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Ian McCall granted release from UFC contract

One of the UFC’s best known flyweight fighters is no longer with the promotion.

Ian McCall told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that he has been released from his UFC contract. Previously, McCall said he wouldn’t feel comfortable returning to the UFC under his standing contract due to health issues, including brain treatment.

McCall said he asked the UFC for his release and was granted it.

“I’m a free agent now. If I’m gonna fight, I want to fight for at least $100,000 — 50 and 50 is fine,” McCall said.

McCall said he’d like to go and fight for Rizin, since he has never fought in Japan before. If that doesn’t work and the money isn’t there, he very well could hang up the gloves.

“I’m gonna take this, go to a different market and see if it works,” McCall said.

McCall (13-5-1) has not fought since a unanimous decision loss to John Lineker at UFC 183 in January 2015. In 2016 and early 2017, McCall had four straight fights drop off the card during fight week due to injury, illness or weight-cut problems. Twice it was McCall’s own troubles and the other two times were issues with his opponent.

“Most people don’t know I ended up in the hospital six times in the last year,” McCall said. ... “It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.”

“Uncle Creepy” famously fought Demetrious Johnson to a majority draw in the inaugural UFC flyweight title fight in March 2012. He lost the rematch with Johnson three months later and Johnson has gone on to set the UFC record with 11 straight title defenses. McCall, 33, has gone only 2-3 since then.

McCall said ideally he would go to another organization, amass some victories and maybe end up back in the UFC one day at a higher salary point.

“I just figure I’ll go out, cause some trouble, travel the world, make some money and see if I can create some want,” he said. “Some need from the fans, like ‘You need to re-sign this guy, you need to pay him the money that he wants’ and then we’ll go from there. Like I said, if nobody wants to pay me, then I’ll go back to my job.”

The last few years have been difficult for McCall, who has been open about past issues with substance abuse. And recently, there have been changes in his life. He left his longtime coach Colin Oyama and also let go his agent Jason House.

Without any management, McCall admits he’s taking a chance by leaving the UFC and trying to find the right financial fit somewhere else. But, working with Jason Parillo and Darryl Christian at RVCA near his Orange County home, McCall said he’s happy and healthy.

“It’s just a business move,” McCall said. “I’m just trying to go out there and trying to cause a little ruckus. I don’t know, we’ll see how it works. This could fail completely, I’m not stupid. I’ve been part of a lot of business ventures that have failed. Life is worth risking, in my opinion.”

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