If you thought the release of multiple-time middleweight title contender Yoel Romero a few days ago was surprising then brace yourself for more major cuts to the UFC’s roster before the year is out according to Dana White.
“It’s not just Yoel,” White cautioned after UFC On ESPN 19 on Saturday night. “We’re going to go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year. We’re probably going to have 60 cuts before the first of the year. Yoel has lost four of his last five. He’s 44 years old.
“Our roster is very inflated right now. We’re going to have some big cuts coming before the end of the year. You’re going to see a lot of names going here in the next several weeks.”
In some ways it is not surprising that the UFC has to cut it’s costs after an exceptionally difficult year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has meant they have been unable to have fans in attendance since back in March.
However, as things have panned out the UFC have actually implemented a more grueling schedule than ever before during the crisis, putting on weekly events with very few breaks inbetween.
Furthermore, they have also went in hard on Contender Series shows during the week, and that may now be having a direct impact on their decision to make cuts as they have been signing up multiple fighters to UFC contracts from every one of those shows.
Those events have been a good breeding ground for new emerging talent, but if that now comes at the expense of top-flight established stars like Romero being cut to make room for them rather than lower echelon fighters then fans may quickly become unsettled with the direction the company is heading in.
Even with their currently over-inflated roster the UFC’s recent cards have started to clearly become more watered down than in the past in terms of star-power, and with the promotion’s 2021 schedule already filling up rapidly with more weekly shows (including four in the space of two weeks beginning on January 16th), the year ahead could prove to be another very challenging one for the UFC’s overworked matchmakers.