Just a week ago, Yair Rodriguez was getting ready to test the free agent waters.
Now, his relationship with the UFC — which cut him for what it claims was a refusal to accept a fight — is seemingly better than ever. The tide began to change on Friday, when ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto reported that the UFC had rescinded the termination of Rodriguez’s contract to set up a potential fight between the Mexican featherweight and Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC 228.
On Saturday, Rodriguez released a statement explaining how things played out. The saga took a positive turn when “El Pantera” met with matchmaker Sean Shelby face-to-face over lunch.
“I address to all my fans, friends and family for always [being] supportive of my career. As well I’ll like to thank all of those companies showing interest in my persona and work,” Rodriguez wrote.
“Sean Shelby and I have a friend in common, Mario Delgado, he was the connection between us. He set up a meeting between Sean and I, where we had a friendly conversation during lunch on Friday. We got into the [conversation and realized] that what happened was a big miscommunication and bad timing.”
UFC 228 is scheduled to take place on Sept. 8, but no location or venue has been announced for the event. Just one week ago, UFC President Dana White issued a stern warning, using Rodriguez as an example, to fighters who turn down bouts within the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Now, however, all appears to be well between Rodriguez and the UFC.
“After the conversation I’m happy to know that the UFC and I are [on] the best terms ever and now I’m back [on] track to chase my dream of [becoming] a UFC champion.
“Zabit Magomedsharipov, see you Sept. 8 in Las Vegas.”
Rodriguez emerged as one of the UFC’s brightest prospects with victories in his first six Octagon appearances. He hasn’t competed since suffering his first promotional defeat in May 2017, a second-round stoppage loss to Frankie Edgar at UFC 211.