The MMA world received some surprising news on Friday night that Olympic silver medallist and former UFC middleweight title contender Yoel Romero was released by the promotion.

And judging by the reaction of Romero’s manager Malki Kawa, the news came as a surprise to the Cuban wrestler and his team, too.

“While we didn’t expect Romero’s time in the UFC to end like this, we are grateful for the opportunities Dana White, Hunter Campbell and Mick Maynard gave him over the years,” Kawa said to ESPN. “He’s ready to move on now and resume his career, and we are already talking to other promotions as we speak.”

After the latest night of fights on Saturday, UFC Preisdent Dana White was asked about Romero’s release in the post-fight press conference and indicated that the 44-year-old isn’t the first big name we’ll see released from the promotion before 2021.

“It’s not just Yoel. We’re going to go through some serious cuts at the of the year,” White said. “[We’re] probably going to have 60 cuts coming up before [2021].

“Yoel has lost four of his last five [fights], he’s 44-years-old and our roster is very inflated right now. We’re going to have some big cuts coming before the end of the year. You will see a lot of names in the next few weeks.”

When asked if Romero’s release was related to anything going on behind the scenes, be it contract negotiations or USADA, White was unequivocal in saying that it’s solely related to downsizing the UFC roster.

“Nothing like that. We just started going through the list, he’s 44, lost four of his last five, and these are the kind of tough decisions we’re going to have to make,” White added.

As White said, Romero leaves the promotion having lost four of his last five contests in the Octagon.

“Soldier of God” is on a three-fight losing streak, dropping decisions to Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya between 2018 and 2020.

At the time of writing, it’s unclear where Romero’s fighting home will be next.