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Report: UFC releases three more fighters

Din Thomas, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, and Tommy Speer are three fighters involved in the UFC’s latest round of roster cuts, according to a report in the May 7 print edition of the Wrestling Observer.

Thomas had appeared to be in contention for the UFC lightweight title following three consecutive wins in 2006-2007. However, “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus from season four went on to lose his next two fights.

Thomas’ three fight win streak was broken at the hands of Kenny Florian at UFC Fight Night 11 last September when he submitted to a rear naked choke at 4:31 of round 1. During the fight, Thomas suffered a major knee injury.

He would return to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night 13 this past April, where he lost a unanimous decision to the returning Josh Neer.

According to the Observer, Thomas is deciding between whether to retire or continue competing at 145 pounds. Thomas had mentioned publicly he was considering the move to featherweight, but several outlets erroneously reported that he was being transferred to Zuffa-owned World Extreme Cagefighting.

The report in the Observer indicates that fighting in the WEC in the future is a possibility for Thomas, but that his contract was not transferred over and that he will likely need to win multiple fights outside of the promotion before being offered a contract.

Speer was the second place finisher during the welterweight tournament for the sixth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He lost in the final to Mac Danzig via first round submission. The Minnesota native fell to 0-2 in the UFC after he was knocked out in the first round against Anthony Johnson at UFC Fight Night 13.

Hironaka’s lifetime UFC record fell to 1-3 following a second round TKO loss to Jonathan Goulet at UFC 83. The bout was awarded a “Fight of the Night” cash bonus by UFC officials, but the feeling was that Hironaka had taken too much punishment in his last two bouts, according to the Observer’s report.

The three join Joe Doerksen and Travis Lutter as fighters recently released by the UFC as the promotion looks to trim its roster from 200 fights to anywhere between 140-160.

Kalib Starnes was also released in the days immediately proceeding UFC 83, however, he claims he requested his own release. Whether or not the option was truly in his hands is not entirely clear.

Middleweight Charles McCarthy is also no longer on the roster, as he announced his retirement following his loss to Michael Bisping at UFC 83.

45 COMMENTS
  • Kelvin says:

    So will this cut enable Thomas to goto the WEC 145 division?

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Kelvin, please read the story in its entirety for the answer. Thanks.

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  • Kelvin says:

    Yea, I just skimmed the first part…good looks.

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  • Donny says:

    Looks like th UFC is running low on funds. They must be losing money hand over fist to be making cuts like this.

    something is terribly wrong here fellas

    Maybe teh reports about Zuffa selling the UFC were true

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  • Danny says:

    why pay money to guys who were probably not gonna go anywhere in the foreseeable future. i’m sure its to free up money so they can re-sign talent and to acquire new talent.

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  • Kelvin says:

    Danny has spoken the correct.

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  • HexRei says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of money. Aren’t most of these guy on a per-fight pay basisi, within their contracts? They didn’t get paid until they fought. It’s not like the UFC was paying a retainer or something, or a salary like in the NFL (or if it was, probably not much, just a signing bonus or something).

    I think they just want to trim the unexciting talent. Getting rid of boring or unskilled fighters has the dual bonus of making their shows more exciting and making it easier for casual fans to remember and recognize UFC fighters. Would you have rather a smaller stable with a higher average level of quality, or a larger stable with a lower level of quality? In a market with a limited mindshare (and MMA is still a small-ish sport compared to the Big Three in the US) the former is desirable.

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  • Evan says:

    “Looks like th UFC is running low on funds. They must be losing money hand over fist to be making cuts like this.”

    hah…how much do you think these guys make?!?!?!!?!?!?

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  • […] Thomas, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, and Tommy Speer released Five Ounces of Pain | Report: UFC releases three more fighters […]

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  • BJJDenver says:

    #8 Evan…Exactly.

    These guys aren’t big money guys by any stretch.

    Din doesn’t fit at 155, Hiranoka isn’t anyone that they need and Speer is not ready for the UFC right now.

    Why do people want to read so much into these cuts in a negative way??

    It will give the fans higher profile, hopefully better fights. It will streamline the UFC and allow them to not have under performing fighters under contract. It will allow the fighters to cash in on their UFC exposure in other promotions and allow green fighters to go get more experience.

    Just because they were cut now, doesn’t mean that they may not return after having more success or as replacements.

    I just don’t see who loses in most cases.

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  • Mike C. says:

    I hope Din ends up in the WEC. Soon.

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  • Donny says:

    When a company does mass layoffs its usually a bad thing…

    are people that retarded to actually think this is a good thing?

    Do u buy every piece of propoganda thrown ur way?

    read between the lines bros

    the shows overseas losing the UFC tons of money
    the $300 Million Debt
    The talk of a Sale
    The Xcience scandal
    Randy Cotore
    Tim Sylvia
    Tito Ortiz
    Andrei Arlovski
    MASS FIGHTER LAYOFFS

    Think about it………

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  • Donny says:

    also

    TUF is at an all time low ratings wise
    and the last 3 UFNs on Spike have tanked big time

    Last UFC in london barley did 100k buys

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  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Regardless of whether anybody believes it, what explanation has UFC given for cutting fighters?

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  • UFC69INTX says:

    wow, how can anyone think that the ufc is actually not making or losing money? the reason for the layoffs is to pay the current heavy hitters,bigger drawing fighters, and sign or resign bigger name better fighters and pay more for them, instead of losing them to different organizations trying to steal there cheese…. i know that is not the popular opinion but it is mine

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  • Patrick says:

    Wow Donny, do your research and stop blowing things out of proportion to support your ideas:

    the shows overseas losing the UFC tons of money
    (False, looks at the financials from these shows, each show is pulling in a profit even when you consider the operating costs associated with each.)

    the $300 Million Debt
    (You’re clearly not anyone with any kind of business experience if you think organizational debt is a straight up negative thing.)

    The talk of a Sale
    (Please provide evidence)

    The Xcience scandal
    (Xcience is a sponsor, and they ran into problems because of distribution issues and faulty accounting practices as well as bad debt leverage)

    Randy Cotore
    (Spell his name right and get the facts straight, this has nothing to do with Zuffa being in financial trouble.)

    Tim Sylvia
    (White wanted him out, lotta fans wanted him out, has nothing to do with Zuffa’s financials)

    Tito Ortiz
    (Again, White wants him gone, Tito wants to be gone. The fact that Tito is whining about money is normal, he’s always whining about something and fighter pay seems to be the bandwagon issue of the day)

    Andrei Arlovski
    (Again, doesn’t have to do with financial issues)

    MASS FIGHTER LAYOFFS
    (Mass? You mean like…. 10 or less?)

    From now on, think first, post second. Thanks.

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  • matt says:

    Donny, are you refering to the PPV with Joe Stevenson/BJ Penn? Cause that was in the 5-600k range.

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  • Jay D. says:

    Patrick,
    Agree with you that the UFC isnt in serious trouble but the head of the UFC’s international division pretty much confirmed the unexpected amounts that the expansion into the UK cost and that it has not been initially a success.
    And the Xyience issue is directly attributed to the Ferritas brothers making an unethical loan to Xyience that gave them control of the company and is now forcing share holders to sue them.

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  • BJJDenver says:

    the shows overseas losing the UFC tons of money
    the $300 Million Debt
    The talk of a Sale
    The Xcience scandal
    Randy Cotore
    Tim Sylvia
    Tito Ortiz
    Andrei Arlovski
    MASS FIGHTER LAYOFFS

    First of all, you are comparing companies that have mass layoffs of valued employees to the UFC cutting underperforming employees. Why don’t you go to your job and fail miserably 2 out of 3 times and see how long you are around. If I perform poorly even once, I am at risk of losing my license, thus my income.

    Please show me where you get the info that the overseas shows are losing the UFC money. They may not have made as much money, but they are hardly a loss. And any company that breaks into a new market usually expects to struggle some before finding its groove.

    The 300 mil debt. Laughable. How much operating debt do you think any major company has? Do you believe that when Microsoft buys materials, they pay cash for it? There is always operating debt involved. This is not the same as you or me being 20k in debt. If they wanted to clear the books and stop doing business, Zuffa would be very able to do so.

    The talk of a sale. So? Microsoft just failed in its bid to buy Yahoo, so they are probably in trouble. No.

    The Xyience scandal. Not a direct debt/bad investment by UFC. This was the brothers and Dana on their own. This has little if any effect on the UFC’s financial outlook. Then they bring on Harley, which is much bigger, and Bud Light, the single largest sponsor of sports in the world.

    Randy. First he was well paid, maybe not what he deserved, but still a lot of jack. Second, they have offered him several scenarios to stay and fight. This was his decision and imo, he has wound up looking worse in many ways than the UFC regarding this.

    Tim. Same as randy, well paid. He wanted the big money and almost all fans disliked him. He will get some money now and the UFC won’t miss him. He was champ of a very weak division and got exposed somewhat as the division improved. Many people bitch about him, so why would Dana want to overpay him to stay? Let Monte overpay him, that is what new orgs have to do with stars, overpay them to lure them away.

    Tito. Don’t be shocked if he stays. Dana and him hate each other and he is NOT a contender any more. Again, it would be best for everyone if he just moved on. I happen to like Tito, but his best days are past, let him go help EXC and get some good money.

    Arlovski. Dude is one of my favorite fighters, but he hasn’t performed like the exciting, dominating fighter he once was. i think he still will be again and I also think he will end up staying in the UFC, but why should Dana overpay him when he has fallen out of favor with UFC fans?

    I am a fan of mma, not UFC, but I see this as being good for the UFC, the fighters and other promotions. Many of these guys make less than 10k per fight, and they can easily double that by using their recognition from the UFC fighting in another promotion.

    Many of the cuts I see are guys who have not succeeded or have not had exciting fights. i think Dana is looking to up the level of excitement to keep fans interested. What has the UFC lost with these cuts? how much money will they save?

    If anything, this will cost the UFC money. They are still going to have as many or more cards with the same number of fights. If they cut their lower tier fighters, they will end up filling the cards with higher paid fighters, thus spending more money.

    Sorry, but putting thought into the business side of this might help you a little, rather than proclaiming the death of the UFC based on what you read on Sherdog.

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  • Michaelthebox says:

    Wow, Donna got lots of fish! You guys have any ways of banning trolls?

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  • Donny says:

    Also

    They spent $85 Million on Pride and didnt get shit

    they had to resign every fighter and in the end lost a ton of money

    UFC has been making bad biz move after bad one

    Andrei Arlovski is not an underperforming employee, he wanted more money and they shunned him

    What about Jake obrien? He’s 10-1 and has only 1 loss in the ufc, they cut him too buddy.

    UFC 80 barley did 100k buys, yahoo has an article up about how bad the overseas expansion has been.

    The UFC lost TONS of money on the Ireland show and same with every single london show.

    The only profitable show was Canada.

    Why do you think they signed Brock Lesnar for such a price? They are getting desperate. They need a new star.

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  • Chabb says:

    donny your an idiot, any way…. i think this is great cutting the fat that the ufc has. Tommy Speer should have been cut after he got choked out by danzig….thomas is a great fighter and im sure they will move him to the wec at 145……the others that have been cut lately are either TUF fighters or just BAD ones. how can any one say the ufc is loosing money ?

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  • Reaser says:

    Donny is an idiot…

    but just wanted to throw out for everyone saying “everyone hated Tim Sylvia”…I don’t hate him, I far from like him, but I don’t dislike him either, just a neutral guy to me who at one time was a dominating champion. It’s not like I will be pissed if and when he returns to the UFC.

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  • HexRei says:

    Donny, both those examples you named have been slammed for having boring fights. Arlovski vs Werdum was terrible and demanding more money (and IIRC a title shot) after that was the beginning of the end for him.

    Obrien is notorious for his laynpray style I’ll admit he has a nice record but he is boring to watch, even for grappling fans.

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  • Shawn says:

    Cutting these guys simply creates opportunities for more young guys to make their UFC debut’s and attempt to make their mark in the company. You get a shot, if you don’t perform up to par after a few outings you have to go prove yourself outside of the organization to make it back in. There are a lot of guys fighting in smaller shows that deserve a shot. On top of that there’s a limited number of spots available with only so many shows done per year. These fighters will be able to make more outside the UFC because they’ll be able to fight more often and they’ll be able to market themselves as “UFC veterans.” I say cut the fat.

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  • Kogepan says:

    Nice….guy takes too much punishment in the fight of the night and they lay his ass off.

    This is SO contratictory. First they say they want big action fights, then they fire your ass afterwards.

    Maybe Hironoka should have used the Starnes strategy of just backing away for 3 rounds…end result would have been the same.

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  • Evan says:

    “They spent $85 Million on Pride and didnt get shit”

    So now its 85 million eh?

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  • Zack says:

    don’t feed the troll

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  • AH says:

    Donny and Jiu jitsu guy should get together and have a “hate off” to see who can hate the most. Donny on the UFC and JJG on anyone without a Gracie black belt. could that be this weeks duel?

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Both Speer and Thomas would be well suited for the WEC, even in their current state. Hironaka is a bit iffy but he’s still a decent test for anyone. The guy had Fitch in a triangle for a fair part of their first round. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the WEC either.

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  • Donny says:

    I’m not hating one bit

    I’m just tellin it like it is bros.

    Fanboys cant stand the truth, even though its right in front of yous

    I had the same problem when pride died. I told everyone they were on their way out and losing money.

    but just like u guys, they made some dumb responses on how im a troll and what not.

    But what happened?

    Same thing is happening here, I cant believe you guys dont see it, its right in front of you

    or do u not want to see it?

    ask yourselves this question before you sleep tonight bros

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  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Didn’t Jiu Jitsu Guy quit this site…again?

    I doubt very much the UFC is in a state of decline. Sinking ships don’t sign deals with Budweiser.

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  • Brandon Sanchez says:

    I guess everyone forgot 83. What was it, two weeks ago? Biggest live event. Ever. Disgusting amounts of PPV. I guess everyone forgot, UFC profits. Every event. Where are they losing money? The strategy is to get rid of losing fighters. In most cases, the cuts are very warranted. Now the most recent ones, Din Thomas and Tommy Speer are too bad. These guys have fans, but again, are losing fighters. They can prove themselves again, and come back. No big deal. But yeah, let’s get rid of losing fighters, and keep explosive, winning guys. Stars, even. Thank God for most of these cuts. And the UFC is going now. That’s a fact.

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  • Brandon Sanchez says:

    And the UFC is going nowhere.*** I don’t know if I can Edit. Edit to 2nd to last sentence. Sorry.

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  • slimm says:

    i believe he has Sam for at my count the for fourth time now, and i miss JJG so so so very much i miss getting told that we are all idiots and how great the 19th gen of Gracies are going to be, o those were the days yet now we have Donny so iam thankful, jk Donny

    i dont believe that the UFC is going downhill they’re just cutting fighters that arent making their brand of MMA the way that they (ZUFFA) wants it to be, also Din and Speer imho are going to the WEC so the UFC had to terminate the contracts my opionion for what its worth cheers……

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  • Rich S. says:

    HOLY CRAP!

    they let Tommy Speer go fast! i mean.. ya.. he lost to danzig and then to rumble.. and i really can’t stand the guy..but geeze..

    and Din??
    i’m not even sad about that one cause i know he’s gonna go do great things for the 145 division..

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  • Reaser says:

    They should have sent (or send) Tommy Speer BACK to WEC…don’t forget before UFC that’s where his last fight was…and he won with a nice KO if I remember correctly…

    He’s just not ready for the UFC level yet, maybe never will be, but I remember him having a nice victory and looking good in WEC…

    Either way, I’m sure as hell glad he’s out of the UFC…hahah

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  • BJJDenver says:

    Donny, i don’t think you are an idiot, but i do think for some reason your views are skewed. In retrospect, buying Pride may have been a mistake, but while it seems huge, it is on par to me or you buying a shirt and then accidentally shrinking it. It sucks, it pisses us off, but it will hardly break us.

    If you take the time to re-read my last post, you will see that I am of the opinion that UFC is getting rid of under performing fighters. Now the thing you need to understand, is what that means. Does it mean losses piling up? Yes. Does it mean poor performance in the cage ala Starnes, Lutter and McCarthy? Yes. Does it mean getting rid of decent, even good fighters that aren’t pleasing to “UFC FANS”, like O’Brien and the recent Andrei? Yes.

    The one thing that all these new promotions is doing, is forcing the UFC to put on exciting, interesting fights. Now if a guy is good but not very entertaining, they are going to release him, if mma fans appreciate them. They are marketing to the majority, what I term as “UFC FANS”. These are the people that are only interested in brawls, huge KOs and bloodbaths. and like it or not, it is probably about 90% of their revenue base.

    I appreciate you sticking to your opinions, but it is ok to admit that you were probably wrong and go on with life.

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  • BJJDenver says:

    Left a word out:

    Now if a guy is good but not very entertaining, they are going to release him, EVEN if mma fans appreciate them.

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  • BJJDenver says:

    “but just wanted to throw out for everyone saying “everyone hated Tim Sylvia”…I don’t hate him, I far from like him, but I don’t dislike him either, just a neutral guy to me who at one time was a dominating champion. It’s not like I will be pissed if and when he returns to the UFC”

    I kind of agree, but a majority of fans do/did hate him. And I don’t like using “hate”, but damn if they didn’t hate him, lol.

    Funny thing was, I was starting to get to where I respected his fighting a little and even appreciated him some, even though I am far from a fan of his.

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  • Reaser says:

    #40, agree, 100%, and I was the same way, somewhat rooting for him but not really, ha…

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  • Rob says:

    pick up a business magazine Donny you moron. People on Wall St. are talking about the UFC. These guys own a friggin casino, now they are printing money in two separate business’

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  • platypus says:

    there used to be a special troll that lived under the bridge of sherdog known as donny7, for some reason that name rings a bell…..

    ufc is not having financial issues, circumstantial evidence means nothing unless figures are released and back it up, though they dont necessarily tell the whole story…

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  • […] Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that the UFC has released three more fighters:  Din Thomas, Kuniyoshi Hironaka, and Tommy Speer are three fighters involved in the UFC’s latest round of roster cuts, according to a report in the May 7 print edition of the Wrestling Observer. […]

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • slimm says:

    “a special troll that lived under the bridge of sherdog”
    absoulutely classic, thats great

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