There might be more to Yushin Okami vs Chael Sonnen being on the undercard than just the general opinion that Okami is boring. Chael Sonnen took a few seconds out from shopping for underwear or something to talk about the fight and had this to say:
“Its been kinda under the radar in all aspects from posting to media to TV, I dunno if there’s a contract dispute between Okami and Zuffa … or what the situation is. But yeah, it’s definitely not a match that’s been promoted very much.”
So what’s the situation … is Yushin Okami on the receiving end of a potential freeze and dump? Let’s take a look at the situation. Okami’s last contract renewal was back in November of 2007, after his win over Jason MacDonald. He re-upped but no details came out about how many fights it was for (although there was speculation that Okami would end up signing with FEG). But this fight against Sonnen is fight number 3 on that deal. So it could be the last.
As for a freeze out, Okami has been pretty inactive but that has more to do with his fragile bones and ligaments than any UFC evil. And as for the dark match dump, that’s where Okami’s last fight against Dean Lister happened, and it justified it’s position by being a terrible bore. Since the UFC regularly shafts Okami with prelim duty (he still gets prime placement in Asian markets), we can’t read too much into that.
So is there a freeze out? I have my doubts. I guess we’ll find out after the Sonnen fight if Okami returns to the Octagon or ends up back in Japan.