Heading in to the fall of 2010, only one winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) had been cut from the UFC, the lone victim being season four middleweight winner Travis Lutter. Since then, two TUF winners have been cut from the promotion.
The first to go was season nine lightweight winner Efrain Escudero. Escudero was cut on the heels of a submission loss to Charles Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares, in which he came in at 159 pounds, three pounds over the lightweight non-title fight limit. Escudero had won his previous fight over Dan Lauzon, so odds are the UFC cut Escudero for his own benefit—that if he got his act together and strung together some wins in smaller promotions, he might be invited back. (Escudero's efforts to do so were set back after a recent loss to Hermes Franca ended a three-fight win-streak.)
The next to go was season three middleweight winner Kendall 'Da Spyder' Grove. Grove never found consistency in the UFC and held a 7-6 record with the promotion at the time of his release, after consecutive defeats to Demian Maia at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale and Tim Boetsch at UFC 130. Like Escudero, if Grove strings together a few wins in other promotions, it's within the realm of possibility he could be invited back as a replacement and start a new run in the UFC.
Clearly, the UFC is intending to send a message that winning The Ultimate Fighter no longer grants one immunity, especially as the organization attempts to trim the fat from a roster that now includes fighters absorbed from the WEC and Strikeforce.
This article will highlight the five winners of the show that may be on the chopping block with another loss.
Update: Joe Stevenson was officially released on August 5th.