Home UFC Dana White: Yushin Okami Had Become A Gatekeeper

Dana White: Yushin Okami Had Become A Gatekeeper


Yushin Okami joined a growing list of ranked UFC fighters to be cut by the management. We learned earlier this week that Okami had been released following his first round TKO loss to Jacare Souza in Brazil, Okami’s first loss in almost two years.

Okami, a one-time title challenger, had served with the UFC since 2006 and many fans attributed his release to the lack of finishes on his recent resume. UFC president Dana White spoke with Yahoo Sports to clarify the situation:

“He’s been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But, he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Heres a guy that’s beaten Hector Lombard, Alan Belcher, Mark Munoz, Nate Marquardt, Evan Tanner among others during his time in the UFC. I’d say that Okami has won many of his significant fights.

He was 3-1 in his last four outings, although it was a very feeble appearance against Souza; I’m not really sure that I agree with DW here. When you consider how long the UFC kept guys like Chael Sonnen, Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson and many others around with losing streaks, it certainly seems harsh.

I think the consensus may be right here, Okami is not entertaining enough for the UFC to keep around. This is a very cut throat business, and the UFC controls it with an iron fist. The question is: How much does it actually take to lose your job in the UFC?

I feel bad for Okami, but I’m sure that many more will join him in Bellator/WSOF in the months to come.

  • So big bald doesn't want gatekeepers huh, cut out Badder, Vera, Sturve, Belcher, Mir, Mittrione while he's at it, or is it just the "boring" ones who he sees needs to be cut off?

  • Dana's right about him being a gatekeeper but I don't agree with cutting him. He'd won a few too many fights and was making too much money for someone who didn't really help sell ppvs.

    • and your reason for not agreeing is…?

      • The UFC is where the best fighters in the world fight, he may never be champion but he's still one of the best fighters in the world in his weight class.

        • If you're a great gymnast, one of the best but fail to deliver stand out performances and score high points to bring home the gold medals, do you think they'll keep you on the national team?

          You'll have to go out there and prove yourself all over again, to maybe some day "earn" another shot! (If you're lucky…)

          It's the exact same thing. Why would it be any different for MMA?

          • Don't think he was cut for the same reasons that a gymnasts gets cut from a team, not buying it sorry.

  • I agree to a certain extend Rory, but when you make comparisons between Yushin and fighters like: Chael Sonnen, Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson… you've got to look at the big picture here. In all honesty the name "Yushin Okami" doesn't mean anything, doesn't have a huge fanbase. People could care less to tune in to one of his fights. It's about more than just your record, it has a lot to do with marketability of these athletes as well. If you're not marketable and on top of that don't deliver exciting fights, you have a problem. Yushin falls right into that category. He's a grinder but he's not exciting. He's been with the company for a long time. Beat some top guys too so it gets to the point now to where he gets too expensive to keep around if he doesn't bring anything to the table. From a business perspective it would make more sense to cut the dead weight loose and bring in a couple of new fish and invest in them in the hopes they grow into great assets for the company. At the end of the day its a "business" and every investment needs to be accounted for. Yushin's stock dropped, so they dumped him as any other smart business head would.

    • I agree with just about everything you are saying but I can't help but wish it was about the ranking and not the show. Otherwise we get to see who's the best of the exciting fighters or most fan orientated. I would rather know the ranks regardless of the fighters excitement. I am one to rant about boring fighters but that doesn't mean I want them gone for being boring. I want them gone by destruction of a more exciting fighter. If Fitch or GSP or Okami or Ben Askren are the best even if I don't like them I think it's important they stick around. Imagine a fighter saying "yeah, I got the job because a better fighter than me was more boring than me".

      • I don't know, to me it's up to the other fighters to reach their goals and not hope a guy that can kick their a s s gets cut for being boring. I hate when anyone wins a boring decision but I would not like it if he were cut either. UFC fighters are going to drop in fight value in replacement for commercial value. If Dana wants to cut guys start at the bottom and let the other up and comers try and get past guys like Okami and Fitch. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be interested in seeing who can get past those guys. I know plenty that hate their style but do they really want them gone or do they want the satisfaction of seeing them get beaten?

      • You have a point about the rankings to a certain degree… but that point would only be valid if the rankings were not made up by a bunch of fruitcakes. Anything past the top 3 is mostly a Mississippi Burning MESS in the "official" rankings. Other than that again… If you as a fighter have nothing to offer but boring fights. You're not making the company any money, so you have to go.

        If they would follow your "advice" and not drop the dead weight, we wouldn't be watching all these amazing events. Imagine a main card with GSP, Fitch and Okami on it… I'm sorry but if i want to watch a humpfest, i'd rather watch some ******* girl p*rn…

        • I agree it would be less amazing but I have a special pleasure in knowing that the best are fighting each other and not just the best of the exciting. I understand that the rankings are often screwed up but if the UFC is self respecting they would at least honor their own rankings and not throw out top ten fighters. Throw out the lower ranks, It's the UFC's own fault they gave so much weight initially to wrestling based tactics in the scoring system.

  • Bottom line is, Dana's the boss, If you can't give Dana his fair share of $hit, then you're out.

  • "It is show business..not show friends." -Bob Sugar-

  • None of you are real fans and just out to see blood
    The ufc is about the best fighters competing agains each other
    For me, watching okami neutralize elite fighters was exciting
    I get cutting lower tier fighters, but not okami or Fitch
    Dana White is a sleaze bag laughing his way to the bank on the blood and dreams these fighters

  • Why not just pay these "boring" fighters an "excitement" bonus so they would go in there and risk it for spectacular fights with awesome finishes. They did for Seth Petruzelli vs Kimbo Slice. It's just a step closer to the WWE but hey, it's more exciting, right? Tag team, free for all, ******** matches, storylines, and more to come… Wouldn't you pay $100 to watch Cain Velasquez vs JDS vs Overeem in a brass knuckles fight?

  • He was always one of my favorites along with Fitch. Damn it.

  • These are the reasons why the UFC can't be considered more "Sport" than "Sports entertainment" Rankings are meaningless in the UFC because even if you are ranked in the top 10, if you aren't also an exciting fighter your day is numbered the day you lose 1 fight and give the UFC a excuse to cut you. I'm all for exciting fights but to keep guys around like Dan Hardy with a 4 fight losing streak and then cut guys like Fitch and Okami when they lose 1?