Dana White stated that there would be “serious cuts” to the UFC roster by the end of the year during a Saturday night press conference. The topic came up when White was asked about the UFC’s recent release of longtime fan favorite Yoel Romero. “It’s not just Yoel, I mean, we’re gonna go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year,” said White. “We’re probably going to have 60 cuts coming up before the first of the (new) year.”
The UFC President cited Romero’s recent record (1-4) and age (44 years-old) as factors in his release. “Our roster is very inflated right now, so, we’re gonna have some big cuts coming before the end of the year. You’re gonna see a lot of names going here,” he continued.
Romero is yet another UFC legend who has recently been shown the door. Anderson Silva was released last month after losing his last three fights. Despite being in the GOAT conversation for MMA, Silva was 1-7 with a no contest since 2012 and is currently 45 years-old.
In addition to the departure of legends in Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva, the UFC has parted ways with several longtime, successful veterans in recent weeks and months. John Dodson, Jussier Formiga, Ben Saunders, James Vick and Evan Dunham were all released in 2020 following multiple years with the promotion.
The recent roster shakeup highlights how the UFC is looking to move to a new era. Fighters from the Pride era are becoming few and far between while the ESPN partnership has expanded the sport’s reach.
The UFC has invested plenty of resources in the Contender’s Series as well. Season 4 of Dana White’s Contender’s series, which concluded a couple weeks ago, yielded a whopping 37 contracts. DWCS alumni are typically on the short list for fill-ins as well, so this number is actually even higher.
The UFC will likely continue to push Contender’s Series and ascending regional prospects as opposed to longtime veterans who no longer have realistic paths to the title. In addition to cost cutting, the UFC would like to continue with the frequency of events in the post-COVID-19 world. To do this requires a larger, albeit greener roster.