Given that the UFC decided not to renew the contract of Lucas Martins earlier in the week, it probably came as no surprise to Scotland’s Robert Whiteford when he got the call on Saturday morning to confirm that he had been released by the promotion .
After all, the two featherweights last appeared in the octagon together and it was Martins that emerged victorious. If the win wasn’t enough to save the 27-year-old Brazilian’s job, it seemed unlikely that the man he defeated would be allowed to cling to employment.
Whiteford made the announcement on Saturday afternoon via Twitter, magnanimously stating that he was “truly grateful for the opportunities and memories” afforded to him by the company.
Released @ufc this morning,truly grateful for the opportunities & memories,it was a blast ✌?️
— Robert Whiteford (@Flyinjudoka) May 21, 2016
The loss to Martins was Whiteford’s second in a row and his third since joining the promotion in 2013. His first defeat under the UFC banner came in his debut at UFC Fight Night 30, when he was submitted by Jim Hettes after taking the bout on short-notice.
Sandwiched in between that maiden loss and the pair that hastened his departure however, were two solid victories. The first of those came via decision against Daniel Pineda at UFC 171 in March of 2014, after which he was out of action for over a year.
His emotional second victory will be the thing that Whiteford is best remembered for though.
At UFC Fight Night 72 back in July of 2015, Whiteford stopped Irishman Paul Redmond in the opening round to send the crowd at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena into hysterics. “The Flyin Judoka” then legitimized that moniker by bounding over fence and jumping the security railing into the front row, where he was subsequently mobbed. The scenes were legitimately spine-tingling.
Afterwards, Whiteford gave a speech during which he constantly had to fight back tears as his countrymen and women cheered him on.
Whiteford said in his tweet that he was grateful for the memories that he would carry away from his tenure at the top, but we are sure there are plenty of Scottish MMA fans that would like to thank him for the memories of that night too.
— Robert Whiteford (@Flyinjudoka) April 10, 2016