In the most surprising news story in mixed martial arts this year, the UFC announced last month that it was releasing 16 fighters from its roster. But what is deemed expendable by one organization could turn out to be a vital building block for another.

The significant names on the list were former top welterweight contender Jon Fitch and lightweight Jacob Volkmann, who have a combined 20 wins inside the Octagon. Fitch and Volkmann may not have been the most exciting fighters the UFC has had, but both, along with other fighters released, have contributed to the promotion becoming what it is today. Most of the 16 men will move on to other organizations to continue fighting for a living, and Fitch and Volkmann have found a landing spot already.

Upstart promotion World Series of Fighting recently signed the pair to deals, adding them to a roster filled with former UFC talent. In fact, eight fighters on its next card—the promotion’s second event—have fought in the UFC, so it’s no surprise that the promotion has added even more castoffs from the top organization.

But will these signings have a huge impact on viewership?

You could make a case either way, but my hunch is that they will. Even though Fitch and Volkmann aren’t always exciting, they are two notable names with large fan bases, especially in the case of Fitch. Just look at all the people who were upset about the decision to cut him from the UFC.

If Fitch and Volkmann come into WSOF and pick up multiple wins, they could become the cornerstones of the promotion and possibly even future champions. By getting cut and losing large paychecks, both men will be motivated to get on a roll in order to earn an invite to the return to the UFC or at the very least get a contract extension from WSOF.

Another question that arises is whether the WSOF will continue this trend. Will they scoop up talent that the UFC purges from its bloated roster?

The UFC is already preparing to make more cuts—as many as 100 fighters may get the ax—and with Bellator passing on many of these fighters, the WSOF, whose roster is already heavy on UFC veterans, figures to maintain its current practice. There are still other quality free agent fighters out there, and WSOF will be the frontrunner for a majority of them, depending on their age and potential.

Although some might look at this approach as nothing more than a grab for the UFC’s table scraps, it is actually very beneficial to the WSOF, assuming it doesn’t overextend itself and is able to continue paying former UFC fighters. One important building block for any promotion seeking to establish itself on a national level is the incorporation of talent that fans will recognize. And that’s what the WSOF is doing with its signing of recent UFC castoffs. With Fitch and Volkmann added to the already stacked roster, it opens the door for the promotion to become a top of the line company for years to come.

Photo: Jon Fitch (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.

  • Chris

    I definitely agree with you, it’s a huge boost for the WSOF to be landing these talented ‘name’ fighters. Their first card featured a lot of ex-UFC fighters, and was one of my favorite cards of 2012. The Arlovski/ Rumble Johnson headliner for WSOF2 seems like it’s getting them a lot of media and fan interest, and they can develop new guys like Tyrone Spong and Marlon Moraes as they go.

    If they’re putting on compelling matches (on free tv, no less) then I’ll always watch, and with the UFC shedding so much talent, the WSOF can deliver compelling matches.

    • Corey Adams

      Thanks for reading and giving your thoughts, Chris.