"Razor" Rob McCullough file photo: Jeff Sherwood | Sherdog.com
It was not long ago that one couldn’t think of “Razor” Rob McCullough without thinking of World Extreme Cagefighting, and one couldn't think about the WEC without thinking of McCullough.
However, two losses in three fights led to McCullough’s departure from the WEC. He now competes inside the Tachi Palace Fights promotion in California and plays the role of family man.
“I’ve just been living life as a fighter and staying busy being a husband and a father,” McCullough said. “I’ve been entertaining offers from promotions both inside and outside the U.S., but I have to do what’s best for my family, and, right now, that’s being right where I am.”
McCullough, a former WEC lightweight champion, holds wins over Sengoku veteran and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 qualifier Nam Phan, Harris Sarmiento, Rich Crunkilton, Marcus Hicks and Isaac DeJesus. He has 10 knockouts among his 13 finishes and 19 victories in 25 professional mixed martial arts fights. He has only been finished once in his career; never has he been submitted.
McCullough had a run of 13 wins in 14 appearances from April 2003 to September 2007, including nine straight victories. However, a third-round knockout loss to Jamie Varner at WEC 32 in February 2008 started a slide of three losses in five fights, including a unanimous decision setback at the hands of Donald Cerrone at WEC 36 and a split-decision loss to Karen Darabedyan at WEC 44. The Darabedyan loss was McCullough’s final fight in the WEC before he was released.
“I actually started my MMA career in the WEC,” he said. “I was in an awesome contract, was a champion and was finishing people. Then I lost [to Darabedyan]. I had a new manager, and we didn’t see eye-to-eye on long-term things. He tried to renegotiate my contract without my knowledge, and I wound up getting dropped. I thought about how I needed to have a future for my family. Now I’ve got a management team, and we see eye-to-eye on things.”
Though he had fought in the WEC for almost his entire career, McCullough understood the promotion’s decision to let him go.
“There’s no bad taste in my mouth about how things ended, and [WEC General Manager Reed Harris] actually came to my first fight for [Tachi Palace Fights],” he said. “There’s no hard feelings. It’s a business. I was getting knockouts and finishes, but then I started going to decisions more often and had those losses.”
McCullough -- a Team Oyama member -- has gone 2-0 with Tachi Palace Fights, knocking out DeJesus in the first round at TPF 5 “Stars and Strikes” in July and picking up a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 veteran Corey Hill at TPF 6 “High Stakes” earlier this month.
“I have a three-fight deal with [Tachi] and have gone through two of the fights,” said McCullough. “They’re a great organization and are looking to have me fight again at the beginning of next year.”
After his deal with TPF runs out, McCullough would like to either return to the WEC or perhaps take a shot at the UFC’s 155-pound division.
“At this point, fighting in the UFC is my ultimate goal,” said the 33-year-old McCullough. “If I can go back to Zuffa, that would be awesome. But at the same time, I have to do what’s best for my family. I have bills to pay and a family to feed. I’m just glad I get paid to do this.”
Fighting in Japan is also on McCullough’s to-do list.
“I’ve been to Japan, Thailand and the Philippines to train and corner people who were fighting,” said McCullough. “I’d like to fight in Japan before my career ends, but I just have to make sure it’s right for me.”