Misha Cirkunov, one of the most promising up and coming fighters in the UFC’s light heavyweight fold, will have to continue his mixed martial arts career outside of the Las Vegas based promotion, according to comments from UFC president Dana White.
Latvian Cirkunov has earned finishes in all of his first four bouts in the UFC and his name was steadily growing as one of the next contenders in the light heavyweight division which has been dominated by four fighters — Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson — in recent years. Despite Cirkunov’s early promise in the octagon, UFC president Dana White has said that the 29-year-old is free to sign with another organisation after contracts talks with the 205-pounder stalled.
“I met with Misha and his wife, and good people and everything else, but he ended up really flaking out on the deal”, White said to TSN. “So I’m not interested. I’m done. He knows I’m done. I made it very clear I’m done.”
Cirkunov was most recently seen in the cage when he defeated fellow prospect Nikita Krylov by first round guillotine choke at UFC 206 in December. It is unclear the reasons for the contract talks reaching an impasse but White says that the relationship between both parties is now untenable.
“You’ll see him somewhere,” White said. “It just won’t be here.”
Cirkunov’s availability will alert the likes of Bellator MMA president Scott Coker who are seemingly in the midst of a drive to recruit more talent to swell their roster and could join Ryan Bader, who is rumoured to be close to agreeing terms with Coker, as the latest UFC defectors to Bellator.