dana-white-107.jpgRIO DE JANEIRO – In much the same way as veteran and former title challenger Jon Fitch before him, Yushin Okami had become a “gatekeeper” in the UFC, and it was time for him to go.

That’s how UFC President Dana White on Sunday characterized the promotion’s decision to part ways with the Japanese fighter this past week, a little more than two years after he fought for the middleweight title.

Okami (29-8 MMA, 13-5 UFC) left on a loss, a first-round TKO against Ronaldo Souza earlier this month in “Jacare’s” home country of Brazil. But prior to that, he had won three straight fights.

Earlier this year, the UFC released Fitch (24-6-1) after a loss to Demian Maia at UFC 156, a decision that at the time was looked at as one of the most surprising UFC cuts in history, given Fitch was a former title challenger in the welterweight division and was 14-3-1 with the promotion. Fitch went on to sign with World Series of Fighting, and in June was choked unconscious in 41 seconds by Josh Burkman in his promotional debut.

With Fitch, White said money played a part. The veteran made a disclosed $66,000 for his loss to Maia, a number that would have doubled with a win. And White said paying that kind of money for someone whose previous four fights featured just one win, two losses and a draw didn’t make much sense.

But in the case of Okami, White on Sunday, speaking to a small group of reporters following a “World Tour” stop for UFC 168 in Rio de Janeiro, said money wasn’t a factor. But like Fitch, “gatekeeper” status was.

“It was the same thing when we were talking about (Fitch). You have to look at a guy,” White said. “Yushin Okami’s been there forever, and I’ve said many times I have nothing but respect for Yushin Okami. I think he’s one of the best Japanese fighters ever. But a guy gets to a point where he becomes the gatekeeper, and they start to go on a skid.”

White, of course, no stranger to Monday morning quarterbacking and criticism from fans and media members, knew there would be some controversy with the Fitch release, just as he knew there might be with Okami.

“When I said this about Jon Fitch, all these f—ing idiot experts on the Internet and all over Twitter and everywhere else (were upset) – these guys are big experts, yet I’ve been doing this for 13 years,” White said.

With Fitch, White’s argument that the fighter’s skills may be winding down were in some ways validated with his loss to Burkman. With Okami, time will have to tell. The fighter has not announced a new deal elsewhere, though the Las Vegas-based WSOF has indicated interest in signing him.

White didn’t rule out the opportunity for Okami, who is 32, to fight his way back into the UFC.

“It’s time for Yushin Okami to go out and test himself outside the UFC, get some wins and maybe come back, and it’s time for some other guys to fight in that division,” White said. “Yushin Okami’s had every opportunity in the world, taking on all the best. He even got a title shot and didn’t win. It is what it is. It’s no different than the NFL, soccer or any other sport. There comes a time when a team moves on and does other things, no matter where the guy ranks.”

Okami is ranked No. 7 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie.com MMA middleweight rankings.

His UFC career features just one loss to a fighter who has not held or fought for a major title, and in that fight, a TKO loss to Tim Boetsch, he dominated the first 10 minutes before getting caught early in the third round in the UFC’s return to his home country of Japan.

Along with Boetsch, Okami’s losses in the past nine years are to Jake Shields, who challenged for a UFC title and held the Strikeforce title, at a Rumble on the Rock event; a decision loss to Rich Franklin in a UFC title eliminator; a loss to two-division title challenger Chael Sonnen; a loss to Anderson Silva for the middleweight title; and the loss to “Jacare,” a former Strikeforce champ, earlier this month.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Dana White)

view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Undersized, Underrated, Underappreciated, Frankie Edgar May Fight & Win Forever

  • 25 days ago
  • 26 views

Mark Henry tells a story about Frankie Edgar that explains the ferocity of his competitiveness. Often in the week before fights, Henry—Edgar’s boxing coach—hosts a cookout at his house. This was one read news >>

Lorenzo Fertitta on Rumored UFC Sale: ‘There’s Nothing to Report’

  • 24 days ago
  • 12 views

Company CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White continue to deny that the UFC has been sold. read news >>

Dana White on Jon Jones UFC 200 Removal: ‘This is devastating to Daniel Cormier’

  • 23 days ago
  • 292 views

While the UFC moved swiftly to elevate Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt to the UFC 200 main event, Dana White held out hope to get Daniel Cormier another fight. read news >>

Dana White Has 'Zero' Conor McGregor Regrets After Jon Jones' UFC 200 Removal

  • 23 days ago
  • 112 views

UFC president Dana White insisted he has no regrets about pulling Conor McGregor from the UFC 200 card, despite the headline bout for Saturday's Las Vegas event being removed after Jon Jones' potenti read news >>

Dana White Has ‘Zero’ Regret Pulling Conor McGregor from UFC 200

  • 23 days ago
  • 24 views

With Jon Jones having to be pull out with just three days left from UFC 200, one might think Dana White may have some regret in choosing to pull Conor McGregor. read news >>

Dana White: ‘Daniel Cormier Will Fight at UFC 200'

  • 23 days ago
  • 80 views

UFC president Dana White on Thursday declared Daniel Cormier will fight at UFC 200. Who will he face? read news >>

UFC Veteran Mike Pyle Isn't Ready to Go Fishing Just Yet. Wait, Yes He Is

  • 23 days ago
  • 8 views

Gone fishin'. Somewhere on the list of retiree cliches, somewhere above tapioca but just below shuffleboard, lies fishing. At this point, Mike Pyle has probably heard them all. With his 41st birthday read news >>

UFC 200 Embedded, Episode 5: Dana White Drops the Jon Jones Bomb on Daniel Cormier

  • 23 days ago
  • 26 views

On Episode 5 of UFC 200 Embedded, UFC president Dana White informs light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier that Jon Jones is out of the title fight. read news >>

VIDEO: Anderson Silva and Dana White Explain Making the Fight with Daniel Cormier

  • 22 days ago
  • 23 views

UFC president Dana White and Anderson Silva talk about how it came about that Silva is stepping in to fight Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. read news >>

Dana White Discusses Jon Jones in Interview with Colin Cowherd

  • 22 days ago
  • 76 views

Jon Jones was removed from UFC 200 after the United States Anti-Doping Agency informed him of a possible doping violation on Wednesday, and UFC President Dana White was not thrilled with the untimely read news >>