In the second part of this article we look at 10 more fighters who were cut from the UFC’s roster in 2009, and discover what they have been doing since.
If you missed it then you can read the first part of the article here.
Welterweight fighter Lugi Fioravanti failed to make a winning start to his UFC career back at UFN 4 in 2006, losing by unanimous decision against Chris Leben. Two quick wins over Solomon Hutcherson and Dave Menne got him back on track later that year though. His form became patchy in the next couple of years as he claimed victories over Luke Cummo and Brodie Faber, while losing out to tougher opposition such as Diego Sanchez and Jon Fitch. A final loss to Anthony Johnson in February of 2009 left his octagon record at 4-5, and put an end to his three year run in the UFC.
“The Italian Tank” has kept busy since, fighting three times in the last six months. He claimed a first round KO victory over the experienced Fabricio Nascimento in June, but then suffered the first knockout loss of his career against UFC and WEC fighter John Alessio in October. In December he got back on track with a decision win over Aldric Cassata.
While there is no indication of a return to the UFC at this stage, there appears to be no shortage of smaller promotions looking to acquire his services.
Canadian fighter David Loiseau has fought on and off for the UFC since April 2003, when he defeated Mark Weir at UFC 42. In his second spell in the promotion he challenged for the middleweight belt, losing to Rich Franklin, and was released after dropping a unanimous decision to Mike Swick in his next fight.
In April of this year he had a third opportunity in the UFC, taking on Ed Herman, but a disappointing performance led to another defeat. Once again Loiseau was cut from the roster, leaving him 4-4 during his time in the octagon.
Though the likelihood of another call back now seems remote, the 30 year old hasn’t given up hope. He has focused more of his training on his ground game, and though he hasn’t fought since the April defeat, he is believed to have attended the try-outs for the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter in October. Filming for the season begins in January.
Also on the horizon for Loiseau is a forthcoming documentary called ‘The Striking Truth’, which also features his friend Georges St.Pierre, and follows the fighters through the ups and downs in their careers in recent years.
Foupa-Pokam, or ‘Professor X’, as he is more commonly known, had compiled a 20-8 record, and a seven fight winning streak prior to signing with the UFC, but his experience failed to help him make an impact in the octagon.
His debut at UFC 97 in April ended in defeat to Denis Kang by unanimous decision, and then, perhaps overly eager to get back to winning ways, he stepped in at short notice to fight Drew McFredries at UFC 98 just a month later. A TKO loss in just 37 seconds brought an abrupt end to his brief stint in the UFC.
In December Professor X headlined the Tachi Palace Fights 2 event, his first fight since his release from the UFC. He faced 23-13 Anthony Ruis who exploited his achilles heel – his ground game – and handed the French striker his third defeat in a row. The loss leaves Foupa-Pokum’s record at 20-11, and any hopes of a quick return to the UFC dashed.
One of the most controversial characters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter, Junie Browning’s bark proved worse than his bite on season 8 of the show as he struggled to make his way to the semi-finals before being eliminated. At the season finale he notched up his first official win for the promotion, putting on a solid striking display against Dave Kaplan. In April he came up against stiffer opposition in Cole Miller, and was submitted in the opening round.
Though he appeared to have mellowed since his time on the TUF show, it became apparent later in the year that all was not well with the fighter. In October he was arrested after overdosing on anti-anxiety drugs and attacking three nurses who attended to him in hospital. On hearing the news the UFC immediately cut the troubled fighter from the roster.
After issue an apology for his actions, Browning returned to fighting in late November, defeating Scott Cornwell (1-1) by triangle choke in the first round at the MMA Big Show event. Post-fight antics which included a foul mouthed speech directed at the fans in attendance suggested that the fighter has not learned from his mistakes, and may be burning any potential bridge back to the UFC.
An experienced campaigner in the IFL, Mike Ciesnolevicz signed with the UFC in early 2009, and was quickly called into action as a late replacement for Justin McCully against Neil Grove at UFC 95. It meant a move up to heavyweight, but he still claimed victory in just 63 seconds by heel hook.
In his next bout in June he was again called in at short notice, this time to fight at light heavyweight against Tomasz Drwal. He failed to make weight, forcing the bout to be scheduled at a 208lb catchweight. After losing to strikes with just two seconds of the first round left he found himself cut from the roster.
Ciesnolevicz, now 17-4, hasn’t fought since, but has earned a black belt in the Milletich Fighting Systems, and a purple belt in BJJ. He also has two fights lined up in smaller promotions in the early months of 2010, both at heavyweight, and told MMAweekly recently that he has his eye on either a return to the UFC, or a crack at Strikeforce if an offer arises.
The Barbarian’ made an immediate impression in his octagon debut in early 2008, throwing David Heath around like a ragdoll while using some unorthadox strikes derived from his background in ‘Jeet Kune Do’, to claim a first round victory. He struggled to maintain that form in his later fights though, and after a unanimous decision loss to Jason Brilz at UFC 96 in July took his UFC record to 2-2, he found himself out of the promotion.
After his release Boetsch began training with Matt Hume, and fought at King Of The Cage in August, defeating Team Quest member Aaron Stark by guillotine choke. The result took his overall record to 9-3.
Boetsch left the UFC on good terms, and he has stated that a few wins might be enough to earn himself a recall to the promotion. There’s certainly still some interest in this fighter among fans, and at 28 years of age we may not have seen the last of him in either the UFC, or perhaps even Strikeforce.
Heavyweight contender Eddie Sanchez fought for over three years in the UFC, starting off with a victory over Mario Neto at UFC 63 in 2006. He then welcomed Mirko Cro Cop to the UFC in early 2007, tasting defeat in the first round. He boosted his record with two victories later that year, but losses to Antoni Hardonk and Justin McCully the following year, taking his UFC record to 3-3, prompted the company to release him.
Bellator Fighting Championships was the first port of call for the heavy handed striker after his release, and he made short work of his opponent Jay White (4-6), knocking him out in just 10 seconds – the fastest KO in the promotions brief history. He has since picked up two additional wins in Mexico and Puerto Rico, taking his record to 11-3.
If he continues to win at his current rate then a return to the UFC can’t be ruled out, but having already lost out to some of the fighters who dwell in the lower regions of the heavyweight division he will have to work hard to prove his worth. A more likely destination may be Bellator who are rumored to be considering a heavyweight tournament for their third season in 2010.
Making his UFC debut in the original Ultimate Fight Night card back in August, 2005, Josh ‘The Dentist’ Neer has fought a total of 10 times for the company. Along the way he has defeated notable fighters like Melvin Guillard, Joe Stevenson, Din Thomas and Mac Danzig. Back to back defeat to Josh Burkman and Nick Diaz in 2006 ended his run in the UFC, before returning in 2008. Having lost three of his last four fights to Nate Diaz, Kurt Pellegrino and Gleison Tibau, ‘The Dentist’ again found himself cut free in October.
Neer begins plotting his return back to the big stage on January 8th when he faces Matt Delanoit (6-8) in the main event of regional promotion MAX Fights ‘Ballroom Brawl IV’ in Iowa.
It’s worth noting that despite an established record of 25-9-1, Neer is still just 26 years old. When given the chance Neer is known to be an exciting fighter, and that will aid his chances of a return to the UFC in the future, despite now holding a losing record of 4-6 inside the octagon. Having done so before he may be happy to once again fight in the smaller promotions until the UFC come calling again. If they don’t then other promotions like Strikeforce and WEC would seem like realistic alternatives.
A highly regarded wrestler, Jake Rosholt found himself in the UFC just five fights into his pro career when the WEC’s middleweight division was dissolved just one fight into his contract. In February of this year he had his promotional debut at UFN 17, losing out to tough opposition in Dan Miller. In August he picked up both his first win in the UFC, and a ‘Submission Of The Night’ award against Chris Leben. After starting strongly against Kendall Grove in November at UFC 106, Rosholt was caught in a triangle choke which ended the fight, and, surprisingly to some, also ended his brief spell with the promotion.
Rosholt could be seen as a classic example of a fighter who found himself on the big show a little too early in his MMA career. Acknowledging this fact the 27 year old has stated his desire to gain more fight experience in the hope of a return to the UFC in the future. He appears to have ruled out signing with a rival promotion for the time being so that it does not hinder his chances of re-signing with the company at a later date.
While he was a little unlucky to be cut from the roster, a stint in the smaller regional promotions may be a good move for Rosholt. With a few wins and some valuable experience under his belt in 2010, a return to the UFC would seem to be an achievable goal.
As established a fighter as any that were dropped in 2009, Karo Parisyan has notched up 12 fights in the octagon since 2003, when he won by Kimura against Dave Strasser at UFC 42. The highly regarded Judo player’s best spell ocurred between 2004-2006 when he went four fights unbeaten in the promotion against Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, Matt Serra and Nick Thompson. He has come undone against some of the top fighters in the welterweight division during his six year tour of duty however, losing to Georges St.Pierre, Diego Sanchez and Thiago Alves.
Parisyan has hit on hard times in the last couple of years, with an addiction to painkillers along with being diagnosed with panic attacks having a major impact on his career. It forced him to pull out of a fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 88 days before the fight, and then caused a victory over Kim Dong-Hyun to be overturned at UFC 94 in January after he tested positive for banned painkillers. After serving a nine month suspension the final straw came at UFC 106 in November when he pulled out of yet another fight (against Dustin Hazelett) at short notice. A furious Dana White told reporters that at the pre-fight press conference that Parisyan would never fight in the UFC again.
Despite holding an impressive winning record of 8-3 (1NC) in the UFC, 18-5 (1nc) overall, Parisyan’s future in the sport remains uncertain. Since being released the fighter has issued a public apology for the problems he has caused and vowed to return to fighting. First though the troubled star has to fight his own inner demons. There have been mixed reports regarding whether he is still addicted to painkillers, and it may be that he requires treatment for his problems before he can move forward in his career.
that aside, unlike many of the other fighters who find themselves out of favor with the UFC, Parisyan doesn’t have to prove his ability, but rather his reliability in other promotions if he wants to mend bridges and negotiate a return in the longer term.
Don’t forget that If you missed it the first time round you can read the first part of the article here.
Article by RossC
Pictures courtesy of sherdog.com