The UFC Cuts Another Ranked Fighter: Okami Is Gone

The UFC Cuts Another Ranked Fighter: Okami Is Gone


Yushin “Thunder” Okami is no longer.

It has been announced today, that the seven year veteran has been released by the UFC and is free to go his way.

Okami stood a 13 & 5 record, with only five of his victories coming by way of stoppage (39%); 3 TKO’s, 1 KO & 1 submission. Although not overwhelming in fan pleasing stoppages, Okami was nonetheless a successful fighter and was indeed 3 & 1 over his last four fights.

However, in his last outing Thunder was completely outclassed and mauled by Jacare Souza, who laid out his opponent by way of TKO in the first round and as such, Okami looked more like a permanent gatekeeper at 185 then a title contender.

With this announcement and as confirmed by, it appears that the UFC has determined that Okami’s lack luster performance style and suspect chin, were no longer a good match for the promotion’s rosters.

As an ancillary note, we might also consider Okami’s lack of popularity or fan base. Thunder has been in the UFC for seven years and in that time, one would be hard pressed to say that he’d built a significant North American fan base. Of course, a great deal of that might have to do with the (Japanese) language barrier. However, as other foreign fighters have been able to overcome that hindrance via their Ocatagon performances, Okami stands little defense regarding his lack of accomplishment in this area.

With Okami being ranked number six in the middleweight division, this marks the second time in a year (Jon Fitch in February) that the UFC has cut a ranked fighter. As such, this once again confirms to us that performances and not just wins matter to the senior promotion, and that win or lose, they want exciting fights from their fighters.

My guess will be that Okami is too high a prize to pass-by and that he’ll end up being signed by Bellator MMA, thus continuing the ongoing trend of x-UFC fighters leaching onto the junior promotion’s rosters.

Finally, it will be interesting to see fan reaction to the cut, particularly given that the promotion is jettisoning a ranked fighter with a 3 & 1 record over his last four, but keeping a fighter like Tim Boetsch, who, coincidently, was just removed from the 185 pound’s top ten list in favor of Francis Carmont. If Boetsch somehow climbs back on in replacement of Okami, it will be truly ironic.    

Good luck to Thunder no matter where he goes or what he does. He might not have been the most exciting fighter to grace the Octagon, but nonetheless, he’s a solid fighter and earned his ranking; he exits with that intact. As rankings do matter, Okami is still number six in the world to anyone who really knows.

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  • dropkickmurphy

    I would much rather watch Boetsch lose than Okami win. His boring win over Alan Belcher was one of the worst fights I have ever watched.

    • Brian Cox

      Well, there ya have it Drop. You might be hitting the nail on the head, with your sentiments.

    • highkick12

      Bang on. Hes not entertaining and he'll never be the champ. Make room for fresh talent.

  • N.C.

    What does Fitch and Okami have in common? guys who don't have crazy fan bases but questioned fighter pay And actually brought up good points. They also have in common being top 10 fighters who got fired for little more then 1 loss.

    • David Saucier

      Your leaving out the most important part, they are boring in the UFC's eyes.

      • N.C.

        Imagine if other sports did that?

        Italy banned from international soccer because of their international style of play. Spur's defense first style of play getting them dumped from the league.Or jersey kicked out of the NHL during the mid ice trap years.

        Is UFC a sport? Or has it become the North American Pride FC? At least Pride was more entertaining.

        • Brian Cox

          NC, I share your concerns and observations.

          Teams and players in the "big four" go years without wins, yet the fans still cheer. Why should it be any less so, for MMA?

          • japanegro23

            I don't get it. Some people defend GSP or Clay and Pray Guida but can't defend Okami's style. Some people hate Machida's style too. I mean all his fights are boring except the 5 seconds where he's knocking someone out. If you're winning, regardless of how boring, you should be able to stay. Especially if you're ranked! It just doesn't make sense. MMA is supposed to be MIXED martial arts. Yes even the boring ones…. I hate laying and praying but if you win with it, that shouldn't get you kicked out of an organization.

          • Brian Cox

            Jap, the points you raise are all valid; very much, so.

        • highkick12

          The big difference is NJ, the spurs and Italy are all champions.

  • griffin

    unlike jon fitch who was clearly on the downside of his career Okami is still one of the best fighters and there are tons of guys more boring than him. how about they cut tree stump lombard who for some ********reason is being paid 300K+ and has been one of the biggest prospect flops in ufc history

    • thexperience1

      Lombard is still a big draw Yushin is not… simple math!

      • japanegro23

        What is a big draw to you exactly? Lombard wouldn't sell any PPVs.

        • Janice Lane

          I'd tune in to watch Lombard any day.. at least he comes in trying to seperate your head from your body. I couldn't care less about Mr. Thunderless…

          • japanegro23

            I'm not saying I wouldn't watch Hector but is he a big draw? No not really.

  • mmauk

    The UFC are clearly sending a message here once again.
    If your not exciting you better stay winning or your getting cut. If your boring but earn good money because you were once a title contender your getting cut.
    I'm sure both Fitch and Okami could have stayed for less money, but there are big pay day for former UFC fighters out there. However even if they win or lose fights outside the UFC, they may never come back or if they do they'll be on less money.

  • Krogan

    UFC can send all the messages they want to me I just see a UFC that is less and less about the competition and seeing who the best fighters on the planet are and more and more about entertainment. However I believe the UFC are misguided in their belief that what true MMA fans find entertaining is seeing the best of the best not the some sloppy bar fight.

    • David Saucier

      When the UFC does do the right thing for instance in the LHW division they are giving the next contender Glover a shot at the belt instead of a rematch with Gus that would bring in more money guaranteed. People still *****, people just love to complain and criticize. Iim not saying i agree with Okami being cut, just pointing out that fans will never be pleased.

  • akieyugames

    Hello Bellator.

  • DeeJaySlyTee

    Wow… And yet again Mir is still hanging around… SMFH..DW