by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Being released from the UFC is never the call a fighter wants after a tough loss.
It’s even tougher when you’re 3-1 in the UFC, and the only loss was a split decision to a fighter who then moved on to fight in the main event of an upcoming show.
Eliot Marshall has traveled down that very road following a loss to Vladimir Matyushenko in March, receiving his walking papers after the fight.
Since his time on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, Marshall had been fairly successful in the Octagon, picking up wins over fighters like Vinny Magalhaes and Jason Brilz, but a close fight with Matyushenko that resulted in a loss was enough for the UFC to cut ties with him.
“I don’t think I deserved to get released either, but I don’t get to run the show,” Marshall told MMAWeekly Radio. “I thought it was a little unjust. I think I kept getting the same type fighter, just a little bit better of that type fighter. My game plan was winning, then I happened to lose a split decision to Vladdy.”
What ultimately cost Marshall, according to the Colorado fighter, was a style that didn’t fit the mold for the UFC, but he’s just not sure which was more important: being exciting or being a winner?
“They said I wasn’t aggressive enough. They said I fought with too much caution,” Marshall commented. “What am I going to do with Vladdy? I’m going to go forward crazy aggressive, and let him take me down and stand over top of me like he did with the one takedown, or the two? The one I slipped off the kick, and the other one he took me down, and he just stood there above me. I’m going to keep doing that?”
While the pink slip was hard to accept, Marshall was ready for the challenge to do all the necessary things to get back to the UFC. He began fielding offers for fights, and was a finalist to step into the Dream Light Heavyweight Grand Prix to face Gegard Mousasi.
“Mousasi, that’s a great fight. I’m not saying I’d whoop his ass. He’s a top five, ten guy in the world, but it’s stylistically a very good fight. (Expletive) going to go down. I was going to take it on two weeks (notice),” said Marshall.
“I would have loved to fight Mousasi.”
In the end, fellow former UFC fighter Jake O’Brien got the chance to fight Mousasi, and again Marshall was on the shelf.
The one time Ring of Fire champion says at this point it’s not about financial security, and it’s not about proving a point. It’s about fighting, and fighting the right people to get back into the UFC.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to do, I just have to get someone to take a fight,” Marshall commented. “No one wants to take the fight, no one thinks it’s a good idea. It’s kind of frustrating.”
Marshall and his manager, Jason Genet, have tried on several occasions to get fights with other top light heavyweights outside the UFC, but haven’t had one accept yet. The new father says that he won’t call anybody out, but the offers have been on the table, and no one has been willing to sign.
“I guess most of the guys that get kicked out of the UFC get their ass kicked on the way out. Well, I didn’t get my ass kicked by anybody,” said Marshall. “I think the general consensus is I got screwed. They’re like, ‘that’s not the best fight, you went 3-1 and lost a split decision’ to I don’t know, I’d say Vladdy’s top 15, some people have him top 10.
“I’m not going to name names and call people out, but we’ve had some offers out there and about five or six guys turned them down.”
Believing that it’s his job to work his way back to the UFC, Marshall is welcome to any top challenger that is willing to meet him. For now though, it’s unfortunately an even longer version of the waiting game.