The combat world was thrown for a loop earlier this week when it was revealed that perennial bantamweight contender John Lineker had been released from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Lineker, only 29, had compiled a 12-4 record inside of the Octagon since his UFC debut back in 2012. As someone who threw knockout power with each and every one of his punches Lineker seemed like the type of fighter UFC would want to keep around for a long time.
Until now, fight fans weren’t sure why UFC cut ties with one of the best knockout artists south of 155 pounds. In a recent interview with TSN, UFC president Dana White detailed the promotion’s decision to let “Hands of Stone” go.
“I think it was because he hasn’t made weight a few times,” said White, “and I just know that the matchmakers were super frustrated with him. The guy wasn’t being professional.
“When you don’t make it to the octagon either a bunch of times, it’s a waste of everybody’s time, energy and money. We expect guys to be professional, do what they’re supposed to do, show up. The matchmakers were done. They had it.”
Lineker, who dropped a split decision to rising contender Cory Sandhagen back at UFC on ESPN+ 8 this past April, was hoping to land a quick turnaround fight to get back into the bantamweight win column. When UFC seemed slow to book his next fight Lineker went as far as telling the promotion to release him.
Despite White’s claim that Lineker’s release revolved around his inability to cut weight, Lineker hadn’t missed weight since coming in at 136.5 pounds for his bantamweight clash with John Dodson back in 2016. The Brazilian successfully touched the scale for his next four fights, which was the longest streak of his UFC career.
Still, UFC felt like now was a good time to part ways with the heavy-handed knockout artist and let another promotion take on a disgruntled fighter with a history of failed weight cuts.