Is Arlovski on his way out of the UFC?

On a recent episode of Inside MMA, former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski made the following statement:

Before my fight against (Fabricio) Werdum, the UFC promised me a title shot.”

Clearly, that did not happen. To make matters worse, the man Arlovski defeated at UFC 70 in April, Werdum, has been promised a title shot against the winner of the Antonio Rodrigo NogueiraTim Sylvia match-up for the interim heavyweight championship.

How does Werdum get a title shot when the man that defeated him is stuck in a mid-card match-up at UFC 82 against Jake O’Brien? The answer is simple: Arlovski has only one fight left on his contract. Therefore, by putting the “Pit Bull” against the accomplished wrestler O’Brien, the UFC puts Arlovski in a very bad spot.

Should Arlovski defeat O’Brien, the victory does very little to advance Arlovski’s career. O’Brien does not have anywhere near the same name recognition as some of Arlovski’s prior victories (Tim Sylvia, Paul Buentello, Werdum, etc.), and the fight most likely will not be very exciting. O’Brien’s smothering style can lead to very boring fights (see: O’Brien’s decision victory against Heath Herring).

However, should O’Brien defeat Arlovski, Arlovski’s reputation and bargaining power with the UFC or someone else is damaged. Had Arlovski re-signed with the UFC prior to this match-up, I highly doubt they would put him in the octagon with O’Brien. There are much more exciting fights available. Fights with Nogueira or even Mirko Cro Cop are match-ups the fans have waited many years to see.

Since the Arlovski vs. O’Brien fight is official, Arlovski re-signing with the UFC appears unlikely. Arlovski has never been a fighter to back down from anyone, and he will have many options available. With potential opponents like Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett lurking out there and not under contract to the UFC, Arlovski can certainly put himself into a real main event fight in the not-so-distant future.

25 COMMENTS
  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Yep but I doubt M-1 will care, they will snatch up Arlovski quick smart and then Fedor has two possible decent opponents in Arlovski and Barnett and everyone lays off Fedor for a bit.

    The following is a message to the UFC sung with an operatic voice:

    “Mistaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake!”

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  • Ivan Trembow says:

    The title shot promise to Arlovski wasn’t even some kind of secret, behind-the-scenes promise, either. It was stated numerous times by UFC announcers on the air and management at press conferences that Arlovski’s next fight would be for the title if he beat Werdum.

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  • Evan says:

    I am sure his refusal to renegotiate his contract has something to do with it.

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  • Kelvin says:

    M-1 will not sign AA…they don’t have the cash flow to put on a Fedor/AA fight…nor do they have the cash flow to put on Fedor/Barnett. AA is the biggest loser out of all of this…because no other organization can really pay him the salary he wants or is use to…for a multiple fight contract.

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  • Jay K. says:

    Great summary.

    Thanks Sam,

    Jay K.

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  • BigBad Brad says:

    Arlovski has been one of the best heavy’s in the division since day 1, he’s responsible for the hype & rage of fans wanting to see the best strikers strike & A.A. is one of the BEST! The UFC obviously has some greed issues & doesn’t want to pay fighters their worth. Ok, A.A. had a crappy win over Werdum, but don’t all fighters have a bad day like any other athlete? C’mon now, holding that cloud over The Pit Bull will only make it rain & storm over the UFC in the long haul. The Pit Bull belongs in the UFC & I think if A.A. pounds the crap outta O’Brien in March (which he will cuz he’s got that rage built up for it) the UFC should re-sign & give A.A. his worth in weight.

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  • Anton K says:

    This sucks. UFC’s heavyweight division is in a shambles… I hope Nog beats the crap out of Sylvia… then demolishes everyone else.

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  • Tanner says:

    CHeck this article out: http://www.sherdog.com/news/radio.asp?ID=467

    I saw it on Bloody Elbow and this is what they had to say:

    One problem for them is Fedor is making 2 million dollars per fight. As he says, when you have that kind of salary, gate just isn’t going to be enough. It’s a little discouraging that he says 200k buys would be necessary to break even for Fedor/Barnett. I think that fight breaking 60 would be a big shock. Without TV, it’s going to be very hard to make it up on PPV without losing a ton.

    interesting…

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  • Matt C. says:

    i thought it was funny moment when Gary turns to AA and asks about his UFC contract, about how many fights me has left, AA answers with a glare and says that he doesn’t talk about his contracts in public.

    Inside MMA rules. (just got the HDnet channel)

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  • Anton K says:

    2 million a fight. That’s a lotta cabbage… now onder the UFC balked.

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  • Evan says:

    Actually Anton, the UFC offered more but were not willing to have shows in Russia and sign most of his team.

    Among other issues but I think those were this biggest hurdles.

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  • Rich says:

    i hope to see a KO/TKO from AA in the AA/O’Brien fight.
    AA used to be unstoppable.
    but when Tim Sylvia tested his chin in their 2nd fight… he got scared… as you could see in his 3rd fight w/ Sylvia and in his relatively lackluster performance against Werdum. [although he did perform well against Marcio Cruz]
    i hope he wins this fight in devastating fashion.
    i wouldn’t like to see him fight in another organization… so i hope he can somehow work things out w/ the UFC.

    P.S. – if AA would just fight like he didn’t have anything to lose…which…in this case… he really doesn’t…he would fight like he did in the old days
    [Vladimir Matyushenko, Ian Freeman, Cabbage Correira, Tim Sylvia 1, Justin Eilers, Paul Buentello... all early finishes].

    i really hope he does.
    a rebirth of AA would be exactlly what the UFC HW division needs.

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  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I agree with Rich. AA has to win if he wants to stay in UFC, and he’d better win if he’s leaving and wants to command serious money in another organization. Reckless abandon and bad intentions.

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  • pr0cs says:

    Having the Penthouse model for a girlfriend turned AA into a boring fighter, worried about getting into the mix and getting hurt. Since his fights with Sylvia it seems he learned Sylvia’s boring fight style (fight to win on points not to finish the fight) and considering that he probably wants a healthy pay raise it’s no wonder the UFC is letting his contract lapse.

    With luck however maybe we’ll see EliteXC or some other org pick up AA and pit him against someone like Kimbo or Bigfoot. Maybe AA will finally change his fighting style to the good old days.

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  • Rich says:

    agree 100% w/ procs.

    it’s like when he lost to sylvia he realized that he could get caught.
    so now-a-days it seems like he does what ever he has to not to get ko’d,
    even though i feel that was a lucky punch by that worthless excuse for a fighter, Tim Sylvia. I CAN’T STAND HIM. but that’s another story.

    in the long run… being on good terms w/ the fans… is way better than having a good record.

    people love the AA that knocked out paul buentello in 15 sec., and that sub’d Tim’s panzy-ass, and that effed up Justin Eilers, and that KTFO matyushenko.

    I just hope we can see that AA again sometime before he retires.

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  • j says:

    He would have alot of good match-up’s in EliteXC and they could pull off a Fedor/AA fight since they have Showtime behind them.

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  • smith says:

    idk about this as there have been articles where arlovski’s agents have said that they talk w/dana and ufc officials regularly and that arlovski is hurt to hear these rumors about him waiting out his contract.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC re-signed him right after or right before his fight w/O’Brien to keep their heavyweight division decent.

    Another thing why punish Arlovski for a boring fight when Tim Sylvia has nothing other than boring fights anymore. Get pissed at him for playing it safe when Arlovski does it one time.

    werdum=lackluster always
    gonzaga=hype
    randy=non-existent as far as ufc is concerned
    cro cop=DL
    timmay=boring tyrant
    vera=injured/stuffed by timmay
    kongo=not too exciting/can’t finish people well
    herring=good & entertaining but lost both ufc bouts so far
    nog=talent as usual
    mir=re-working his way back up
    lesnar=wild card

    suddenly arlovski looks a whole lot better doesn’t he?

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  • BigBad Brad says:

    Good to see so many peeps rootin’ for the Pit Bull. I truly agree w/all that A.A. got a lil’ scared after his last fight w/Tim. But since then his last 2 fights were wins (Werdum match being BORING), but still wins. Dana needs to look bk to the days of old when A.A. was making other heavy’s eat his leather & the fans not getting enough of the Pit Bull. I really do think that someone of O’Brien’s caliber isn’t a strong enough opponent for A.A. & once he’s flat on the mat they’re gonna want more of the Pit Bull. C’mon Dana, stop being a tight wad & remember those who made your ticket/PPV sales what they are. A.A. needs to be fighting someome like Mir, since that was supposed to happen a looong time ago anyways.

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  • Rich says:

    I wish AA could get another fight with Tim and just KO him once and for all.

    plus… i’m thinking if he KO’d cabbage ‘iron chin’ Correira.. he shouldn’t have a problem w/ O’Brian…

    i really hope he wins in devistating fashion..

    plus..

    i’m sure, unlike herring, AA will try to defend the takedown.

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  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Is there any specific info suggesting that UFC is trying to cheap out on AA? As Smith points out, heavyweight is not real deep at this point, and surely White knows he needs quality fighters in that weight class. It would seem to be a bad time to blow off AA.

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  • BigBad Bradical says:

    Good ? Wolfe. . I’m not sure if anyone knows what the UFC is really doing behind the curtains. What we do know, from more than one fighter obviously that went public, is that the UFC’s guys are getting dicked w/in Re: to their $$. I think that Dana might’ve offered an extension, but not the dinero that A.A. is worth or asking. I just think that A.A. should take a shirt fight deal (2 fight contract), then whoop the shit outta those 2 opponents to show Dana that the Pit Bull now bites harder. If Andrei puts out the performances he used to, or even better. . .Dana will shut the f–k up & give in. He’d have no choice, but no lame opponents like O’Brien.

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  • well rounded in all aspects of mma guy says:

    UFC made this fight on purpose to be boring, ala Jake O’Brien Heath Herring, there whole m.o. is to make AA look like old news, god i hope AA destroys him and makes UFC think twice

    2008 the year of Fedors downfall

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  • BigBad Brad says:

    Well Rounded Guy….I couldn’t agree more. A.A. will indeed come out bangin’ & destroying. I think after a year off, he’s got pent up rage & all that angst w/him & the UFC will only be unleashed by the Pit Bull next month in the cage. And the poor proverbial punching bag & victim to all of this will be Jake O’Brien. Oh well…we could look @ this as setting A.A. up for success too ya know?! I mean maybe they’re giving him O’Brien knowing that after a yr off w/all the shit going on that Dana will know he’ll pound O’Brien in giving the crowd what they want…thus leading to a new attractive contract w/the UFC.

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  • [...] the UFC. Arlovski’s contract expires after his March 1 fight with Jake O’Brien. Still, as I wrote last week, the writing on the wall points to Arlovski’s departure. His placement on the off-tv portion [...]

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  • Robert says:

    I love Arlovski. He’s a great fighter. I hope he gets a new contract. Besides him, Randy and Lesnar are the only others I’m willing to watch in that division. And Randy is pretty much retired. And just you all watch, Lesnar will be the next thing. He absolutely destroyed Mir. Frank just lucked out. And I’m tired of people saying Fedor is the greatest fighter in the world. Really? How could that be if he isn’t even in the UFC. Until he comes over here, he ain’t shit. Enough said.

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