Ricardo Lamas has responded to Yair Rodriguez’s description of the events leading up to his UFC release.
Approximately two weeks ago, Yair Rodriguez was released from the UFC. According to Dana White, Rodriguez was released for turning down fights with Ricardo Lamas and Zabit Magomedsharipov, and that if a fighter is unwilling to fight after a year off, the promotion “has no use for him.” Chael Sonnen also shed insight on the matter, saying the two-strike policy on potential consequences for turning down consecutive fights in the UFC was an unwritten rule. It wasn’t until Monday on the MMA Hour when speaking to Ariel Helwani, that Rodriguez would give his side of the story:
“They said Ricardo Lamas, then I said yes to Ricardo Lamas. I accepted to fight Ricardo Lamas, but then I later learned that he didn’t take the fight with me. He decided to fight [Mirsad] Bektic instead. Then, during that process, the Zabit fight was causing a lot of hype on social media… I was like, alright, this is going to be great. I started looking at the big potential for this fight. And it was kind of my fault that I…like a week after Lamas declined the fight, Sean Shelby called me again and he said, ‘hey, the Lamas fight is still back open. It’s back open for you to fight.’ And after I was asking for any top 10 [opponent] and they didn’t want to give it to me, and then Lamas took Bektic instead of me, I was kind of disappointed. Just kind of disappointed, I’ll say that.”
Speaking with AJ Hawk and RJ Clifford on SiriusXm, Lamas shared his side of the story:
“We approached UFC because we heard they were coming to Chicago, so we wanted to get on the card. The first person they came back to us with was Mirsad Bektic. They said, ‘You want to fight in Chicago? The only fighter we have right now is Mirsad.’ So we verbally accepted to that right away, obviously, because they said it was the only person. And we were waiting to hear from Mirsad’s camp. And during that time, Sean Shelby had come back to us and said that Yair Rodriguez is also an option. So we said, we don’t care; we’ll fight whoever.”
Lamas corroborates Rodriguez’s claim that he accepted the fight, but once Yair became aware that Lamas had verbally agreed to fight Mirsad Bektic before agreeing to fight him, he had a chance of heart:
“And then Sean went back, apparently Yair had accepted the fight already, so that part’s true. That’s what Sean told us when he came to us, he said, ‘The other option is Yair, and he’s already verbally accepted.’ So we said, we don’t care; we’ll fight whoever. So Sean went back to Yair to try to lock it up. And then I guess when Yair found out I had verbally accepted to Mirsad first, then he backed out of the fight.”
If you look at both stories, they are mostly consistent with one another. Both men agree that Yair accepted the fight, and both men agree that Lamas agreed to fight Bektic first. In fact, they both even seem to agree that Lamas agreeing to fight Bektic was the reason Yair did not fight him. The fissure between the stories occurs when Yair claims Lamas chose to fight Bektic instead of him. This puts the final decision for the fight not taking place on Lamas. Meanwhile, Lamas says it was Yair who ultimately decided not to follow through on the fight. The one person who knows how exactly this all unfolded and in what sequence would be Sean Shelby. And even if he were to address this issue, at this point, it’s predictable which side of the story he would lean towards.
What do you think? Was this a case of miscommunication? Or is one party not being truthful about why the Lamas/Rodriguez fight was not made?