To start off 2021 with a bang, the UFC has cut a multitude of talent from their roster. A confirmed total of 9 fighters were released, including Featherweight showman Spike Carlyle.
From first glance in his promotional debut, you could tell Carlyle was an entertainer. Punches from both hands being thrown at the same time to a grounded opponent, a maniacal laugh, long red hair? That’s what the “Alpha Ginger” was all about and he definitely made a good first impression with Dana White as he went viral across MMA media.
However, a good first impression and an unique style doesn’t guarantee job security unfortunately.
Carlyle would be given a good name in Billy Quarantillo in his sophomore appearance, appearing on the main card of ‘UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs Burns’ last may. The promising prospect would go on to lose his first fight within the promotion in a very close fight. He would also go viral again, but not necessarily in a good way.
Fast forward a few months later, Carlyle would lose another decision to another Bill [Algeo]. To his surprise and especially the fans, Carlyle was cut from the UFC roster after this performance.
His reaction? Not devastation, but excitement. Carlyle while confused was “stoked” to begin this new chapter in his life.
“So Grateful for the opportunity and platform the UFC gave me!” said Carlyle. “Excited to move on with my career hopefully to my true Heart’s Desire JAPAN!!”
“The UFC was a great experience and great opportunity,” Carlyle continued. “I loved it. But people who truly know me know that my heart’s desire has always been to fight in Japan, that is my goal. I think God maybe ordained everything to happen as so because who knows if I would’ve won my next fight which I know I would’ve won my next fight. If I would’ve stayed with the UFC, I might never have the opportunity to go to Japan.”
“My dream and No. 1 desire is to fight for RIZIN, possibly Bellator because they co-host events and that way I can do the best of both worlds. The goal is to become a Japanese champion and fight the American champion, a RIZIN-Bellator combination so hopefully it comes together.”
MMA journalist Tom Taylor carried over “The Alpha Ginger’s” wish to fight in Japan to no other than RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
“To be honest, I don’t know about him too much,” Sakakibara said about the foreigner. “But I hear that he has a big desire and passion towards fighting in Japan which I appreciate. My matchmakers tell me he is unique and quite a character so he may be an interesting fighter to bring over here.”
“Right now Japan is still closed off to international travellers but we have big plans once the borders open up so Spike may be somebody to consider. We are planning a World Grand Prix at featherweight in fall, and our team is constantly looking out for interesting fighters and champions across the globe who may fit the bill. Our World GP’s have always delivered exciting fights, and have produced champions that get recognition globally. We intend on doing the same this year.”
[Transcribed by MMA Fighting]
Will Spike Carlyle fulfill his dreams of fighting in Japan in 2021?