On the Out
One of the top young prospects in the MMA world and also a free agent, Sage Northcutt is reviewing his options. The highly-rated youngster was a topic of discussion as UFC president Dana White spoke to the UFC unfiltered podcast suggesting Northcutt would no longer re-sign with the promotion.
“We let him go,” Dana White claimed. The paradox is that initially it was suggested that the fighter needs more time to let his career mature. Then the UFC might pick him up again in the future.
Within the UFC octagon, Northcutt earned 6 wins in his 8 fights. The news of the young Texan vacating the roster is surprising due to the fact he showed a great deal of potential.
Since the contract expired back in July the 22-year-old wasted no time. He attended an ONE Championship press conference in early November.
Rumors started appearing when Northcutt posted pictures from a family vacation in Genoa, Italy. The picture came days before Bellator 211 took place in the city. That post possibly encouraged Chatri Sityodtong to release a post on Twitter, praising the American talent.
Without a doubt, @sagenorthcutt is one of the most talented martial artists on the planet today. He possesses insane athleticism, incredible skills, and unlimited potential. Above all though, Sage is a wonderful human being with a heart of gold.
— Chatri Sityodtong (@YODCHATRI) November 28, 2018
In a report by ESPN, a different angle to this story came to light. The UFC held exclusive negotiation rights after the contract was over for a specific period of time. Since the expiring of Northcutt’s contract, the exclusive negotiating period is over. During that time, a new contract was not forged.
Following this exclusive negotiating period, the UFC still held the ability to match any offer Northcutt received while on the open market. According to the report, the free agent brought back one particularly pleasing deal but the UFC did not have the ability to match. That refusal most likely opened a ‘tug of war’ between ONE Championship and Bellator.
I approached both ONE Championship officials regarding the status of Northcutt’s employment. Nothing yet is confirmed. Bellator officials, however, did not comment. Although it would be odd for Scott Coker and Bellator to not hold an interest in Northcutt, only time will tell. For now, both promotions are keeping their cards close while attempting to catch the promising youngster.