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Jorge Gurgel released from UFC; signs with Strikeforce

The UFC may have released Jorge Gurgel, but Gurgel’s time out of work did not last long. has learned that just a few minutes later following his release, Gurgel signed a multi-fight deal with the Strikeforce organization.

Gurgel had a string of exciting fights in the UFC culminating with the unanimous decision loss to Aaron Riley at UFC 91. Even in defeat, Gurgel pocketed an additional 60k as he and Riley took home fight of the night honors. More often than not though, Gurgel ended up on the losing side of the ledger. His UFC record stands at 3-4 at the time of his release.

Strikeforce has a few well known lightweights at the top of its rankings. Gurgel was quick to point out a couple of guys he’d like to face.

“There are some amazing contenders in my weight class including Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez,” said Gurgel, “I will do whatever it takes to climb to the top of this league.”

Gurgel is optimistic about fighting outside of the Octagon.

“I am very excited to be a part of Strikeforce and given a chance to fight new blood and capture a belt.”

  • hola says:

    Maybe he’ll use his BJJ this time and actually win in good fashion. I respect the guy but man he had his jaw wired shut from wanting to just sit there and strike( previous fight) and not use his talents. LIght bulb would click for me that im not using my strengths!

  • Sam Caplan says:

    I don’t understand the criticism of Jorge Gurgel not using his BJJ more. If Gurgel tries to take a guy down and grind out a win, he gets paid, what $4,000 to show and another $4,000 to win for a total of $8,000? And if the fight isn’t exciting not only is limited to 8K, but he runs the risk of having a boring fight if his jiu-jitsu isn’t fluid on the ground.

    So by standing and trading, he earned a $60,000 bonus for his last fight. So he could either go for a 4K win bonus or a 60K win bonus? Is it any wonder why he’s not using his BJJ more? With the Fight of the Night bonuses he’s collected, he’s probably just about ready to open another school.

    And my feeling is that if Gurgel hadn’t been involved with so many standup wars, he probably would have been cut by the UFC a long time ago.

    I don’t think people gave Gurgel enough credit because I really believe there was a method to the madness.

  • Jesse says:

    Sam, I think the logic behind the Gurgel should have used his BJJ is that if he did employ it more often his record wouldn’t have been 3-4 in the UFC. Plus, come renegotiation time he could have asked for more money for fights moving forward.

    I do agree with your statement that there was a method to the madness, but I also believe he could have kicked in the BJJ in a few of his fights to try for a submission finish when things on the feet were a stalemate. He is world class so it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that he could have done just that.

    Time will tell what approach he brings to Stikeforce.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    If Gurgel had used his BJJ more, maybe he would have been .500 instead of below it. But as we learned from Fabricio Werdum, a .500 record isn’t good enough sometimes. Had Gurgel moved up the pay scale and lost, he likely would have been deemed expendable long before now.

    Winning isn’t good enough. You’ve got to make things exciting in the UFC. And that’s what Gurgel tried to do. By standing up, he earned a lot more money than he would have had he used his BJJ more.

  • Nick says:

    something about him has always bugged me about him so i’m not sad to see him go……and sorry but i hope josh and gilbert tool him too.

    good for strikeforce though in securing a decent fighter with a name as i hope they continue to grow and become even more sucessful.

  • Nick says:

    wow the grammar of my first line was horrid

  • Frank Mur says:

    Sam, I am sure that had Gurgel used his BJJ more his record would have been better and his odds of capturing sub of the night would have been as good as winning fight of the night. This is MMA, if every great wrestler and BJJ practitioner tried to stand and trade in an attempt to get FOTN the game would not be the stylelistic chessmatch that it is.

  • greg says:

    sounds to me like dana and george had this planned out….”he signed a new contract minutes later”….so i take it theres no hard feelings

  • MasterZero says:

    Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out Jorge. In Strikeforce, try to remember to use some Jitz instead of trading on the feet en route to a unanimous decision loss.

  • Bear says:

    I guess that I would have to agree with Sam if Jurgel would have won more fights then lost. Sure you need to be exciting but you also need to win. Sub of the night pays the same as FOTN so why not go for some slick submissions?

    And anyone that watched Maia/McDonald will tell you that a slick submission game is just as nice to watch as two guys standing windmilling their arms.

    Jurgel should have used more BJJ. Glad he found work but not too sad to see him go. After watching him on TUF I really didn’t like his attitude and being thick headed.

  • ACK! says:

    As much as we may hate to admit it, MMA is more entertainment than sport at this point in time. Putting on a good show is tantamount to winning and that’s how it’s gonna be. As a fan, I can’t really argue with that. Who wants to watch boring fighters win?

    I’m not saying that Jorge would put on boring shows if he used his BJJ, but give the guy some credit. Most fighters don’t last 7 fights in the UFC, so he was obviously doing something right.

  • Cash says:

    I wouldn’t be shocked to find out Joe Silva called Scott Coker prior to even calling Gurgel. Like many in this thread, Gurgel is a guy we may want to like, but he makes it so damn hard. We think he has this amazing BJJ game, his students indicate he may be pretty darn good on the ground, but he just seems to hard headed to show it.

    Kobe may be a hell of a Poker player, but I’d much rather watch him play basketball, even if he does win an occasional big pot.

  • steve says:

    cant say im surprised at all. at least Thomson will have some competition now.

  • Barry says:

    kinda funny how he gets a 60k bonus for fight of the night then gets cut.

  • Louis says:

    This was a LONG time coming, this guy has been hit in the head far too many times because he refuses to use his superior BJJ skills to win a fight…..I am so happy I never have to watch him in the octagon again because he thinks his standup makes for an exciting fight but he is way out of his league in striking and is so frustrating to watch knowing that he has pretty good skill on the ground. Another point that may seem shallow is EDIT: Louis thank you for participating, however please refrain from personal attacks

  • Guinness says:

    Sam, I believe in an article you wrote on Nov. 17 that it was indicated that Gurgel was paid 10K to show, and would have received another 10K had he won. Not really win the lottery kind of money, but 250% more than what you had listed in your comments here.
    Gurgel is an incredibly well rounded fighter and I believe that he is playing his game to the time. That is to say that at this point in the development of mma, standup wars are generally regarded as more exciting to the casual fan. People didn’t tune in to see Kimbo Slice try to sub someone. They tuned in to see big punches and guys going all out trying to knock each other out.
    Gurgel may have felt that his best route back to main card status was to put on what is considered to be an exciting fight. Can’t blame him for that. Main card status means a boatload more cash in sponsorship deals. Being thought of as a guy who goes in to “wars” every time he steps in to the ring develops fans and in turn more sponsorship money.
    Gurgel has played to the fans as best he could. Unfortunately at the top level of mma, his greatest strengths are not those which tend to excite the casual fan (read the bread and butter of the industry). It is a pity perhaps. Hopefully those in the industry like Mr. Caplan will do more to educate the casual fan on the intricacies of BJJ and the like instead lauding a world class ground fighter for losing.

  • David Andrest says:

    Guinness, I don’t know. From the comments about Gurgel over the last few fights, it appears the growing theme is ” why won’t he go to the ground” . If his students are an indication of their teacher, he would have a very exciting ground game. Franklin, Hazlett ect…..are always MONEY on the ground.

    He had a good run in the UFC, I wouldn’t count him out for coming back taking a last minute fight in the future.

  • Robert says:

    People always say Gurgel should have used his BJJ more but they fail to mention Gurgel’s wrestling is not good by any stretch it’s tough to use your jui-jitsu skills if you can’t take someone down and your opponent has no intentions of making it a ground fight.Gurgel isn’t a bad fighter at all but I had to laugh when I read someone say Thomson has competition now because Gurgel is not in Josh’s league at all.

  • mburtoni says:

    It’s not like Gurgel has “average” Brazilian jiu jitsu. He has his own academy, and is the one who recently awarded Dustin Hazelett his black belt. With a BJJ resume like that, there is no reason why Gurgel should try to stand and bang with everyone he faces. An intelligent gameplan dictates that you should try to use your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses. There is no way that Cole Miller had better BJJ than Gurgel. Gurgel probably could have had a 1st round sub if he came in with a great gameplan and stuck to it. I don’t know why his friends (ie. Rich Franklin) let him get away with doing that. I hope he becomes a smarter fighter in Strikeforce and earns his way back into the UFC.

  • Guinness says:

    David I completely agree, and more than anything I would love to see him working takedowns and some BJJ on the ground. I am always tickled watching a great ground game.
    My feelings however are that the average fan who does not post on an mma website probably doesn’t feel the same way. The ground game is just not as marketable at this time in mma’s development. Hardcore, and even semi-hardcore fans love to see it. Practitioners of the sport love to see it. And while I hate to stereotype the average mma fan, it is my opinion that the lay mma watcher does not, or at least not as much as they would like to see a standup war.
    As Sam pointed out above it all comes down to dollars in the end. More exciting fights for the casual fan means more ppv buys, more merchandise, more sponsorships, etc.
    I believe that Gurgel’s ultimate goal was to make as much money as he could, and while it is true that FOTN and Sub bonuses are equal, when it comes to negotiating your UFC contract, your sponsorship deals, attracting newcomers to your gym, etc. it is much a situation of your popularity. And really, how much talk would there have been of Gurgel over the last few weeks if he had pulled guard and managed a sub in round 1. Going against the grain is working for him and leaving an impression on new mma fans that he is a warrior who is not afraid to go toe to toe with anyone. These are the kinds of guys who new fans love to get behind (think Griffin v Bonnar).

  • mike wolfe says:

    Maybe I’m missing the subtleties of Gurgel’s strategy, but I thought the point of a fight was to win, not look good while the other guy kicks your ass. Win often enough and the paydays will come along.

  • Levi says:

    Gurgel’s thinking was short-sighted. Win 60k today and lose out on the opportunities in the future.

  • OCD says:

    I’ll be the first to say here. Just because Gurgel is a BJJ black belt does not mean he is superman on the ground. Yes, he could submit all of us. However, there are MANY black belts out there who get submitted because their black belts were earned under coaches, who themselves, may be suspect and controversial, such as Aurelio.

    Gurgel is a low B-class fighter at best. He was in the UFC because of Franklin and TUF. Franklin is no longer on top, his TUF season is well in the past, and thus, the UFC has very little motivation to keep him. Politics matters as much as talent in the UFC.

  • screwface says:

    ocd said it best. gurgel shouldve been cut long time ago, his friendship with franklin was the only thing keeping him around imo. all this talk of his superior bjj, couldve,shouldve,wouldve is all nonsense. if the guy knew how to win he wouldve won, plain and simple. gurgel is a decent minor league fighter but the ufc is the big leagues. he is now where he belongs. maybe in strikeforce he can rise to gatekeeper status at best, but no way a potential belt holder. his season of tuf he was the 1 little guy with the biggest mouth, and he who talks the loudest says the least. maybe if he showed himself more humble on tuf i would have a little more respect for him, but im glad he was finally cut, cya, wouldnt wanna b-ya :p

  • Echolocating says:

    I can’t say that I’ll miss him, but I hope he does well with Strikeforce. As Sam Caplan pointed out, there was a method to his madness, but it only proved to irritate the more serious MMA fans. I hope we get to see a more versatile fighter in Jorge with his Strikeforce debut, but I’m not holding my breath.


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