MMA legends Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem have been released from the UFC.
Fears over the duo's futures in mixed martial arts' premier promotion arose on Wednesday night when eagle-eyed fans noticed the pair had been removed from TSN's rankings.
Canadian outlet TSN – one of the promotion's broadcast partners – provide the latest rankings before the UFC update their official website.
And it was later confirmed by ESPN and MMA Junkie that the duo had indeed been released.
The UFC's decision to release former heavyweight champion Dos Santos comes as no surprise given his recent run of form.
Dos Santos, 37, is on a four-fight skid, with each of those defeats coming by way of TKO.
The release of Overeem, however, is somewhat surprising given how relevant he still is in the division.
Prior to his second-round TKO loss to Alexander Volkov early last month, the Dutchman had won four out of his last six.
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The former Strikeforce and DREAM heavyweight champion, 40, impressively fended off the challenges of up-and-comers Sergei Pavlovich and Walt Harris during that time.
Fan favourite Overeem has yet to comment on his release from the promotion, which Dos Santos did on Instagram.
He wrote: "Thanks @ufc for a great 12 years! I fought through MMA’s Murderer’s Row to get my shot at the belt.
"Holding and defending it was one of the great honours of my life.
"Thanks to every opponent, thanks to every fan and every critic.
"I’m going to spend some time back at the drawing board, but I’m excited to move on."
The release of Dos Santos and Overeem is no doubt part of the UFC's ongoing trimming of their roster, which president Dana White announced late last year.
Speaking after the release of Yoel Romero, White said: “We’re going to have to make some serious cuts here at the end of the year.
“Probably we’re going to have 60 cuts coming up before the first of the year.
“Yoel has lost four of his last five fights, he’s 44 years old.
“Our roster is very inflated right now so we’re going to have to make some big cuts before the end of the year.
“You’re going to see a lot of names going here in the next several weeks.”
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