Rising Featherweight Star Yair Rodriguez has Been Cut From the UFC for Refusing to Fight… 

Now, this was unexpected. Yair Rodriguez, one of the flashiest and most exciting prospects in the featherweight division has been cut by the UFC over his refusal to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov. The Mexican fighter was given an ultimatum by the company, who finally lost patience.

Rodriguez is well known for his entertaining and flamboyant kicking style. He was seen by many as the natural next opponent for Magomedsharipov, as the Russian tries to break into the top-fifteen and become a ranked fighter. However, after his refusal to be treated like a sacrificial lamb, Rodriguez has been told where to go.

UFC President Dana White confirmed that the Mexican will no longer be considered to fight for the organization, in what he called ‘real news’. This decision could come back to haunt the UFC in the future. Why hasn’t Conor McGregor been cut for refusing however many fights he’s been offered then?

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.


The 25-year-old Mexican, a black belt in Taekwon-do, hasn’t fought for almost a year when he lost for the first time against veteran Frankie Edgar. That was the first defeat of his UFC career. Before this, he was riding a six-fight win streak within the company. However, another rising star, Dagestani fighter Zabit Magomedsharipov, then entered the picture.

The Russian is truly an elite talent. If you haven’t seen him fight, stop reading this article and hunt him out on youtube. He’s phenomenal but currently unranked as his UFC career remains young. Rodriguez was set to be his first ranked opponent but the Mexican didn’t like being forced to fight without a say.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

White Explains

Dana White has explained the UFC’s rationale in cutting one of their most exciting young fighters. Basically, the company lost patience with him. He was fit and being offered quality opponents. According to White he also turned down Ricardo Lamas as well. White said:

“The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy below him in the rankings? He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him. He calls that fight fake news. This is real news.”

However, while the UFC’s perspective is understandable, fighters are technically independent contractors. Should they be forced to fight in a situation where they’re clearly being marked to lose by the company? Let’s be real, Rodriguez had nothing to gain by fighting the unranked Zabit. Can you blame him for saying no? Conor McGregor did it.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Fighter’s Union

This is one of those times that the UFC will be glad there is no such as an MMA fighter’s union right now. If there was one, their actions in this situation could have been different. However, in fairness Rodriguez should have taken the Lamas fight. Magomedsharipov is understandable because he had nothing to gain by it. Not taking Lamas was a poor choice.

Anyway, Rodriguez will not be short of offers from other promotions. No doubt Bellator or ONE will be delighted to get a chance at signing him. He’s still an elite talent with a high ceiling. Just don’t mess with the UFC. They’ve got no accountability.

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