A growing roster of fighters being brought over from Strikeforce including the women's division plus 14 competitors from the Ultimate Fighter that will all get at least one more fight in the Octagon have forced the UFC to make some major roster cuts, including former welterweight title contender Jon Fitch.
Fitch was listed among 16 total fighters that the UFC released on Wednesday following the past couple of shows in 2013.
According to UFC President Dana White in a statement released to MMAFighting, Fitch was cut along with 15 other fighters coming off recent losses. The full list is below:
Heavyweight: Mike Russow
Light Heavyweight: Vladimir Matyushenko, Wagner Prado
Welterweight: Jon Fitch, Che Mills, Jay Hieron, Jorge Santiago, Simeon Thoresen, Mike Stumpf
Lightweight: Jacob Volkmann, Paul Sass, C.J. Keith, Terry Etim
Featherweight: Josh Grispi
Bantamweight: Motonobu Tezuka
Flyweight: Ulysses Gomez
While there are a few names that probably didn't expect to be on that list, no one ranks higher than current top ten welterweight Jon Fitch. With a 14-3-1 record in the UFC, Fitch sat near the top of the 170 pound weight class for several years.
Fitch was unsuccessful in his one shot at UFC gold when he lost to champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87 in August 2008. After that he reeled off five more wins before fighting to a draw with B.J. Penn at UFC 127.
The American Kickboxing Academy fighter fell on harder times of late going 1-2 over his last three fights, but the defeats came to top ranked welterweight contender Johny Hendricks and current top ten fighter Demian Maia.
The release could have come for a number of reasons, but an expanding roster along with Fitch's current pay stature could have played a big part in the UFC's decision to release the former welterweight contender.
All of the fighters released on Wednesday were coming off losses, and per UFC contracts, the organization holds the right to cut anyone after a defeat.
Damon Martin is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report