Damn. Actually, that pretty much sums up my reaction to the recent news that Zuffa, UFC’s parent company, had cut former WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner from its roster. Varner and his reps confirmed the news the other day to various MMA media outlets.
If you are remotely familiar with our site you know that we have a healthy dose of appreciation for the exploits of Varner. Witnessing him in the cage, it’s hard not to root for the Arizona native. After all, it is rare an instance when Varner is not engaging in some heated fights. His rivalry with Cerrone was complemented beautifully with their action-packed scraps inside the WEC cage. Hell, I still like to point to his dismantling of Marcus Hicks at WEC 35 as proof of what damage a determined Varner can do.
But, going 0-3-1 in 2010 did not do Varner any favors. As we all quickly learned when Gerald Harris was cut by the UFC a few weeks back, now is not the time to bring anything but your best into the Octagon. With the UFC-WEC merger comes a high premium on roster spots within the Zuffa organization. Going winless in a year is not going to help you stay gainfully employed.
Will Varner be back? Probably so. He still has the tools to be a viable fighter and his name recognition still resonates. A couple of wins on the regional circuit should be enough for him to again start collecting a UFC paycheck.