Plenty of fans and observers were more than shocked by the UFC’s decision to release Yair Rodriguez, but based on the reported circumstances, Chael Sonnen’s not surprised at all.
Last week heads turned throughout the sport, after it was reported that Rodriguez had been let go by the UFC. The news came not long after it had been reported that Rodriguez was going to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 227, August 4th. But, then Dana White relayed to the L.A. Times that Rodriguez had in fact turned down the bout, and that because he also passed on a fight with Ricardo Lamas, the UFC had “no use for him.”
So, considering Rodriguez’s highlight reel abilities, and because he is widely considered to be one of the top prospects at 145, the UFC’s decision caught a lot of folks off guard. But, in a recent episode of Sonnen’s “Beyond the Fight” show, the outspoken fighter and commentator had this to say (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“I did read a post on something that kids call the ‘underground forum’, and they were saying how that was wrong of Dana White to release him for not wanting to fight,” Sonnen said. “Well, you’re devastatingly wrong about that point. Dana has to do that. He has to make sure (that he’s) maintaining the integrity of his company, (that) the guys are fighting the right guys.”
“This is a UFC policy, and this is explained to all of the guys on the roster from the beginning. You will be called an offer to fight,” he added. “You can say no to the first fight, but you cannot say no to the second fight. So you play that however you want. You can say no once, you can’t say no twice.”
Now, this very well could be the case, although, clearly the UFC makes exceptions for some of the roster’s bigger names. For example, by all accounts, Nate and Nick Diaz have turned down more than two fights…
You also have to wonder how much Rodriguez sharing out #FakeNews on Twitter, after the fight with Magomedsharipov was initially announced, played a role. White, after confirming Rodriguez’s release, tweeted out #RealNews. So, one could certainly deduce the UFC President wasn’t exactly thrilled by the tweet.