In a somewhat surprising move, it’s been revealed that Ben ‘Killa B’ Saunders is no longer under contract with the UFC.
The 33 year-old was coming off a loss to Patrick Cote by TKO at UFC Fight Night 81 in January, but it’s the fact that Saunders had recorded three wins in a row prior to that in the Octagon that makes this news so surprising.
Saunders returned to the UFC after a stint in Bellator in the summer of 2014 and racked up wins over Chris Heatherly, Joe Riggs and Kenny Robertson, giving himself what appeared to be a solid footing in the welterweight division.
So what went wrong?
Since the news emerged, Saunders has posted a lengthy explanation on The Underground (UG) forum explaining his side of the story – or at least part of it.
By the sounds of things, Saunders was going through some tough times in his personal life, with both of his grandparents passing away in a relatively short space of time, while he was also dealing with management and training camp issues as well.
Saunders stops short of explaining all the gory details, but it seems as if needed some time out to figure things out, but by the time he did so his place on the roster had been taken by someone else.
It seems there is some light at the end of the tunnel though as Saunders almost landed a short notice fight at UFC 202 later this month, but that had to be scrapped as the promotion are now firmly enforcing a rule that fighters have to be tested by USADA For four months prior to being able to fight.
Saunders isn’t sure what will happen now, but hopefully he’ll get a chance to return to action in the UFC at a later date.
In the mean time, check out his full explanation below.
“First I want to thank all my fans, and all the MMA fighting enthusiasts who are interested in knowing what is going on. I am sure the whole story will eventually come out at the right time, but as of right now, the only thing I can really say is this is all a combination of “Unfortunate Circumstance” and for that reason I will just be a man and take all the fault. I did not get cut by the UFC.
A quick summary without getting into any details, I fought out my contract. I did not hold out looking for more money, in fact I didn’t even ask to hear what the UFC offered my management on the new contract they sent over to them. Truth is, I was going through a really hard time with practically every aspect of my life.
I was dealing with Training camp issues that came up which was unexpected, combined with management issues, and on top of that personal family issues. I had my grandfather pass away right before my last training camp, and then my grandmother passed away about 3 weeks before my last fight. Needless to say I was not in the right state of mind, and physically, and mentally had a too much going on, which I tried to fight through hoping it would help keep me sane and my emotions in check by staying busy.
Combine that with the fact that I was on a 3 fight win streak and the pressures of trying to make the last fight on my contract a memorable one. It all just was an unfortunate cluster fuck, with everyone and their mom, having different opinions and ideas of what should and should not happen. As stupid as it may sound, I felt lost and alone, which is an awful place to be in general, let alone while trying to compete at the highest level.
I have found out the hard way in the past that sometimes the reality of life isn’t something that people can understand, so speaking about all the issues one might be going through, tends to just make things worse than better. So I preferred to keep silent and try to just work through everything myself in my own way. It’s been a non stop roller coaster ride, but one I have voluntarily committed to. So once again this is why I say it is a lot of unfortunate circumstances combined with decisions I made, so I take full responsibility for where I am now.
Needless to say, I had a lot of shit to figure out, fix, and resolve before getting back in that cage. As I feel I have much to make up to all the MMA fans out their for my terrible and lack luster performance last fight. I did not want to disappoint the fans or myself, by not being ready to give anything but a spectacular action packed performance which I want to be known for.
Fixing all of these aspects of my personal life and my career was not an easy task, but once I finally felt confident and had my mind right again, it was unfortunately too late. UFC had filled my spot on their limited roster, which I completely understood. Once again, they don’t know anything about any of this going on in my life, and I would imagine just considered my silence a form of resignation.
To UFC and Joe Silva’s defense as well, I tried to jump on the UFC 202 card as a short notice 2 week replacement. Joe Silva was all about it, as long as I could make weight and get medicals done in time. Which I could have and was on top of. Unfortunately after the Brock Lesnar fiasco with USADA. There is now apparently a 4 month minimum in which I would have to be under the USADA testing pool in order to be allowed to fight with them again I believe.
I don’t know the logistics, or all the details exactly, but if it is a ruling to keep our sport clean and safe, then I respect the decision 100%. But once again I am just forced to deal with another “Unfortunate Circumstance” in my life, and know that I need to not focus on what I can’t change or do, and just focus on what I can. Like the Dalai Lama says “The meaning of Life is Happiness” and I believe that completely. So I am just gonna keep doing me no matter what struggles life may throw at me. Trying my best to do what makes me Happy in life.
I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know and believe that when I am focused, and emotionally intact, in shape, and well prepared, I have the tools to beat anyone in the world at my weight class. I have a very unique and deadly skill set, that would give anyone in the top 10 fits with the right preparations.
I want to thank Joe Silva for really fighting for me while dealing with the USADA issue for UFC 202, as I know he fought hard to try and get me the green light to make my return. It sucks it didn’t happen, but it is what it is.
I also truly want to thank Eddie Bravo, all his 10th Planet Samurai and Antoni Hardonk and his team for all the help they gave me leading into my last fight. I tried to create a fight camp with them, and we all worked very hard. I was way more depressed about seeing all our/their hard work falter come fight night, but they really are amazing human beings who cared tremendously about me and my career. Without their help I probably would have just bowed out completely from taking that fight at the time. The 2 of them live on the complete opposite side of the country from me, yet they opened their doors for me, and I am forever grateful.
Thank you again to all my fans, and the whole MMA community for being AWESOME! You guys always make my day, and help this crazy life as a pro fighter way more enjoyable. Keep supporting the greatest sport in existence. As I know we have the best fan base of any sport ever in my opinion. :)”