UFC’s No. 6 ranked middleweight Yushin Okami has signed with the upstart World Series of Fighting and will make his debut early next spring.
— Ray Sefo (@SugarRaySefo) October 13, 2013
Okami (29-8) was cut after a TKO loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in September. The decision to cut Okami stunned the MMA world. Fighters, particularly Top-10 ones, don’t usually get cut after one loss. Okami had won his three previous fights, beating Alan Belcher, Hector Lombard and Buddy Roberts.
Okami also holds victories over Nate Marquardt and Mark Munoz.
Okami compiled a 13-5 record in the UFC. He fought for the company for seven years. UFC President Dana White said after he cut Okami that the Japanese fighter’s best UFC days appeared behind him.
“He’s one of the best Japanese fighters ever,” White told the media in September. “But a guy gets to a point where he becomes the gatekeeper. It’s time for Yushin Okami to go out and test himself outside of the UFC, get some wins and maybe come back. Yushin Okami had every opportunity in the world, taking on all the best. He even got a title shot and didn’t win. It is what it is. It’s no different than the NFL, soccer or any other sport.”
The signing of Okami is the latest move by the WSOF as it attempts to establish itself as a major player in MMA. The WSOF last month announced that it had acquired Canada’s Aggression Fighting Championship. Its shows are broadcast on the NBC Sports Network and the league will crown its first welterweight champion Oct. 26 when Josh Burkman battles Steve Carl.