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Dana White on Cutting Yushin Okami: 'It's Almost Like He'd Become a Gatekeeper'

Sep 4, 2013; Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL;  Yushin Okami (red shorts) enters his fight against Ronaldo Jacare Souza (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Mineirinho Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
John HeinisSenior Analyst ISeptember 28, 2013

Shock waves were sent through the MMA community yesterday when Yushin Okami, the UFC's No. 6 ranked middleweight, was cut from the promotion (via MMA Junkie).

Late last night, Yahoo! Sports was able to get UFC President Dana White to explain why he felt now was the time to cut Okami loose, despite the Japanese fighter being victorious in three of his past four bouts.

He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it's almost like he'd become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you've heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something ... But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I've been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That's why these fights are so meaningful.

Okami won seven of his first eight UFC fights between August 2006 and December 2008, but has struggled against top-tier competition since losing a title bid against then-champ Anderson Silva at UFC 134 in August 2011. 

"Thunder" has posted a 3-3 record in his past six Octagon outings, suffering knockouts at the hands of Silva, Tim Boetsch and most recently Ronaldo Souza, during that time frame. 

Despite being a bit inconsistent in recent memory, the 32-year-old has posted a solid 13-5 record under the UFC banner. 

Don't expect Okami to be standing in the unemployment line for very long though, as World Series of Fighting matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz tweeted a message at the Judo black belt shortly after it had been reported the UFC would be parting ways with him.

@OkamiYushin you have home at @MMAWorldSeries@arielhelwani

AliWsof (@AliWSOF) September 28, 2013

Then this morning, WSOF President Ray Sefo responded to a fan's inquiry about Okami, stating that his organization had already reached out to the 11-year fight veteran about a potential deal: 

@bonkekunene: @SugarRaySefo please sign yushin okami” We're in talks with his team...

— Ray Sefo (@SugarRaySefo) September 28, 2013

Did White and the UFC make the right call in opting to terminate Okami's contract or does the suffocating grappler still have the tools to challenge for a major title sometime soon?

 

John Heinis is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA Editor for eDraft.com.

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