In what continues to be a strange night for the UFC, it apparently gets worse as the LA Times reported that the UFC has cut Yair Rodriguez for refusing proposed bouts against Zabit Magomedsharipov and Ricardo Lamas at UFC 227.
Yair Rodriguez, we hardly knew ya. The 25-year-old Mexican American featherweight prospect was reportedly set to fight fellow young prospect, Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 227 just days ago. It was over a year ago that fans watched in horror as Rodriguez battered the legendary and past his prime B.J. Penn in route to a second round TKO victory. The win was his sixth consecutive under the UFC banner and earned him a shot against Frankie Edgar four months later at UFC 211.
Told by @danawhite that if a fighter like Rodriguez turns down both Ricardo Lamas and Magomedsharipov, in what should have been a compelling battle, after taking a year off, he can take his act elsewhere.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) May 11, 2018
During the buildup to the bout, Rodriguez made waves by speaking on the possibility of becoming a bigger Mexican combat star than Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and the sky was the limit for the flashy former Team Jackson-Wink fighter. It’s strange to think the UFC ran out of patience on someone as promising even after being dismantled by Frankie Edgar a year ago.
We have yet to hear his side of the story, but if he did in fact sit out for a year while declining to fight Lamas and Magomedsharipov and any other names mentioned behind closed doors, then what else could the UFC do? The previously number 10 ranked UFC featherweight is officially on the market and it’ll be interesting to hear when we can expect him back in competition.
It’s worth noting that the UFC has brought back previously cut fighters in the past, but Rodriguez’s case is a rare one. Rodriguez might’ve grown too big for his britches in assuming the promotion would offer him the opponent or the date of his choosing. In an interview with Bloody Elbow in February, Rodriguez mentioned putting a lot of pressure on himself leading up to his last fight. Earlier in the week MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that the Rodriguez-Magomedsharipov bout was not official due to Rodriguez wanting to fight sooner.
UFC wants to book Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez on Aug. 4 in LA, however, Rodriguez wants to fight earlier, I’m told. If that fight doesn’t eventually come to fruition current plan is still to feature Zabit at Staples Center next.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 27, 2018
Rodriguez still has the potential to become one of UFC’s few Hispanic superstars if the bridge isn’t completely burned between both parties. On paper the bout seemed to favor Magomedsharipov over Rodriguez, but it was still a fight that had fans salivating. Let’s hope Magomedsharipov’s replacement opponent is a doozy for the sake of our entertainment.