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Dana White explains why UFC released Yoel Romero, promises ‘serious cuts’ are coming to entire roster

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Yoel Romero won’t likely be the last notable name to be released from the UFC in the near future.

Despite four title shots and a No. 5 middleweight ranking in the UFC, Romero was released from the promotion earlier this week while still having three fights remaining on his contract. It was a stunning turn of events after the one-time Olympic silver medalist in wrestling just competed for the middleweight title back in March.

Now Romero is no longer part of the roster.

On Saturday night at the UFC Vegas 16 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White explained why the promotion parted ways with Romero. White indicated Romero will be joined by a long list of fighters before 2020 concludes.

“It’s not just Yoel,” White said when asked about Romero’s release. “We’re going to go through some serious cuts here at the end of the year. Probably going to have 60 cuts before the first of the year. Yoel has lost four of his last five. He’s 44 years old. Our roster is very inflated right now. We’re going to have some big cuts coming before the end of the year.

“You’re going to see a lot of names going here in the next several weeks.”

While White is correct when assessing Romero’s recent record, it doesn’t speak to the larger impact he’s had on the division in recent years. Four of the past five times the Cuban born middleweight set foot in the octagon, he was engaged in a title fight.

Romero has taken part in three “Fight of the Night” performances and wasn’t finished in any of those losses. Still, White insisted Romero was sacrificed because it made sense for the UFC and there were no outside factors at work.

“Nothing like that,” White said. “No, we’re just literally starting to go through the list. He’s 44, he’s lost four of his last five and these are the tough decisions you’ve got to make.”

Aside from his record, it’s also worth noting that Romero took home a disclosed $350,000 for his most recent title fight with Adesanya after earning $150,000 for his battle with Paulo Costa. Based on those figures, it’s entirely possible that finances played at least some part in the UFC’s decision to part ways with Romero.

It must also be noted that between August and November, the UFC added a total of 37 fighters to the roster from the Contender Series alone, and White has previously promised that the overall roster would need to be slimmed down.