UFC releases #6 middleweight Yushin Okami

Saturday, September 28, 2013

In a baffling move, the UFC has released middleweight Yushin Okami, 32, after a single loss.

While Okami was knocked out by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in his last fight, he won the three previous matches, to Buddy Roberts, Alan Belcher, and Hector Lombard. Lombard remains with the UFC, despite losing two of his three fights in the UFC, and a far, far higher price tag.

Okami is currently listed by the UFC as the #6 contender on the roster:
Champion : Chris Weidman
1. Anderson Silva
2. Vitor Belfort
3. Ronaldo Souza
4. Michael Bisping
5. Mark Munoz
6. Yushin Okami
7. Luke Rockhold
8. Francis Carmont
9. Costa Philippou
10. Chael Sonnen

Once called “the best fighter to ever come out of Japan” by UFC president Dana White, Okami entered the organization in 2006, and leaves with an impressive 13-5 record. Of his 18 fights, 10 ended by decision, which may have factored into the calculation.

A fan site from the UK reached out to White for an explanation, and received several replies.

MA UK @MMA__UK
just out of curiosity why did you cut Yushin Okami?

Dana White @danawhite
our roster is packed

MA UK @MMA__UK
Surely if that’s the case then others in the MW division who aren’t in the top 10 should be cut ahead of Okami?

Dana White @danawhite
yup u will see people get cut and come back. Always been that way

MA UK @MMA__UK
any room for Okami to come back if he gets some some wins elsewhere?

Dana White @danawhite
always

White expanded on the remarks with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole.

“He’s been with us forever,” said White. “He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something.

“But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

In addition to Okami, four other fighters were released:
Mike Ricci
Yuri Villefort
Joao Zeferino
Keith Wisniewski

Okami is reportedly in talks with the WSoF.

What do you think UG? Should the UFC have given Okami more than a single loss before releasing him? If not, why? And who is Okami likely to sign with? How do you think Rumble Johnson vs Yushin Okami in WSoF would go?