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Antrim's Norman Parke has received his marching orders from the UFC

The lightweight had a 5-3-1 record with the organisation.

Parke: Made his UFC debut in December 2012.
Parke: Made his UFC debut in December 2012.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

NORMAN PARKE HAS announced that he has been released from his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The 29-year-old lightweight spent just over three years on the books of mixed martial arts’ leading organisation, accumulating a solid record of 5-3-1 in the octagon.

However, his unanimous-decision loss to Rustam Khabilov at UFC Fight Night 84 in London on 27 February has prompted UFC bosses to relieve him of his duties. His overall professional record stands at 21-5-1.

Parke revealed the news via his Facebook page late on Friday night, adding that it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke — which was later confirmed by SevereMMA.com.

The news is yet another example of how the UFC have become more ruthless when it comes to trimming fighters from an over-populated roster, with an increased number of cuts being announced in recent months.

Dubliner Paul Redmond was released in November following back-to-back losses, while SBG’s Artem Lobov’s status as a UFC athlete could also be under threat as a result of his 0-2 skid since emerging from The Ultimate Fighter.

Parke, who hails from Bushmills in Antrim, joined the UFC in December 2012 when he defeated Colin ‘Freakshow’ Fletcher to win a season of The Ultimate Fighter.

He followed that up with victories over Kazuki Tokudome and Jon Tuck, before fighting to a majority draw with fellow TUF winner Leonardo Santos in March 2014, during which a controversial point deduction for grabbing Santos’ shorts proved costly.

Norman Parke in action Reza Madadi Norman Parke en route to victory against Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 76 in Dublin last October. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Parke rebounded four months later with a second-round TKO of Naoyuki Kotani — his only win via stoppage in the UFC — which took place at UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin.

Consecutive split-decision losses to Gleison Tibau — who recently received a two-year ban for an anti-doping violation — and Francisco Trinaldo in 2015 ended the judo black belt’s 11-fight undefeated streak, but he returned to winning ways last October by dominating Reza Madadi over three rounds.

However, it all ended with his recent defeat to Rustam Khabilov, who was victorious on scores of 29-28 across the board to hand Parke his third UFC loss.

“I just want to say a huge thanks to the UFC for giving me the great opportunity to compete at the highest level in combat sports,” said Parke, who added that his release won’t convince him to retire from MMA.

“I’ve had many great memories that will stay with me forever. I’m now looking to fight this summer so whatever comes up I’ll be ready to go on any show anywhere.

“Thank you to all my fans for following my journey. I will be back.”

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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