UFC News: UFC to close flyweight division
What's the story?
Just weeks after the groundbreaking 'trade' which sent longtime UFC flyweight great Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship in exchange for undefeated welterweight Ben Askren, FloCombat have reported that the UFC are turning their back on the 125lb division.
It appears that the promotion won't be allowing everyone on their flyweight roster the opportunity to compete at bantamweight and as a result, a number of fighters are expected to be released.
In case you didn't know...
Prior to the release of both Torres and Brooks, the UFC had as many as 35 flyweights under contract. 11 of those fighters currently have fights scheduled and it remains to be seen what will happen for those athletes.
It is also worth noting that of the 35 contracted fighters, only 15 of them have winning records during their time with the UFC.
The heart of the matter
The first flyweight fighter on the chopping block is Jose 'Shorty' Torres. Torres took to social media this evening to confirm his release, explaining that he felt he was the first to be axed due to him publicly speculating about the UFC scrapping the division.
"The flyweight division is going. I did kind of call it. Sadly, because I called it and because I was publicly talking about it first, it probably was because of that [I was] first on the chopping block. So sadly, I am not a UFC fighter anymore, I am a free agent. You know, it’s part of the sport. This stuff happens. Again, sadly we didn’t pick up enough fanbase for the UFC. I appreciate every opportunity I was given. Sadly again, 29 days, two fights, 54 pounds to prepare for my last two opponents. Given my last fight wasn’t the best and I won my first one by a ‘lucky knockout,’ I was on the chop block because of it. So, who wants to sign me? I’m looking for a fight."
Another fighter to find himself suddenly unemployed is Jarred Brooks, the man Torres defeated in his UFC debut. Brooks also took to Twitter to share his thoughts on finding himself looking for work as a free agent.
Fans have long speculated that the flyweight division would be scrapped at some stage by Dana White considering the apparent relative lack of interest from the general public based on TV/PPV ratings. For many Mixed Martial Arts aficionados, however, it will be a real blow to see such a fast-paced, talented division liquidated at a time where the promotion appears to be moving more toward "entertainment" rather than true competition.
With Brooks confirming that a number of other flyweight's have already been released, it is only a matter of time until more fighters come forward to announce their newfound free agent status.
With rumours circulating that Professional Fighters League are looking at adding a 125lb contest to their schedule next year and the likes on ONE Championship, Combate Americas and Bellator likely to be in the market for free agents, there will be plenty of options available for fighters who suddenly find themselves without a contract.