David Branch entered 2017 as the WSOF Light Heavyweight Champion and the WSOF Middleweight Champion.
It is now a little over a month into the year and not only is Branch no longer a double champion in the World Series Of Fighting, he’s no longer a part of the promotion.
“I’m definitely a free agent now, I’m officially a free agent,” he said on The MMA Hour (Transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting". “I’m going to be looking to explore my opportunities on the outside of WSOF. And I think it was about time for me and the company to just split ways. There was some misunderstandings that happened, and as a result of those misunderstandings it was best for me to be released and stuff like that. Plus I just want to do other things. I think one of the big things that people — people and the media, and to myself, you know I’m 35 years old right now and at the end of this whole fighting career, and I’m a two-division champion and all that — but people will always say, ‘well he didn’t do it in the UFC.’ Well you know, here’s the deal. I’m a free agent now. People have been saying for years that I’m the best fighter on the outside of the UFC. I disagree. I believe that I’m the best fighter in the world. I think that now is my opportunity to be able to prove that.”
Branch also took to Twitter recently to state that he was threatened during the week leading to the WSOF 34 this past December.
Going into my last fight I wasn't only fighting my opponent, I was fighting the whole entire promotion. I was threatened fight week— David Branch (@DavidcBranchMMA) February 4, 2017
Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour asked Branch about the perceived threats, but Branch was a little hesitant to discuss them.
“It was just one of those things where, sometimes it’s just time for you to go, you know what I mean,” he said. “I had all the cues, all the signs that were there for me to light the fire and get up and do what I have to do. I’m not going to stay anywhere I’m not comfortable, and I think it was just time for me to up and leave, to just relinquish my belts here on your show today. It’s a big thing, that’s what I’m doing. I’m no longer middleweight champion, or light heavyweight champion for World Series of Fighting, I’m relinquishing the belts today. That is official. And I want to give the opportunity for some more new and young talent to go into the World Series of Fighting, and I hope that they do well. And I hope that they have some really colorful champions, you know?”
The WSOF has now lost two fighters in the last month, who held a total of three belts in the promotion, Branch (Light Heavyweight & Middleweight) and Marlon Moraes (Bantamweight). Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje is also a free agent.