Two-division WSOF champ David Branch relinquishes titles, heads to free agency

It looks like WSOF has a pair of titles to fill in the near future.

Two-division champion David Branch has been granted his release by the promotion to test free agency and has relinquished his light heavyweight and middleweight titles. WSOF President Ray Sefo confirmed the news to MMAjunkie today in the wake of weekend tweets by Branch and a subsequent further announcement today on “The MMA Hour.”

On Saturday, Branch tweeted that he was a free agent and that it was “time to move on to a different chapter” of his life.

Branch told “The MMA Hour” he believed it was time to move on to something new.

“I’m no longer a part of the company because it’s just time for me to grow,” he told Helwani on the show. “It’s time for me go and just do bigger things. It’s time for me to have bigger challenges for myself. There are no more challenges left for me with WSOF. I’ve just accomplished everything that there is for me to do there. It just comes time for an athlete to move on, and I think that this is my time right now.”

Branch didn’t elaborate on some implied behind-the-scenes drama with the promotion, which he hinted at just after he made his Twitter announcement on Saturday that he was going to be a free agent.

WSOF president Ray Sefo confirmed to MMA Fighting on Monday that Branch is indeed a free agent, saying, “It’s true David is a free agent, and I wish him the very best.”

Asked what the “misunderstanding” was between him and the WSOF — particularly since Branch had been sending out tweets to suggest some dissension in the ranks — Branch was reluctant to provide details.

“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?”

When host Ariel Helwani mentioned a specific tweet that Branch sent out, in which he said he was “threatened” during fight week, Branch again balked at the chance to explain what he meant, explaining that sometimes a fighter’s emotions get the better of him.

“Here’s the thing, it was just a lot of things that went on that night, and like right now…it’s just really complicated,” he said. “If I’m coming into a show, okay, and I’m coming in to fight my opponent, that should be the only opponent I have to worry about fighting. I shouldn’t have to worry about politics, I shouldn’t have to worry about all these other things. I’m not going to go into details, but these are somethings the things fighters have to face. My reasons for leaving are a bit similar. I’m not going to go into detail, but that’s just one of those things that happens. This is the fight game. It gets crazy sometimes. Sometimes promoters have problems with fighters, and sometimes fighters have problems with promoters.”

Branch said he hadn’t inked a deal with the UFC yet, but that’s the direction he’s looking at.

“I haven’t signed with them yet, I haven’t signed with anybody,” he said. “My manager is working on some things, and we should have some announcements by the middle of this week, before this week is out for sure.”

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