Breaking News: Jose Aldo Requests Release From UFC Contract
On September 27th 2016, the UFC held their press conference for UFC 205; the promotion’s first event in Madison Square Garden. The press conference featured many UFC stars such as Frankie Edgar, Chris Weidman, Donald Cerrone, UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez and, of course his opponent, UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor. However, perhaps the biggest news of the day came shortly after the press conference as current interim UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo has requested his release from the UFC.
A Brewing Frustration
In an interview with Brazilian website Combate, Aldo vented his frustration with UFC President Dana White, the UFC itself, and his wish to be released from his contract. With McGregor slated to fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship against champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, Jose Aldo has grown frustrated at the promotions inability to find a resolution to the stagnation of the UFC Featherweight division.
“Conor himself said before that he wouldn’t give his belt away by any chance and nobody would take it away from him,” Aldo explained. “After all this, I see I can’t trust any word from president Dana White, and who’s in charge of the promotion now is Conor McGregor. Since I’m not here to be an employee of McGregor, today I ask to cancel my contract with the UFC.”
For Jose Aldo, a rematch with Conor McGregor was the former UFC Featherweight champions goal. At UFC 200, Aldo defeated Franke Edgar by unanimous decision to become the interim UFC Featherweight Champion. At UFC 202, it was loosely understood that regardless of the outcome, McGregor would either return to featherweight or relinquish his championship; thus making Jose Aldo the undisputed UFC Featherweight champion.
“I don’t believe in Dana saying that Conor would have to vacate one of the belts after UFC 205 because, based on what we’re seeing, this type of decision is not in his hands anymore, Conor makes the calls now,” said Aldo.
As the current interim UFC Featherweight Champion, the call for his release creates a complex situation. This is due to the fact that Jose Aldo is bound to what is called a “Champions Clause”. How a “Champions Clause” works is should a fighter win a UFC championship, their contract is automatically extended.
Section 4.2 of the UFC Code of Conduct states the following:
“4.2: If, at the expiration of the Term, Fighter is then a UFC champion, the Term shall automatically be extended for the period commencing on the Termination Date and ending on the later of (i) one (1) year from the Termination Date; or (ii) the date on which Fighter has participated in three (3) bouts promoted by ZUFFA, regardless of weight class or title, following the Termination Date (“Extension Term”). Any reference to the Term herein shall be deemed to include a reference to the Extension Term, where applicable.”
It will be interesting to see how President Dana White and the UFC respond to Aldo’s statement. Check back to MMASucka for all the details as this situation unfolds.