Cheick Kongo’s UFC contract expired, will not be renewed


Longtime UFC Heavyweight Cheick Kongo has reportedly received his walking papers from the UFC today following his one-sided KO loss to Roy Nelson last Saturday. Kongo had been a staple of the UFC for many years, but his inability to pull off big wins in big fights ultimately spelled his undoing. 

UFC officials confirmed Kongo’s contract had expired and will not be renewed today with MMA Fighting, signifying his release.

Alden Halpern of MMA Elite tweeted the unfortunate news earlier today:

The massive French kickboxer had been on an upward trend prior to meeting Nelson at UFC 159, winning three out of his previous 4 bouts. However, his wins were over Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione while his losses were to Nelson and Roy Hunt.

He was also knocked out in those two bouts, signifying his ability to get to the big fight but not win it outright. This has been a common trend for Kongo, who also lost to perennial top-ranked heavyweights in Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. That had to lend to his release, and perhaps his snore-inducing win over Shawn Jordan at last summer’s maligned UFC 149 had a hand in the decision as well.

With his release, Kongo will look to land in a smaller MMA promotion, and most likely will soon. He could make an exciting opponent for the heavyweights in Bellator, and a Kongo-Arlovski bout over in WSOF would a slugfest I guess I’d watch. It seemed like Kongo still had some life yet in the UFC as a gatekeeper, but nothing more.

His asking price may have grown too high due to his long tenure as well. We’ll await an official announcement from the UFC. Did Cheick Kongo deserve to be cut, or had he earned one more shot?