If you did a double take yesterday upon reading the news that Yushin Okami has been let go by the UFC, rest assured, you weren’t the only one. After all, Okami has been a top ten ranked middleweight with the promotion for years now, thanks to a 13-5 run that included a 2011 title fight with Anderson Silva (“The Spider” won via second round stoppage). Although the 32 year-old isn’t everybody’s favourite due to his wrestling based approach, Okami is one of the tougher fights to take at 185.
In a follow up report with Yahoo.com, UFC President Dana White outlined the reasons why they decided to let Okami go.
“He’s been with us forever,” White said about the powerful Japanese fighter. “He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something.”
“But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”
Although prior to his recent loss to “Jacare” Souza at UFN FN 28 Okami had won three straight, it was a significant setback for “Thunder”. Okami has already fought for the belt, and last February he was also stopped by Tim Boetsch. Now in terms of what Okami was making, according to what the commission disclosed for his UFC 155 purse, the middleweight earned $84,000 (including 42K in win money) for his victory over Alan Belcher.
The good news for Okami and his fans, however, is that WSOF is reportedly already in talks with the fighter’s camp. So, there’s little doubt that the rugged vet won’t find a new promotional home soon.
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