Fighting Like Your Job is on the Line Will Keep Your Job in the UFC

February 26, 2013
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Dana White

Dana White

When the news broke on Feb. 20 that the UFC had cut 16 fighters including Top 10 ranked welterweight Jon Fitch, many were shocked.  When UFC president Dana White announced that the Las Vegas-based fight promotion has 100 fighters too many still on its roster, fighters began to evaluate their status and wonder if they were going to be next.

White made it clear following UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche what will keep your position with the company on solid ground: fighting like your job is on the line.

“The cut thing, when I told you there were over a hundred (fighters on the roster that need to be cut), that’s an absolute fact.  There’s going to be a night when we put on a card, there’s going to be 15 guys we cut, and then there’s going to be a night where we put on a card that we don’t cut any of the losers,” said White during the UFC 157 post-fight press conference.

Matt Grice has gone 1-2 in his latest stint in the UFC, but White cited his UFC 157 losing performance against Dennis Bermudez as an example of how to keep your job.

“That’s one of those fights that there’s no loser.  There is no loser in that fight.  When you turn on your TV set and you put down your money, or you buy a ticket, that’s what you expect to show up and see.  As a fight fan, those are the fights you want to watch, and those are the kinds of fights were guys won’t get cut.  It’s pretty easy, pretty simple,” said White.

When Strikeforce closed its doors following its Jan. 12 event, most of the roster was folded over into the UFC.  White has been pleased with the former Strikeforce fighters’ performances in the Octagon and feels their approach could raise the bar for every fighter in the UFC who feels they’re on the bubble of being cut.

“Strikeforce had hungry fighters. These (expletive) guys are hungry.  Most of them hadn’t fought in a year.  They didn’t know what was going on with their careers, couldn’t pay their bills, all this (expletive).  They’re hungry,” said White.  “The Strikeforce guys are going to raise the bar on these other guys.”

White specifically is talking about guys like Bobby Green, Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley, among others.

Exciting performances isn’t everything.  Fighters still have to produce wins.  Winning is always the best way to maintain job security.

“I don’t think we’d ever do that, start cutting guys after wins,” said the UFC president. “We might want to, but we wouldn’t.”

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  • Ron Wheeler

    He doesn’t get that exciting = wild and erratic while skilled equals controlled.

    Fighters. Just kiss Dana’s big white ass. It is the only safe bet.

    • CM Punk Fan

      It would be different if the fights weren’t televised, but if in a fight you are controlled and technical taking no chances and you still lose then you better expect to be cut. At least win if you are going to go the slow technical route.

  • jazzmc23

    What about Machidas perfomance against Dan Henderson,who would pay good money to watch him run for 15 minutes,felt sorry for Hendo.

    • Chris M

      well thats what happens when you got no footwork and one weapon

    • adam1848

      Hendo is an olympic wrestler…he could have taken Machida down, clinched and kneed like Shogun did, cut off the angles and landed combos, worked those leg kicks better, or actually landed one of those wild right hands. It was a boring fight and I’m annoyed by it, but I sure as hell don’t feel bad for Hendo.

  • diazfan209

    It’s counter intuitive to think that having to fight with reckless abandon would be the prerequisite for being a UFC fighter while a handful of current UFC title contenders and champions are strategic gameplanners. Guys like Guida, Condit, Machida, GSP, and Jones are tactical fighters with ‘stick to the gameplan’ attitudes, which I personally feel makes a boring fight, but their gameplan works well for them and keeps them on top. It’s a competition and if their gameplan works, it’s a no-brainer for them to stay with it.

    Saying, “You have to fight a certain way or you’re out of this promotion” shows exactly why the UFC is not the standard for MMA. There is no ‘NFL’, ‘NBA’, ‘NHL’ of MMA yet because of Dana White.

    Until the promotion operates from a logical competitive standpoint, it’s not possible for the UFC to truly be the standard of MMA because the promotion currently operates based on Dana White’s subjective perspectives. He dictates how the UFC’s competition for championships happens, usually based on his personal interests and biases.

    The UFC is exciting and does have some of the P4P best fighters on the planet, but it needs to lose the Dana White whirlwind of misdirection in order to gain the type of integrity and proper bracket ranking that will actually make it the highest standard for the sport of MMA.

    • Sgt. Pepper

      I personally don’t like Jones, but I think it’s unfair to put him among the guys that “play it safe”. He always finishes his fights and he’s exciting to watch

    • dathump

      Its not the chess match, technical style of fighting Dana is talking about, Its not the guy on top who lays and prays because thats his game plan, Its the guy on the bottom who hold on and makes no effort to stand back up. its the guy who gasses early in round 2. He is saying don’t phone it in. he’s saying hey, your a striker who has known for 3 months you are facing a wrestler, learn some takedown defence, make it look like you are trying to get up. show some heart.

  • Milosc

    MMA is now descending into ‘entertainment’

    Money should not be the determining factor in everything

    • Cesarhquintero

      This just shows that UFC not only has it blown into a big company but we can see how talented these guys are getting now these days now it has evolved just like the Nba and NFL so I hope this sport doesn’t get crucial and end up being banned like it has before I mean look at Uriah hall did that one dude nasty and had him looking for air but lets see what happens

    • canguy

      you need to get your head out of the ideal world and put it into the real world. You’re like those guys that suggest a solution to a problem that is totally unrealistic. Like your group gets rejected for 2 million in funding and you say let’s put a jar out on a table and collect donations.

      Do you think the UFC is a non-profit organization? Do you think these guys who say they’d fight for free would actually fight for free if they weren’t getting paid? NO! They’d be responsible adults and get a job to feed their children and they wouldn’t risk that job by fighting for free because their kids would have no food. Wake up. Why doesn’t AS want to fight Weidman? because he gets PPV buys and he can fight Sonnen and literally make at least 5x more. Why don’t you quit your job and do the same job for 5x less pay?

  • lowlb

    it sucks to hear about the ufc contributing to unemployment when they are making plenty of $$. These guy (fighters) give up the best years of their lives and then.. I doubt they’re taking night classes for a 2nd career. Many have complained about the ufc’s employment tactics. now they have 100 too many fighters.. What a great American company the UFC is.