by Ken Pishna
It was highly speculated, but now it is official. Number one contender Matt Lindland, highly regarded as one of the top two or three middleweight fighters in the world, was released from his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As first reported by Sherdog’s Josh Gross, the termination stems from the relationship between Lindland and one of his sponsors, Sportsbook.com. Apparently, Lindland wearing a Sportsbook.com t-shirt at the UFC 54: Boiling Point weigh-ins was considered a conflict of interest and possibly a breach of his contract.
Lindland has an overall record of 15-3 in mixed martial arts competition and 9-3 under the UFC banner. At the post fight press conference of UFC 52, UFC President Dana White promised him a shot at the middleweight title. Before being terminated, it was believed by most that Lindland’s next fight was to be against current champion Rich Franklin.