Last week, the DSI sports book took prop bets on which fighters from UFC 158 would be cut from the UFC roster. UFC President Dana White made news when the UFC cut more than a dozen fighters back in February, and he stated more cuts were to come. Speculation has been rampant among fans and in the media as to which fighters would be cut next since White’s dark promise if more cuts. Well, add Heavyweight slugger Lavar Johnson to the list of UFC fighters cut, as he was let go by the organization yesterday due to failing a drug test for UFC 157. Would you have bet that Johnson was a goner anyway, based on performance?
Johnson was only 2-2 in his UFC career, with two impressive wins and two losses that exposed his limitations. Johnson made $29,000 (base contract salary) for his losing effort at UFC 157 against Brendan Schaub, which puts him out of the entry level pay neighborhood.
Johnson was likely on the ‘bubble’ to be cut anyway, as he is 35 years old, has a bigger than warranted salary and his fighting has shown the same pattern that exposed him as limited at STRIKEFORCE. Standing up, he is dangerous to any fighter, but on the ground he is limited and also, he is not developing or advancing.
Then along comes the drug test, which is for UFC 157. The event took place back on February 23rd, so it is roughly a month before all the tests are returned and the commissions can take action. The books took action on which fighters would be cut from UFC 158. This means we have another 3 weeks or so to wait for test results (was Nick Diaz caught ‘chilling out’ again?)
What I want to suggest to the books is not to have these odds come in by event, but to have a ‘dead pool’ style system where a list of fighters is kept, with odds as to whether they will be cut after their next fight. The odds can be adjusted by the books, however they do it. But it is limiting to do it just on a per show basis, and as the Johnson example shows it takes a while for all the facts to come in.
There are a ton of factors that go into cuts, such as the salary, off court behavior (remember Miguel Torres got cut for tweeting rape jokes), in octagon performances, and drug test results all factor in heavily, as well as other smaller factors (such as desire level like with Quinton Jackson). What do you do, if like ‘Cyborg’ Santos, you asked to be cut? What if a fighter deserves to be cut but Dana likes them (Chris Leben)?
Take Pat Barry for instance. Prior to his last fight, I thought he should be cut. he was 4-5 overall in the UFC coming off lackluster performances and his mind was not right in the press conferences and interviews he was doing. When Barry lost to Lavar Johnson, another striker, he had to be getting close to a cut. I would have bet on it.
But Barry came out in his next outing against Shane Del Rosario and won impressively. Change the odds, take my money, I would have lost that bet.
Dana White talked about cutting up to 100 contracts – that means there are roughly 80 more to go!