Welterweight Ben Saunders joined the UFC in December of 2007 and over (roughly) three years of tenure amassed a record of 4 – 3. Exiting the brand in August of 2010 on a two fight losing streak, “Killa B” has since spent most of his time fighting in Bellator MMA. Going 7 – 3 in the junior circuit, Saunders had success in Bellator and indeed, fought in the promotion’s 170-pound tournament finale twice; however, he was never able to capture the big win, as he suffered two KO defeats to current BMMA welterweight champion Douglas Lima.
Absent from the Octagon since September of last year (2013) and his title challenge loss to Lima at Bellator 100, Saunders signed with Titan Fighting Championship this past June and was set to face Matt Riddle at Titan FC 29, with the pair duking it out for the promotion’s vacant welterweight title this coming August 22 (2014). However, that changed today, as Saunders has announced that he has been resigned by the UFC. Taking to his Twitter account on Thursday evening (August 7, 2014), Saunders made it official and thanked Titan FC’s management for letting him go.
— Ben Saunders (@bensaundersMMA) August 7, 2014
As to why Titan FC allowed Saunders to depart for the UFC, the answer is apt to be that the promotion had no fight to offer him. Saunders original opponent, Matt Riddle, became a scratch for the fight this week as he went down with an undisclosed injury and his replacement, (Brazilian) Landi-Jons, had to withdraw from the fight because of problems securing a visa to travel to the United States. As such, at least as of today, Saunders had no official opponent for his title bout. Given that fact, the promotion probably thought it was in the best interest of fighter and promotion relations to negate his contract.
Beyond that, Saunders has a “Zuffa clause” in his contract. The clause, as written into the agreement by the promotion, allows a Titan FC fighter to exit the brand (free and clear) if the UFC wishes to sign him. However, the contract does allow for the promotion to retain the fighter if he has a bout scheduled over the next 30 day period. However, as Saunders has no opponent for his scheduled match and the promotion is apparently having difficulty finding a fighter to step in on two weeks’ notice, Titan FC decided to waive their proviso.
As to a match and a date for “Killa B’s” octagon return, no particulars were made available.
Photo courtesy of Ben Saunders