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Dana White explains release of John Lineker: ‘The guy wasn’t being professional’

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John Lineker (EL)
Dana White cites Lineker's past scale issues as one of the reasons why he was cut.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The release of top 10-ranked John Lineker by the UFC caught many by surprise, but neither side was going on record to discuss the decision. That changed on Friday, when UFC president Dana White spoke with TSN.

Asked why the promotion decided to cut a fan-favorite brawler who went 12-4 in the Octagon with seven of those wins coming by way of stoppage and four post-fight bonuses, White offered an explanation.

“I think it was because he hasn’t made weight a few times,” White said, “and I just know that the matchmakers were super frustrated with him. The guy wasn’t being professional.”

Lineker declined to comment.

Lineker failed to make weight five times under the UFC banner, four of those happening back in his flyweight days between 2012 and 2015. The Brazilian fought eight times since moving up to bantamweight in 2015, coming in heavy only once, in a 2016 clash with John Dodson.

The American Top Team product went on social media weeks ago with a strong message to the UFC, basically asking the company to be given a fight or his release.

The UFC then booked a rematch with Rob Font for June 22, but he withdrew in the 11th hour citing a facial laceration during his weight cut.

“When you don’t make it to the Octagon neither, a bunch of times, it’s a waste of everybody’s time, energy and money,” White said. “We expect guys to be professional, do what they’re supposed to do, show up. The matchmakers were done, they had it.”

The 29-year-old fighter entered free agency with an overall record of 31 wins and nine losses that includes victories over Brian Kelleher, Marlon Vera, John Dodson, Michael McDonald, Rob Font, Francisco Rivera Jr. and Ian McCall.