Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez, who balked at accepting an Aug. 4 UFC 227 fight against Russia’s Zabit Magomedsharipov, has been cut from the organization, UFC President Dana White told the Los Angeles Times Thursday night.
Rodriguez (11-2), the UFC’s No. 11-ranked featherweight, hasn’t fought since a humbling second-round technical-knockout (doctor’s stoppage) loss to former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar on May 13, 2017.
White chafed that Rodriguez previously turned down an offer to fight No. 7-ranked Ricardo Lamas before tweeting that a Times report based on information from White that he was to fight Magomedsharipov (15-1) was “#FakeNews.”
“The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy below him in the rankings?” White asked Thursday night. “He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him.
“He calls that fight fake news. This is real news.”
White said a letter informing Rodriguez of his dismissal was sent earlier Thursday.
Rodriguez, 25, appeared to be on the fast track toward a title shot when he dominated B.J. Penn in January 2017, but his one-sided defeat to veteran Edgar shelved him to injury recovery, and White’s efforts to get him back in the octagon were met with resistance.
The surprise is that Rodriguez was positioned for a prominent pay-per-view return against a talented opponent who is 3-0 in the UFC, a spot that could’ve helped a victorious Rodriguez launch himself back upward in a division that will offer a July 7 UFC 226 title fight between champion Max Holloway and Harbor City’s Brian Ortega.
A possible landing spot for Rodriguez could be the Combate Americas circuit.