Members of the media panel that vote on the rankings – including MMAWeekly.com managing editor Ken Pishna and associate editor Jeff Cain – were inexplicably informed early Monday morning that Munoz was being removed from the UFC middleweight rankings at the behest of the promotion. The change is set to take effect with the next update cycle, which is Monday afternoon.
A UFC official later informed MMAWeekly.com that, “Mark is no longer under contract at this time. However, we are negotiating towards a new agreement.”
The final fight on Munoz’s contract was his recent bout on May 31 against Gegard Mousasi at UFC Berlin.
Munoz lost the bout via a first-round submission. Mousasi dominated the fight, stuffing Munoz’s takedown attempts, before applying a rear naked choke that finished the fight at the three-minute-57-second mark.
As far as we are aware, this is the first time the UFC has immediately removed a fighter due to his contract running out, even though they are still negotiating towards a new agreement. They did, however, recently removed Nick and Nate Diaz, as well as TJ Grant, due to inactivity.
Munoz suffered a knee injury during the Mousasi fight, but provided a recent update, saying that he was still planning on returning to the UFC after it heals.
“I was very disappointed with my performance,” he said. “After my injuries to my knee (grade 3 tear in my MCL and strained ACL) heal… I look forward to getting back in the Octagon and putting on a better show for the fans.”
This doesn’t mean that Munoz won’t be back to the UFC, but it does set a precedent for the promotion’s official rankings that may keep other fighters with completed contracts out until a successful negotiation is completed.