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Not cut, Ben Saunders explains why he’s no longer on the UFC roster

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Ben Saunders wanted to clear up a few things, so he took to the UG forum Monday evening.

After news surfaced that he was no longer with the UFC, the popular welterweight fighter explained his version of what went on over the last few months. Saunders said he was not cut by the UFC. Instead, he said he fought out his contract and, due to multiple personal reasons, was not quick to re-sign.

Once Saunders did feel ready to put pen on paper, he said, it was too late. The UFC had already moved on without him.

"Fixing all of these aspects of my personal life and my career was not an easy task, but once I finally felt confident and had my mind right again, it was unfortunately too late," Saunders said. "UFC had filled my spot on their limited roster, which I completely understood. Once again, they don't know anything about any of this going on in my life, and I would imagine just considered my silence a form of resignation."

Saunders (19-7-2) went 3-1 during this latest run with the UFC and had some notable, exciting victories. His last bout, a loss to Patrick Cote back in January, was lackluster. And Saunders says there was a lot going on in his life prior to that bout.

"Killa B" said he had training camp issues and management troubles over the last few months. On top of that, he was dealing with the death of his grandmother and grandfather before the Cote bout.

"Needless to say I was not in the right state of mind, and physically, and mentally had a too much going on, which I tried to fight through hoping it would help keep me sane and my emotions in check by staying busy," Saunders wrote. "Combine that with the fact that I was on a 3 fight win streak and the pressures of trying to make the last fight on my contract a memorable one. It all just was an unfortunate cluster [expletive], with everyone and their mom, having different opinions and ideas of what should and should not happen. As stupid as it may sound, I felt lost and alone, which is an awful place to be in general, let alone while trying to compete at the highest level."

Saunders, 33, said he was ready to jump on the card at UFC 202 and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was all for it. But, according to Saunders, the UFC and USADA wanted him to go into the USADA testing pool for four months before re-signing and being booked into a bout.

"I don't know the logistics, or all the details exactly, but if it is a ruling to keep our sport clean and safe, then I respect the decision 100%," Saunders wrote. "But once again I am just forced to deal with another "Unfortunate Circumstance" in my life, and know that I need to not focus on what I can't change or do, and just focus on what I can. Like the Dalai Lama says "The meaning of Life is Happiness" and I believe that completely. So I am just gonna keep doing me no matter what struggles life may throw at me. Trying my best to do what makes me Happy in life."

In the meantime, Saunders appears to be booked to face fellow former UFC fighter Jacob Volkmann on a regional show called Fight Night at the Island on Sept. 9 at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Welch, Minn..

Saunders, who finished the first omoplata submission in UFC history back in 2014, thanks the fans in the post as well as coaches Eddie Bravo and Antoni Hardonk. Saunders, a Florida native, trained in Los Angeles his last few camps, grappling with Bravo and striking with Hardonk.

"I don't know what my future holds, but I do know and believe that when I am focused, and emotionally intact, in shape, and well prepared, I have the tools to beat anyone in the world at my weight class," Saunders wrote. "I have a very unique and deadly skill set, that would give anyone in the top 10 fits with the right preparations."