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UFC cuts Ben Rothwell ahead of May bout against Alexander Gustafsson

It looks like ‘Big’ Ben’s 13-year UFC run has come to a sudden and unexpected end.

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Ben Rothwell makes his walk to the Octagon for a 2021 bout with Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Ben Rothwell makes his walk to the Octagon for a 2021 bout with Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ben Rothwell’s lengthy UFC career hasn’t come without its hiccups. A pair of drug test failures, one in 2013 and another in 2017, notably stalled his momentum as a potential top contender. That said, over 13 years and seventeen fights, ‘Big Ben’ has stood the test of time as one of the UFC’s most consistent heavyweight talents.

At least, he did up until March 31st, 2022.

Despite a planned bout against former light heavyweight title contender Alexander Gustafsson, booked for the upcoming May 21st UFC Vegas 55 Fight Night: Holm vs. Vieira card, MMA Fighting reports that Rothwell has been released from the promotion. That news comes via a confirmation with UFC officials, following Rothwell’s removal from the organization’s website.

No word yet on the exact circumstances of Rothwell’s release, neither the athlete nor his management have made public statements in regards to the news at this time.

The 40-year-old Wisconsinite is coming off a TKO loss to Marcos Rogerio de Lima back in November of last year. That fight was Rothwell’s first knockout defeat since losing to Cain Velasquez back in 2009—in Rothwell’s UFC debut. It’s unclear at this time if the UFC will find a replacement opponent to keep Gustafsson on the May fight card.