Ulysses Gomez became one of the latest UFC fighters to get his walking papers following what many to believe be a controversial decision loss to Phi Harris at the last UFC on Fuel TV card in London.

In watching the fight for a second time, I don’t necessarily see what all the fuss was about with regard to the decision, but the result of Gomez being cut due to a loss handed to him by a judge is something that many fighters are fearful of.

Gomez didn’t do himself any favors leading up to the fight. He lost his UFC debut to John Moraga in the first round. The former Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight champion had a respectable 9-2 record when he signed with the UFC. Now, however, after two losses he is 9-4 and looking for a job.

The eye-opening aspect of this cut is that generally speaking the UFC avoids cutting a fighter who is the victim of a controversial decision. It’s equally surprising that the promotion would do so in the newly-formed flyweight division, where there are only about 10-12 fighters on the roster.

Whatever the reasoning for the cut, Gomez is gone. Perhaps UFC President Dana White could already sense that Gomez wasn’t going to intrigue fans enough to keep him around. It has become evident that White will hang on to fighters who are exciting regardless of their win-loss record. Take for example, Leonard Garcia.

Garcia has a 1-6 record inside the Octagon, including losing his last four in a row. However, Garcia was given a vote of confidence following his last loss against Max Holloway at UFC 155. Sure, the fight was exciting, but both guys displayed some of the sloppiest striking skills I’ve yet to see in a fight. It looked at times like a fight you would see outside of a bar.

As bad as the judging is in MMA, it’s hard to agree with a fighter being cut after losing a controversial decision. Imagine if Court McGee had lost to Josh Neer on Saturday night at UFC 157. That loss would have been McGee’s third in a row, and there’s no telling what the UFC might have done to the former TUF winner. If you recall, McGee had already been the victim of a horrible loss at the hand of the judges at UFC 149 against Nick Ring. Fortunately for McGee, he never looked better in his win over Neer.

The thing that irritates fans and perhaps those in the media is that there is no handbook explaining why somebody is going to get cut. The only thing we know of is that any UFC fighter can be cut after a loss. That seems like a reasonable clause, especially if the fighter “Kalib Starnes” his way around the Octagon for a night. The organization doesn’t want “boring” fighters, because it knows that those type of fighters will not help grow the sport.

What I fear is the UFC moving away from what MMA is all about and going all-in on a “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots” type of game. How can it be that White cuts somebody like a Jon Fitch, who has a 24-5 career record, but then condones a game plan such as Brendan Schaub lying on Lavar Johnson because it was what he needed for a win? The whole line between sticking to a game plan for a win or putting on an exciting fight is something that will stress out training camps for months to come. Should a fighter go in and slug it out knowing that he will have a better chance at keeping his job if he loses in exciting fashion? Or do they stick to what works and grind out a win no matter how unexciting it might be?

Ulysses Gomez tried to stick to a plan of keeping his distance from Phil Harris and counter striking when possible. He believed the plan worked out just fine. Unfortunately, many believe the judges took the win and subsequently a spot on the UFC roster away from him.

Photo: Ulysses Gomez (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  • Robby Collins

    Good piece Joe. I think Gomez was brought in too soon–should have been Montague–but that doesn’t justify anything that happened subsequently.