UFC Releases Japanese Star Yushin Okami

Sep 4, 2013; Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL;  Yushin Okami (red shorts) fights against Ronaldo Jacare Souza during UFC Fight Night at Mineirinho Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2013

In one of the most unbelievable releases since Jon Fitch, the UFC has decided to release Japanese middleweight contender Yushin Okami, according to MMA Junkie.

Okami, a former middleweight title challenger, is 3-1 in his last four fights. He beat stars like Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard in that time, but he lost his most recent bout to current contender Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.

Okami has long been one of the staples of the 185-pound division. Debuting back at UFC 62, Okami went 13-5 in the company against some of the top fighters in the world.

He is one of just a couple of people who owns a win over Anderson Silva, albeit via disqualification. He is also one of the few Japanese fighters who has come over to the UFC and experienced great success (many of the Japanese fighters flop for one reason or another).

With the current resume and high quality of wins that Okami has, it is hard to understand why he was given his walking papers. The 18-fight UFC vet owns wins over Lombard, Belcher (twice), Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz and many others.

Plus, with the UFC's push into Asia, such as UFC Fight Night 34 in Singapore, it's head-scratching to think such a marketable Asian hero would be cut loose when he could draw fans in that area.

One thing is certain: no man is safe now.

What boggles the minds of many is that the UFC let Okami go when guys like Dave Herman and Dustin Pague can lose three and four straight and not be contenders.

As we are left scratching our heads, we will see what the next move is for "Thunder." Will it be Bellator? Will it be World Series of Fighting? Or will he return to his native Japan to work with a company like Pancrase or Deep?

Time will tell. Stay tuned with Bleacher Report to see what his plans are for the future.

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