Perennially ranked bantamweight Michael McDonald has informed ESPN.com he has been granted an official release from the UFC.
McDonald (17-4) says he asked the UFC for a release last month, based on its "dishonest" business practices. According to McDonald, he received and signed an official release on Thursday.
"The UFC was dishonest in the way they tried to do business with me and it's resulted in a complete waste of my time," McDonald said. "I want to feel like my employer isn't out trying to cut my head off. I'm looking to enter a mutually respectful business contract with another fight organization."
UFC officials did not immediately respond to comment. Additional sources told ESPN.com that MacDonald had been granted a release.
McDonald, 26, is a former interim title challenger for the UFC. Prior to joining the UFC in 2011, he fought once in the WEC, which was owned by the same parent company. He had multiple fights remaining on his contract at the time of his release.
Fighting out of Modesto, California, McDonald was once heralded as one of the top prospects in mixed martial arts. He signed with the WEC when he was just 19 years old.
McDonald got off to a blistering 4-0 start in the Octagon, highlighted by a first-round knockout over Miguel Torres in April 2012. He fought Renan Barao for the interim 135-pound championship in 2013, and lost via submission in the fourth round. McDonald has shared a cage with the likes of Urijah Faber and has headlined two UFC events, including one as recently as July.
Earlier this year, McDonald told ESPN.com his career was in limbo, as he was saving up money to pay for a training camp. He has been limited to just two appearances since 2014, mostly due to injury. McDonald said he wouldn't fight again until he had the proper funds to train correctly.
McDonald is coming off a knockout loss to John Lineker at UFC Fight Night last July. He did not indicate which promotion he hopes to sign with in the future.