Jon FitchThe Ultimate Fighting Championship released a bevvy of fighters following this past weekend’s UFC on Fuel TV 7, with several prominent names among them.

Perhaps the most surprising among the 16 fighters released was Jon Fitch, who is widely considered a Top 10 welterweight, and currently sits at No. 9 in the official UFC Fighter Rankings.

The other fighters that received their walking papers, according to an MMAFighting.com report citing UFC president Dana White, include: Terry Etim, Ulysses Gomez, Josh Grispi, Jay Hieron, C.J. Keith, Vladimir Matyushenko, Che Mills, Wagner Prado, Mike Russow, Jorge Santiago, Paul Sass, Mike Stumpf, Motonobu Tezuka, Simeon Thoresen, and Jacob Volkmann.

Fitch has a 24-5-1 overall professional record and is 14-3-1 in the Octagon. He is 1-2-1 in his last four fights, but that victory was over Erick Silva in October in a Fight of the Night performance that was also considered by many to vie for Fight of the Year honors.

Several of the other fighters released were maybe considered borderline, but not extremely surprising, especially considering the current state of the UFC roster.

The promotion is operating more events than ever, but just assimilated nearly the entire Strikeforce roster upon that promotion’s closure. Doing so bumped the UFC’s total number of fighters under contract into the neighborhood of 500.

Several fighters without scheduled bouts that MMAWeekly.com spoke with over the past few weeks said that they were just waiting for a phone call, keeping themselves at the ready in case someone got injured, because they were told that there just weren’t enough spots open to keep everyone scheduled.

There heat is always on fighters to perform, but the temperature of fire has gone up by a few degrees as the UFC roster is busting at the seams.

UFC officials had not yet responded to a request for comment on the roster moves at the time of publication.

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