by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Five years, eleven fights, and two titles after joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it appears that Tim Sylvia is leaving the Octagon.
Sylvia hinted at the departure on his website’s blog this Wednesday, stating, “I’ve got a couple of big announcements to make about my career.”
He had one fight left on his current contract following a losing title bid against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81. A source close to the negotiations confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that Sylvia was given his leave last week. The divorce was made final early this week.
Sylvia’s manager, Monte Cox, declined to confirm the exit and would not comment on his fighter’s status.
The Bangor, Maine native made his UFC debut on September 27, 2002, defeating Wesley Correira by TKO at UFC 39: “The Warriors Return.” Since defeating Ricco Rodriguez for the heavyweight title at UFC 41, Sylvia was a constant fixture at the top of the division, fighting for the belt on eight separate occasions.
Sylvia’s tenure with the UFC was not always harmonious. After two lackluster title defenses at UFC 61 and 65, Sylvia strained his relationship with fans and the UFC brass. Long outspoken about the UFC’s business decisions, he attacked former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar’s pay scale and hinted at his willingness to leave following UFC 81.
“I want to stay with the UFC but I am going to go where the money is right now,” Sylvia wrote on his website. “Brock is making more money then me [and] that has to change. In case [you] didn’t know my manager runs M1 so I have a pretty good in so we will see what happens in the next few months.”
Since Fedor Emelianenko’s exit from M-1, the organization is without marquee talent. Despite Sylvia’s hot/cold relationship with fans, Cox is likely to be first in line for his services.