It’s hard to imagine a fighter becoming untouchable after being released from the UFC, but that’s the unenviable position that welterweight Kenny Robertson currently sits in.
Debuting in the UFC with a 10-0 record, Robertson was a highly touted prospect who had fought in several promotions including Bellator Fighting Championships.
According to Robertson’s manager Nick Thompson, he was a casualty of the merger between the UFC and WEC because of how many fighters were on the roster at the time.
“He was cut by the UFC because of the WEC merger, prior to Strikeforce, as you know they had an overflow and were cutting people. In fact, Joe Silva told me ‘I don’t want to cut this guy, but it would be a year till he fought if he stays with us.’ So we figured they cut him, no big deal, we’ll get him a few wins and back in (the UFC),” Thompson explained to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday.
The problem thus far has been finding the few fights for him to get wins.
Thompson says that when the offers come in, once the opponent finds out that it’s Kenny Robertson’s name on the other end of the bout agreement, they haven’t been quick to accept any longer.
“We got a couple of fight offers, somebody will call me looking for a 170lber, and I’m like we’ve got Kenny Robertson, we’ll take it for the money they’ve offered so we’re not arguing about anything like that, then the opponent will say ‘nope’,” Thompson said.
Robertson is running into a similar issue that plagued former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ competitor Eliot Marshall when he was released from the UFC.
Marshall was 3-1 in the UFC, but released after a loss to Vladdy Matyushenko. After that time, it became painfully obvious to the Colorado fighter that despite his UFC credentials, other opponents weren’t jumping at the chance to face him or become a stepping stone on his way to making it back to the Octagon.
Robertson is walking very much the same path.
It’s now been almost six months since Robertson stepped foot in the cage or ring with an opponent standing across from him. Thompson continues to burn up the phone lines waiting for a welterweight and promotion who are willing to face his fighter, but right now the opponents aren’t lining up.
“Good question,” Thompson answered when asked what’s the next step. “Once we get someone that will fight him, it will be easier to get him more and more fights. But right now nobody wants to bring him in to fight a hometown guy. The end goal is to go back to the UFC.”
While Robertson is far from holding a sign that says ‘will fight for food’, he wants to get back to the UFC and the only way to do that is to face top competition outside the Octagon and make sure matchmaker Joe Silva sees it.
The only problem so far is finding that first opponent to step up and accept a fight.