Today’s news that Yair Rodriguez has been released from his UFC contract has been met with the usual range of reaction, being that its mma and social media, from ‘good, they did the right thing’ to ‘wow big mistake’.
He has apparently been essentially fired for turning down a fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov and previously rejecting a fight with Ricardo Lamas.
From Dana White:”The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy below him in the rankings? He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him. He calls that fight fake news. This is real news.”
Rodriguez is a popular 25 year old from Mexico who was building quite a following. He was winning and looking good doing it. At the start of last year he destroyed the legendary BJ Penn and that earned him a fight with Frankie Edgar but he wasn’t ready for Frankie Edgar and he got manhandled and chewed up.
Now here’s the thing, when young prospects get a set back, you expect their next fight to be very much winnable, to get the confidence back and get the hype moving again but no, they want him to fight Zabit.
So they have these two young exciting talented prospects, from different parts of the world who could bring a lot of different eyes to the product, so what’s the rush to have them fight each other? To build one of them and hold the other back. I don’t get it but who the fuck am I?
People also point out that Conor has sat out for about a year and a half and the Diaz brothers are very picky and Georges St Pierre is back then he’s gone again then he’s back again. Difference is that these people have earned their place and have an assumed value to to company. The UFC don’t seem to put any value in potential. So they promote people who might fight again, sometime, or maybe not, depending. Seems to be a very narrow minded policy but a star is a star and a prospect is a prospect and they get treated differently and that happens in every sport.
So was Yair right to turn down the fight?
Probably not. Or he should have seen that something like this might happen.
As a young up and comer they like you to have that anyone anywhere mindset, to jump in on short notice, to still fight if your opponent misses weight. If it goes well then you’re in uncle Dana’s good books. If not you can take losses or physical damage because you had the balls to step up. If you want a long successful career though you should maybe pick your shots, but you need to be in a position, to be valuable enough, to be able do that.
What happens to Yair? I think he’ll be back in the UFC sooner or later but for now I would imagine its either Bellator or Combate Americas and Bellator pay better.