Slim Trabelsi and 4 of the fastest UFC releases in history

toney-gracie
James Toney vs. Randy Couture (left) and Roger Gracie vs. Tim Kennedy (right)

Getting signed by the UFC is the goal of most professional MMA fighters. While the promotion is currently battling against a rising tide of fighter pay issues, the wealthiest UFC fighters earn more money than the most well-paid mixed martial artists from other organizations.

Furthermore, fighters who are eager to be recognized as the greatest mixed martial artists across the globe can only do so by competing in the UFC. Unfortunately, not every fighter who signs with the promotion achieves their goals.

Only mixed martial artists with the right combination of natural talent and work ethic reach the pinnacle of the sport. Countless other fighters have tumbled down the order as they racked up losses en route to being cut from the promotion.

However, not every fighter is so lucky. Some mixed martial artists are sent packing from the roster almost as soon as they join the promotion. This list explores 5 of the fastest releases in UFC history.


#5. James Toney

Former world champion boxer James Toney remains one of the few pugilists who was willing to step inside the octagon in contrast to the recent trend of MMA fighters stepping inside the squared circle. In 2010, there was a debate about whether boxing was better than MMA and vice versa.

At UFC 108, James Toney was in attendance. His presence at the event eventually led to talks of a potential MMA bout. According to Toney, he was capable of defeating anyone due to the strength of his boxing skill-set. This wasn't an empty boast as he possesses a 77-10 record in the boxing ring. Thus, a matchup between him and MMA legend Randy Couture was booked.

Within three minutes of the 1st round, James Toney suffered a takedown and surrendered to an arm-triangle choke by Randy Couture. Soon afterwards, the former heavyweight boxer was released from the promotion.

His time at the promotion lasted one fight as Dana White subsequently admitted that booking the matchup in the first place was a poorly conceived idea.


#4. Askar Mozharov

Ukrainian light heavyweight journeyman Askar Mozharov gained notoriety months ago for the striking resemblance his tattoos bear to Conor McGregor's own. Both fighters sport a gorilla chest tattoo with certain aesthetic similarities in terms of color and hue. But that is where the similarities between the two men end.

'The Notorious' achieved global superstardom as he captured two UFC titles in the lightweight and featherweight divisions. Meanwhile, Askar Mozharov gained further infamy for allegedly faking his MMA record. An investigation quickly dismantled his initial 25-7 record.

Instead, it was altered to a 19-13 record after his TKO loss to Alonzo Menifield on his UFC debut. Another change took place that saw his record reduced to 15-14, which quickly led to the promotion releasing Askar Mozharov after only one fight.


#3. Roger Gracie

The Gracie family is a dynasty of MMA royalty. The complexion of MMA would have been different had Royce Gracie not taken part in the first UFC event decades ago. Alas, despite Royce Gracie's many triumphs in the promotion's first four tournaments, very few Gracies followed in his footsteps in the UFC.

Years later, that would change when Roger Gracie signed with the promotion. Like many Strikeforce fighters at the time, his contract came into Zuffa's ownership after a company takeover. With only one fight left on his contract, Roger Gracie was booked to face Tim Kennedy in a middleweight bout for his promotional debut.

Unfortunately, Gracie lost the fight via uninamous decision. It's safe to assume that his performance did little to impress the UFC brass as they opted against renewing his contract after only one fight with the promotion.


#2. Cédric Doumbé

Two-time Glory Kickboxing welterweight champion Cédric Doumbé is one of the finest strikers in kickboxing and all of combat sports. Last year, he made his MMA debut and amassed a perfect 2-0 record with both fights being one-sided TKO wins.

When the UFC was in need of another French favorite for its UFC Fight Night 209 event earlier this month in Paris, Cédric Doumbé received the call. He was signed to the promotion and there was immediate excitement surrounding his then-upcoming debut on the card.

Unfortunately, the promotion's plans for a new welterweight star were brought to a quick end. The French MMA Federation refused to sanction the bout, as their rules barred fighters with less than 10 professional MMA bouts from fighting opponents whose records have 4+ fights more than they do, as was the case with Doumbé and his foe.

Thus, the exceptional kickboxer was released from the UFC without ever even stepping inside the octagon.


#1. Slim Trabelsi

The heavyweight division currently does not have many prospects. However, MMA Factory owner Fernand Lopez is responsible for the presence of two elite heavyweights, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane.

'The Predator' is the reigning heavyweight champion, while 'Bon Gamin' is the former interim heavyweight champion who earlier this year came up short against Ngannou in a bid to unify the two titles.

While Francis Ngannou no longer trains at the MMA Factory, Fernand Lopez's role in injecting new blood into the 265lbs weight class can't be discounted. This month, he seemed set to introduce a third prospect to the heavyweight division: Slim Trabelsi. An undefeated Polish sensation, Slim Trablesi piqued decent interest in his debut.

However, a month away from his first UFC appearance, a contract dispute involving the Pole's coach Fernand Lopez and his manager Ali Abdelaziz led to the promotion releasing him from the roster just a few days after first signing him.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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