When word came yesterday that Yushin Okami had been let go by the UFC, it’s safe to say more than a few thousand eyebrows were likely raised around the MMA world. Sure, Okami’s propensity to win fights through his grinding top game wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but we are talking about a man who’s gone 13-5 in the Octagon. That’s not easy. Not only that, but the men who defeated “Thunder” were far from tomato cans, as his losses came again Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen, Tim Boetsch, Anderson Silva and most recently “Jacare” Souza.
So what was the rationale behind the decision to cut the UFC’s #6 ranked middleweight loose? In a follow up report with Yahoo.com, UFC boss man Dana White relayed the following:
“He’s been with us forever,” White said about Okami. “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.”
With the loss to “Jacare”, Okami certainly would have had to string quite a few wins together to get back into title contention. If you’re wondering whether money could have played a factor, Okami made $84 K (including $42 grand in win bonus) for his UD victory over Alan Belcher at UFC 155 last December. Not surprisingly, World Series of Fighting President Ray Sefo has already relayed that they’re in talks with “Thunder.”
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