John Lineker has been a curious case in the UFC.
He entered the UFC with a lot of hype surrounding him. He was a hard-throwing flyweight that could do a lot of damage in the division. In his UFC debut, Lineker missed weight and lost against Louis Gaudinot.
The red flags should have been up right away.
Since that time, he has gone 4-1 in the Octagon, but missed weight an additional two times. At UFC 169, he stepped on the scale heavy once again, but was able to come back an hour later to reach the flyweight limit of 126 pounds.
Entering UFC 169, Lineker was still talked about as a potential title contender. He could have challenged champion Demetrious Johnson after his TKO victory over Phil Harris, but by missing weight, the UFC could not take the risk. It needed to see him make weight.
After eventually making weight, he took on Ali Bagautinov. The Russian was able to take a unanimous decision against Lineker. The UFC should take this time to hand Lineker his pink slip and send him packing.
That may sound harsh, but the UFC needs to send a message. He has come in overweight for half of his bouts. That is unprofessional and would not be tolerated from a fighter who does not excite the crowd with fight-altering power.
It sends a message that if you continually come in heavy, then the leash is very short. It also sends a message to Lineker to get his act together. It will either force him to alter how he cuts weight or move up to 135 pounds.
Either way, Lineker can go to the regional circuit to fix his issues. The UFC can always bring him back to the fold after a couple of fights if he proves he can make weight consistently or grab a couple of wins at 135 pounds.
Lineker's current UFC run has been a complete failure—even with the wins. Half of his wins have come when he was overweight and he has two key losses in a division where he was trying to be billed as a contender. Unacceptable.
Lineker is a very exciting fighter that people love to watch. I love to watch him in the cage as well. However, the weigh-ins and loss to Bagautinov are the straws that broke the camel's back.
Releasing Lineker cuts through the hullabaloo. It is not as if the UFC has never released contenders before—and for less than what Lineker has gone through. It just makes sense for the UFC to stop giving him chance after chance and show that no one is untouchable simply because of their rank and fighting style.
If the UFC wants to be taken seriously, then it needs to take this seriously. What Lineker has done to date has been unprofessional and the promotion needs to take a stand.
Send Lineker back to the regional circuit to fix his issues and make him prove he is worthy of a UFC contract.