UFC Cuts Continue: Examining The Trend

Lavar JohnsonThe UFC made a splash in February when they cut more than a dozen fighters from their roster, including erstwhile top contender Jon Fitch. UFC President Dana White stated that in managing nearly 500 contracts, more cuts were inevitable and these past two weeks the ax has fallen repeatedly, most notably on Heavyweight Lavar Johnson. Caros Fodor, Josh Neer, Brock Jardine and Jon Manley will all be joining him in MMA’s unemployment line. Why bring this up here? Several of the sportsbooks out there were scrambling to put up lines on who would be cut after UFC 158. With dozens of cuts still to come, odds on who survives and who gets cut could become a staple for prop bettors moving forward. The Johnson case is an interesting one. He is a mid-level performer with a crowd pleasing stand up style when he is on, but the negatives seemed to have just piled up. Failing a test for elevated testosterone was only the straw that broke the camel’s back. Even with the failed drug test, would Johnson have been cut if he had delivered another scintillating KO? As a point of comparison, Alex Caceres was merely suspended following his positive test for marijuana metabolites after an incredibly close decision victory. Unfortunately for Johnson, he was coming off a weak performance against Brendan Schaub, one where he was exposed as a limited fighter again. Would Johnson have been cut if he showed improvement, or had a higher ceiling of potential? Johnson made $29,000 for his last fight, which is well above the entry level 8 and 8 ($8,000 to show, $8,000 to win) contract. Johnson scored two solid wins to start his UFC career, which moved him up the payscale. Would Johnson have been cut if he made less money? The other interesting cut was Caros Fodor. Fodor dropped an extremely close split decision to Sam Stout, which many felt he won, but was released regardless. Does this indicate that the former Strikeforce fighters coming over to the UFC have a shorter leash to work with? One would imagine that Fodor’s in-cage performance earned him a second shot in the Octagon, but in this climate of cuts nothing is certain. There are a lot of factors that need to be looked at with each case. For example, what are the chances that Forrest Griffin lasts the year? How about Takanori Gomi? Both are certainly higher profile fighters than Johnson and Fodor, but both have higher end paychecks and neither has really met expectations in recent outings. Griffin too, has the added negative that he appears to have gotten under Dana White’s skin, and don’t think for a minute that if Dana likes them or not has no effect on a fighter’s place on the roster. There is a lot to look at when examining the UFC’s roster trimming, as fighters can be cut based on performance, cost, drug tests and a myriad of other issues. As a bettor, all I can say is hopefully the books keep the UFC cut lines coming.

Written by Miguel

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