As of next week, the UFC risk losing another outstanding talent as Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza is about to enter the last fight of his current contract.
There is no bigger topic in MMA at the moment than the potential Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather superfight. Additionally, the issues of weight cutting and fighter treatment are particularly important. However, the subject of free agency is a significant talking point that remains somewhat under the radar.
Under new ownership, the UFC has reduced its roster substantially as part of cost-cutting measures. Fighters approaching the final fights of their deals are having difficulty successfully negotiating improved contracts and are now testing the water elsewhere.
In recent times, former UFC stalwarts such as Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, Michael McDonald, Chael Sonnen, Benson Henderson, Matt Mitrione, Lorenz Larkin and Rory MacDonald have all jumped ship to the promotion’s leading competitor, Bellator MMA.
BJJ master, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, is a formidable force in the UFC’s middleweight division and many have aired their grievances about him not getting the next title shot. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion has been near flawless since joining the UFC with a record of 7-1; his sole defeat a controversial split decision loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 194.
Jacare Souza takes on surging middleweight contender Robert Whittaker this weekend at UFC Fight Night Kansas City. Earlier this week Jacare’s manager, Gilberto Faria, spoke to MMAfighting.com about his client’s ongoing negotiations and ambitions.
“We’ve been going back and forth with UFC officials for a while. We still have not reached an agreement on his value, but we will continue to talk after the fight. Our goal is to reach an agreement shortly. The UFC middleweight belt is Jacare’s goal. With a good contract in place we will keep fighting the best middleweight talents out there and earn the title shot.” via MMAfighting.com
Faria then went on to note Jacare’s desire to fight the best the division has to offer, unlike Michael Bisping who he feels is unworthy of being a champion.
“Jacare is the only guy out there who’s been vocal about fighting either Luke Rockhold or Yoel Romero. Nobody else is looking for this level of trouble, especially current UFC middleweight paper champion Michael Bisping. Jacare has a tough fight ahead of him (against Whittaker on Saturday) and this fight is what matters now”.
With potential high stakes rematches with Rockhold and Romero on the horizon, one can only hope the UFC and Jacare Souza can come to an agreement over a new deal as he is truly one of the modern greats of the middleweight class.