The world leader in MMA is clearing house. UFC President Dana White commented in December 2020, after the release of middleweight title contender Yoel Romero, around 60 fighters would be cut before 2021.
“We’re gonna go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year,” White said. “Probably gonna have 60 cuts coming up before the first of the year. … Our roster is very inflated right now. We’re gonna have some big cuts coming before the end of the year. You’re gonna see a lot of names going here in the next couple of weeks.”
News broke today that Antonio Carlos Junior, Sarah Moras, and more are also gone. Carlos Junior and Moras had been with the UFC since 2014. Carlos Junior won the Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 while Moras would be submitted by Juliana Peña in the TUF 18 semifinals.
Carlos Junior most recently fought at UFC 257 against Brad Tavares, losing by decision for his third consecutive defeat following five straight wins. Vanessa Melo defeated Moras by decision at UFC on ABC: Holloway vs. Kattar. Moras had just three wins in nine UFC bouts with her most recent being a TKO victory over Liana Jojua at UFC 242.
At the time of this writing, other fighters released include Spike Carlyle, Markus Perez, Vinicius Moreira, Anthony Ivy, Carlton Minus, Peter Barrett, Jacob Kilburn, Cole Williams, and Rhys McKee according to ESPN.
While White has said previously cuts are made every event, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role. He said during the UFC on ESPN+ 9 media scrum in May, “If you look at these other sports right now, ‘Are we gonna go or are we not gonna go? The big problem for all sports right now, me, them, is the gate. We’ll lose over $100 million dollars this year. Over $100 million. It would be much easier for me to sit back and say, ‘Let’s wait this thing out.’ Waiting this thing out is a good option for a lot of people right now because there’s no gate.”
White also said in December the UFC’s roster was over-inflated. MMAJunkie’s John Morgan wrote on December 7, 2020, the roster totaled 659 fighters. It appears this situation is ongoing. The Scrap will provide updated information as it becomes available.