UFC president Dana White spoke with MMA reporter extraordinaire Ariel Helwani (from MMAFighting.com) yesterday during the UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop pre-fight press conference and touched on a number of issues, including the reasoning behind the recent contract-releases of heavyweight star Todd Duffee and TUF 8 winner Efrain Escudero.
Duffee is a massive heavyweight and drew attention his way by earning the fastest knockout in UFC history but he fell from grace in his most recent fight against Mike Russow, getting knocked out in the third round of a fight he was otherwise dominating (albeit slowly). Duffee was expected to face Jon Madsen this October at UFC 121 but was forced out of the bout with a knee injury and was cut from the organization sometime afterwards. White revealed to Helwani the impetus to cut the promising fighter.
“We have the ability to cut a guy when he loses a fight. He lost that fight [against Mike Russow], but the biggest problem I have with Todd Duffee is his attitude,” White revealed. “You guys don’t see it. You don’t know. I deal with tons of guys. We have hundreds of guys under contract and I’ve had thousands of guys under contract over the last ten years and Todd Duffee, to me, doesn’t seem like he wants to be in the UFC. He doesn’t like being in the UFC. Let him go fight in the smaller organizations and work his way back up, if he even wants to work his way back up and get back into the UFC. He just came off a knockout. He got knocked out in his fight and he’s got a horrible attitude. He’s got a horrible attitude. He can still go back and train and fight in these smaller leagues and work on his skills and his attitude.”
Another surprise on the list of recent UFC cuts is Efrain Escudero, who looked impressive after winning the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. Escudero stumbled against fast-rising lightweight prospect Evan Dunham this past January at Ultimate Fight Night 20, succumbing to a third round arm bar. He then defeated Dan Lauzon via unanimous decision but fell again in his next, and most recent, fight to Charles Oliveira. After posting the third round submission loss to Oliveira (and also weighing in several pounds over the lightweight limit), Escudero was cut from the UFC. Again, White offered a reason other than just Escudero’s spotty performances.
“I think that Efrain got comfortable,” White said. “He came off the show and he was doing all these huge media tours throughout Mexico and had Bud Light stamped all over him and wasn’t performing. When you come out and perform the way he did and you don’t make weight, it just shows that you’re really not that serious about it. You’re not taking this as serious as you should be.”