||08-22-2012 01:30 AM
Torres released... but still fighting.
Miguel Torres has been released by the UFC – but the former bantamweight champion has signed with Titan Fighting Championship and will debut with the promotion this fall.
Torres (40-5 MMA) announced the news late Tuesday on his personal website, and Titan CEO Joe Kelly confirmed the signing of the veteran fighter to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). Torres departs the UFC with a 2-2 record.
Torres will make his debut for Titan FC on a Nov. 2 show in Hammond, Ind., where he owns a gym, Torres Martial Arts Academy.
"I am writing this letter to inform you that as a result of my last loss, I was cut from the UFC," Torres stated on his site. "My next fight will be in Hammond, Indiana for Titan Fighting Championship on November the 2nd.
"I am excited to continue fighting, to regain my focus and to get back to what made me a champion."
Torres thanked his management team in his statement, as well as his team at Tristar Gym in Montreal and the UFC.
"A special thank you to my manager, Glenn Robinson, my trainer, Firas Zahabi, my training partners, and all the staff at the UFC," Torres stated. "I have dedicated my whole life to mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiujitsu. From teaching, to training and fighting from the lowest to the highest levels, my passion in life is to be the best that I can be. Until November 2nd …"
Kelly on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com he went to work shortly after hearing Torres was a free agent.
"We just found out he was released from the UFC and I acted pretty quickly," Kelly said. "As soon as I heard he was available, I went after him and we solidified the deal. It's been pretty quick."
Kelly said Torres will headline the Nov. 2 show in Hammond, which will be Titan's debut in Indiana. Titan's next event, Titan FC 24, takes place this Friday in Kansas City, Kan. Twenty of the promotion's 24 events have taken place in Kansas, mostly in Kansas City.
Though Kelly could not yet confirm the venue for the Nov. 2 show, which is expected to be Titan FC 25, he said he was excited to give Torres a chance to fight again in front of his hometown fans.
"We solidified the deal to bring Miguel on, we thought we'd make a big splash with that, and what better way to fight in front of his hometown crowd in Hammond," Kelly said.
The majority of Torres' first 30 career fights came in the Northwest Indiana area where he was born and raised. Many of his fights or organizations such as Ironheart Crown and Total Fight Challenge took place at the Hammond Civic Center, a 4,500-seat stadium that has hosted boxing, professional wrestling, MMA and other sports events, as well as concerts.
Torres last fought in front of his Hammond fans in February 2007. In September that year, he made his debut in the WEC and in his second fight for the promotion, he beat Chase Beebe to win the bantamweight title, improving his record to 34-1.
Torres defended the title three times, but lost the belt to Brian Bowles at WEC 42 in August 2009. He was knocked out in the first round for his first loss in nearly six years. In his first fight back, he was submitted by Joseph Benavidez for the first back-to-back losses of his career. Mostly self-trained and coached until that point, Torres began to venture out and eventually settled in with Zahabi at Tristar Gym, home gym of Georges St-Pierre.
Torres won his final WEC bout and his first UFC bout. But a controversial unanimous decision loss to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 130 was a setback that earned Johnson a title shot, though many believed Torres had done enough to win the fight despite the judges' scores.
After a win over Nick Pace at UFC 139, Torres ran afoul with the UFC in December over a controversial Twitter post and was temporarily released from the organization, only to be brought back three weeks later after making amends and proving to UFC President Dana White he had taken responsibility for it.
But in April, against rising contender Michael McDonald, Torres suffered a first-round knockout loss at UFC 145, which would, as of now, prove to be his final fight under the Zuffa banner.
Kelly said Torres' first opponent for Titan FC has not yet been determined, but that he had approached Torres with a few names already. "We're working on a few right now – this has all happened pretty quickly," Kelly said.
As is the case with Titan FC 24 this week, which features former UFC welterweight Anthony Johnson headlining against Esteves Jones, Torres' Titan debut will get an AXS TV (formerly HDNet) live broadcast.