BY CHAUNCE HAYDEN
Looks don’t get you everywhere in this world. Young gun Sage Northcutt found that out the hard way on
Tuesday when he was let go from the UFC despite winning his past three fights.
UFC president Dana White provided some clarity on the 22-year-old’s situation, saying the promotion
didn’t want to sign him to another deal after his current contract expired. White said Northcutt is still raw and, despite his
impressive resume in the UFC, would benefit by maturing in another promotion. “His contract was up, so we let him go,” White said. “Sage is young and Sage needs some work. So let him get some work in one of these other organizations and
we’ll see where this kid ends up in a couple of years and maybe we’ll pick him back up again.”
Northcutt last fought in July, when he left with a second-round KO of Zak Ottow.
He’s won six times in eight visits to the Octagon, fighting at welterweight and lightweight. Since losing via a second-round submission to Mickey Gall in late 2016, Northcutt has done all that’s been asked of him. Two unanimous decision victories over Michel Quinones and Thibault Gouti preceded his latest win over Ottow.
The UFC’s refusal to give him another contract is a kick in the guts — or the six-pack — for Northcutt, who burst onto the scene as
a teenager with an opening round KO of Francisco Trevino at UFC 192 in 2015. Then 19, Northcutt’s future looked as bright as his teeth. He was discovered on reality TV show “Dana White: Looking for a Fight” and became the UFC’s third-youngest debutant when he squared off against Trevino.
Many were expecting Northcutt, a child actor and model with peroxide blond hair and a ripped physique, to have
his good looks beaten out of him as they predicted a publicity stunt that was going to fail.
But the man who looks like a human Ken doll proved the doubters wrong with a debut win over Trevino and then followed that up with a victory over Cody Pfister, who he submitted in the second round at a fight night in December 2015.
The UFC put the full weight of its promotional machine behind Northcutt, who looked like he was becoming the golden boy of
the sport — at least in terms of marketability, if not necessarily championship-winning credentials.
But it’s been a rapid fall from grace for the boy wonder. Despite his impressive record, there have always been question marks over Northcutt’s ability to go toe to toe with top-tier fighters when his natural athleticism isn’t enough. White seems to have put himself in that camp by encouraging Northcutt to go away and improve as a fighter, leaving the door open for him to return when he’s a more polished product.
There are a few options for Northcutt as he contemplates life off the UFC books. He’s previously mentioned his interest in
signing with Singapore’s ONE Championship or Bellator.