him miss weight again and get choked out by eventual UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, and ACL tears put him out for the remainder of the year. He returned to welterweight for the aforementioned Rodriguez bout but ended up with another loss.

The 29-year-old Lee leaves the UFC with an 11-7 record inside the Octagon.