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What’s next for Jon Fitch in the UFC?

By Zach Arnold | February 27, 2011

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A loaded question, right? But it’s a fair one to ask because that’s what everyone is asking right about now. (At least those who aren’t fixated on Michael Bisping’s escapades yesterday against Jorge Rivera.)

If you watch this video interview that Jon Fitch did with Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, he’s obviously frustrated and feels at this point that he doesn’t have control over what’s next as far as where things are headed for him. He was frustrated that he didn’t expect BJ Penn to come into the fight with ‘a grappling mindset.’ He was frustrated that the fight couldn’t have been a five rounder because he had the energy to do it. (Later in the interview he says that he would like his re-match with Penn be a five-rounder, whether St. Pierre vacates the title or not.) He was frustrated about judges declaring that Penn won round two, thus making his 10-8 round three ‘one-sided beating’ necessary just to not lose on points. And to top it all off, frustrated that he gets booed all the time and has to answer questions about booing with responses such as ‘I didn’t notice any boos at all, I didn’t hear any of that.’

So, what do you if you are in charge of booking in the UFC? Do you go the Evan Dunham route and pretend that the result should be ‘counted’ as a win in the course of public opinion and put Fitch in a title shot? Do you book a rematch against Penn, this time for five rounds? Does Penn even want the fight (or will he retire)? What happens if St. Pierre beats Shields in Toronto and decides to stay at 170, then what?

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 47 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

47 Responses to “What’s next for Jon Fitch in the UFC?”

  1. Chromium says:

    Rematch. Not because I wanna see the fight, but so there can be closure here. For the love of God, just don’t make it a main-event.

    If GSP beats Jake Shields, it’s going to be a really long time before the next Welterweight title fight anyway, and this is a sport, so when we’re talking about title contenders, this sort of thing needs to be sorted out.

  2. Sean Dyer says:

    All I can say is that if 2011 is filled with main events featuring guys like Gray Maynard, Jake Shields, Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch, Dana White should prepare himself for a lot of low PPV buyrates (and to hear a lot of booing at cageside).

    I don’t think R3 was 10-8 for Fitch either; hanging out in guard and doing just enough to avoid a referee stand-up has never gotten anyone a 10-8 before, so why now? A little odd. It felt pretty decisively like a 29-28 win for Penn.

    • Joe says:

      “doing just enough?” are you serious? he pulverized penn that round. bj looked ready to quit even if the fight wasn’t over.

    • mr. roadblock says:

      I agree 100%.

      Jon Fitch has no one to blame but himself and his safety first, let’s go to the scorecards approach to fighting.

      10-8 is laughable for round 3. Fitch should have postured up and landed some meaningful punches. But he didn’t because he didn’t want to give BJ a chance to go for a sub or get back to his feet. Fitch just wanted to dry hump from guard with little arm punches.

      LOL at Fitch wanting two more rounds so he can get a boring 5 round decision as opposed to a boring 3 round draw.

      I say cut Fitch. He’s boring, fans don’t like him and he won’t be missed.

      Then you can do Koschek vs BJ for the title when GSP moves up and have Alves fight Condit or someone to be #1 contender. 170 will be far and away the most exciting division when GSP and Fitch are out of it.

  3. Vic Mackey says:

    I had it 29-28 Penn, too.

    I don’t think a re-match works because I doubt it matters to Penn. Also, there’s no rush to make a decision until we know the outcome of the GSP-Shields match.

    • Bob J says:

      From Fitch as boilerbrawn on the UG

      Finally watched the fight back myself. first rnd draw and I won rnd 2 and 3. I will prove myself if I must. But I know I won that fight. Much respect to BJ. He is the legend I thought he was. I think that was the best BJ ANY of us have ever seen.

  4. klown says:

    I`d do:

    Fitch vs winner of Kampmann-Sanchez

    Penn vs Koscheck

  5. EJ says:

    Fitch vs. Condit and Penn vs. the winner of Kampman/Sanchez. Then the winners face off for the vacant WW title if GSP decides to move up to MW, which is a whole other story. I though Fitch was robbed and have no interest in seeing an immediate rematch right now when there are better fights to make.

  6. David M says:

    I had 29-28 Penn. This is not at all like Dunham-Sherk, because the overwhelming majority of people in that fight thought Dunham won, whereas most people I have talked to thought Penn won or that a draw was justified.

    LOL at Fitch complaining about BJ having a grappling mindset; what a buffoon. Now I don’t feel so bad booing him more than every other fighter in mma combined.

    • edub says:

      I don’t think your talking too many people if most you have talked to thought Penn won or the draw was justified. Almost every single person I have talked to thought Fitch won the second and third (which is the right opinion).

      • David M says:

        Do you really not know the difference between your and you’re?

        You’re right I haven’t conducted polls on da streetz, but people who watch UFC religiously, who were split on Penn-Edgar 1 and Edgar-Maynard 2, all thought BJ won the first two rounds.

        • edub says:

          Wow, grammar correction thank you. I needed that lesson, and it distracted from your, as usual, stupid opinion.

          So you and your two friends thought BJ won. Great for you.

  7. JRN says:

    LOL at Fitch complaining about BJ having a grappling mindset

    He didn’t seem like he was complaining about it. He just mentioned that he surprised by it, and even said that he was disappointed in himself for not being better prepared for it.

  8. mr. roadblock says:

    As for the more important question to my mind, I hope BJ doesn’t retire.

    There are a ton of interesting fights for him at 155 and 170. I listed them in the order of my desire to see them.

    Nate Diaz
    Gray Maynard
    Tyson Griffin

  9. manapua says:

    Always a nice touch to tell a guy he was “showered with boos” after he fought his heart out.

  10. 45 Huddle says:

    I feel ZERO pity for all 3 parties involved…. I scored the fight 28-28 and thought it was clear cut after watching it a second time.

    Fitch tried to ram his opponent against a fence for the first 10 minutes and expects to get any respect from the judges for that. Sorry. Nit gonna happen.

    Penn for thinking he can just change weight classes to continue to be relevent instead of doing what the good fighters do and that is work your way back up in a weight class. This isn’t 2001 anymore. Jumping up 15 pounds in weight ain’t going to work. Look at the 3rd round for that.

    And shame on White for giving into Penn’s demands and giving him a chance to fight at Welterweight when he already lost to the champion twice and has no way of making a serious run at the belt.

    So I feel bad for nobody here. Who cares what they do really bits a clusterfack anyways by having GSP move up in weight which he shouldn’t be doing.

    Either way, Fitch will eventually get his title shot again and White will be forced to promote him as a champion. Kind of serves White right for pushing GSP to MW. He won’t have anybody left to beat Fitch. White didn’t think that one ahead.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And one more thing while I’m on the topic of ripping fighters and promoters…..

      Japense MMA fighters…. Fukuda is another one I have ZERO pity for. Should he have won? Yes. But I’m sick of fighters coming in an not putting it all on the line. He was easily the superior fighter but his INACTIVITY is what made it so close in the judges eyes.

      Too many Japanese fighters do this. They are either beyond reckless or they are far too conservative. And that will never play well in the eyes of the judges.

      It’s the same reason I don’t feel bad for Fitch. It’s the same reason I didn’t feel bad for machida losing to Ramage. You play the game you are gonna get burned eventually.

      • smoogy says:

        The thinly veiled racism is always appreciated.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          The truth hurts?

          The best white sprinters will never beat the best black sprinters. Racist? Not really. It’s bass in what we have seen.

          Same goes for Japanese MMA fighters. Are there ones outside of the mold? Sure. But it’s not common. The Japanese fighting style does not translate well to international competition and the judging criteria.

          But nice try.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “Fitch tried to ram his opponent against a fence for the first 10 minutes and expects to get any respect from the judges for that. Sorry. Not gonna happen.”

      Unless your name is Randy Couture. 🙂

      • edub says:

        And no. BJ Penn was the man continuously pushing Fitch against the Fence looking for a takedown. If anything they just took turns doing it.

        If Dana would’ve put in the rule for 5 round main events before this card happened. BJ would’ve been finished after the third. Even if he came out for the fourth it would have been stopped within a minute.

    • David m says:

      Do you realize how dumb you sound saying bj failed to stay relevant after drawing with the consensus number 2 fighter in the division?

      • 45 Huddle says:

        He surprised a slow starter with a gameplan he didn’t see coming.

        Once the shock wore off, Fitch absolutely dominated. He landed the 2nd most number of strikes in a round ever in the UFC. The guy who had more wasn’t fighting better competition.

        You don’t dominate like that by accident. Fitch showed why Penn doesn’t belong at Welterweight. He completely broke his fighting spirit.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Not to mention Penn already got chased from WW once. The entire reason he went to LW is because 170 wasn’t the right class for him.

          Seeing guys like Penn & Sanchez just Decide to stop cutting weight and be the smaller man after they were already proven to need to be fighting at LW is laughable. It’s just lazy.

          And the 3rd of this fight showed why Penn doesn’t belong at WW. He has 3 times the natural talent that Fitch does. But the size difference hurt him and he was beaten bad in the 3rd. If it was a 5 round fight it would have ended in the 4th…..

  11. Safari_Punch says:

    I don’t understand why this guy hasn’t been cut. I bet he drives away more fans than he brings in. He’ll never be a draw and he’s boring. Plain and simple.

    Cut him already.

    • JRN says:

      I seem to remember hearing that UFC contracts are structured in such a way that they can’t cut fighters who have won their most recent bouts. No idea what the rule is w/r/t draws, but I expect it’s the same.

      If this is true, then one reason why they haven’t cut Fitch would be that they can’t, because he doesn’t lose. (Remember, they did briefly release him once, and it was right after he lost to GSP.)

      He’s also one of the best fighters in his weight class, but I take it that doesn’t matter to you.

      • Safari_Punch says:

        Can they put the fighter on the shelf for an extended duration or are they contractually obligated to give fighters a fight once every six or eight months?

        I would make that guy sit for as long as possible. Pay him to sit until his contract ran out.

        • Chuck says:

          I think they are contractually obligated to give the fighters how ever many fights are on the contract. I’m not going to claim I am an expert on how the UFC contracts work, but I believe they go by number of fights rather than how long (like how a WWE or TNA contract works). Strikeforce definitely operates like this (we all know how Fedor’s contract worked. At least to a good extent). Boxing contracts are (for the most part) like this too. So no, they can’t shelf fighters for too long. Why would you shelf him, especially if you have to pay him to sit on his ass? Might as well have him fight and earn his paycheck, and hope he loses along the way.


          Zuffa releasing Fitch had nothing to do with the loss to GSP. That had to do with Fitch not signing the videogame likeness rights blah blah blah contract.

  12. JRN says:

    Too many Japanese fighters do this. They are either beyond reckless or they are far too conservative. And that will never play well in the eyes of the judges.

    Judges apparently love Leonard Garcia and, well, plenty of fairly conservative fighters (Fitch, Okami, Machida, etc.), so clearly neither recklessness nor conservatism necessarily plays poorly with them.

    Not to mention that Nick Ring was clearly MORE conservative than Fukuda.

    (I’m not sure I believe there’s a “Japanese fighting style,” either. There’s a style shared by, say, Takanori Gomi, Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Shinya Aoki?)

  13. Stel says:

    “first rnd draw and I won rnd 2 and 3.”

    Could you tell us why? mr Fitch.

    “well sure…in the first round I got taken down by penn and was able to escape the close rear naked choke then I landed a couple punches on bjs forearms before he got back to his feet, and I was able to not get taken down again. It was a feel out round.”

    “second round was me getting the take down after almost KO’ing penn with a high kick, bj got back up within seconds before I could do anything to him, then at some point while I was dominating him against the cage I must have broken my nose on something because it started bleeding real bad, and then took me down and tried to strangle me again but I was able to turn out escaping another submission attempt. I stayed low in BJ’s guard and delivered several glancing blows before he got up with seconds left in the round.”

  14. sammy says:

    That commend about Fukuda was just ridiculous..

    He clearly won that the very end when he had clearly won, Ring wasnt even going for a KO or even punching. Why arent you complaining about his lack of effort?? Doesnt make any sense.

    And why is any fighter getting robbed okay with you?? “Dont leave it in the hands of the judges”..the implication being because then its your own fault when you get robbed. Thats the stupidest line I’ve ever heard and it pisses me off every time they say it.

  15. JRN says:

    Zuffa releasing Fitch had nothing to do with the loss to GSP. That had to do with Fitch not signing the videogame likeness rights blah blah blah contract.

    I know that the release wasn’t about the loss; my point was that the loss is (if I understand the way UFC contracts work in this respect) part of what made that release legally possible.

    In other words, if Fitch had somehow beaten GSP and subsequently refused to sign away his likeness rights, they wouldn’t have been able to release him from his contract as a way of forcing his hand.

  16. Stel says:

    Fitch is a rusty gate keeper, he can’t beat the best, but he can beat and draw with the rest.

  17. Jon Luther says:

    I think the biggest thing for Fitch is respect. I genuinely think money, fame and position in the UFC come second to him feeling respected. At the current time, he isn’t feeling respected.

    Dana told a handful of reporters that Fitch doesn’t deserve respect because he took “a 155 lbs. fighter” (which I think is a unknowing jab at BJ Penn) to a decision and lost the fight. They didn’t approve the release of footage for his documentary. They surely aren’t giving him a tile shot anytime soon.

    Fitch is one of the fighters I feel is most likely to hop over to Strikeforce. He also has the AKA connection going on and I’m sure Bob Cook could get him quite a bit of money there. Only problem is that his fighting style is considered boring and Strikeforce has made a turn for more exciting fighters and creating fights where the likelihood of a KO is high.

    • Michaelthebox says:

      I’d be SHOCKED if Fitch went to Strikeforce. They make their living on fighters who are worth more than their ranking (by being famous, exciting, etc). Fitch is probably the single fighter in the world who has the absolute worst value/ranking differential. The fact that so many people want the UFC to cut the #2 WW in the world speaks volumes. Strikeforce wouldn’t touch him if they could get him for free.

  18. Nepal says:

    The Ring/Fukuda controversy is stupid. Why didn’t Ring win the first 2 rounds? His stand up was better, landed the cleaner strikes and what did Fukuda do? He got a few TD’s that he did zero with.

    Even Rogan said after the 1st and 2nd, Ring was better standing and striking and all he had good to say about Fukuda was he got 2 TD’s which count for something.

    In the 3rd, Rogan stated about 74 times, “Ring is losing this fight, he needs to get active”. That was not what he said earlier.

    The 1st 2 rounds were clearly very even (I thought Ring did slightly better) but have no problem with giving them to Fukuda. The issue is the 1st 2 rounds were close, there should be zero controversy here.

  19. Zack says:

    Round 3 was absolutely a 10-8. Take a close round like the first and compare that to the 3rd round. Those rounds cannot be scored the same or the judging system is an utter and complete failure.

    I gave Fitch rd 2 and a 10-8 3rd and I’m a HUGE BJ Penn fan.

    29-27 is the correct score.

    Fukuda got jobbed. Fuck “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” or “they should’ve put it all on the line.” Sorry…Melvin Manhoef is one of my fav fighters but I don’t expect everyone to come out with the kill or be killed style. Fukuda easily won rounds 2 & 3 and should’ve gotten the victory.

    These foreign shows should have cream of the crop judges sine Zuffa chooses them. There’s no excuse for dudes to get jobbed on foreign shows.

  20. Tradition Rules says:

    Well, just my opinion, but I personally felt Fukuda did more then take ring down, I felt he controlled him on the ground, which should have made a difference.

    Ring had a great more leg kicks, and the one big sub attempt, that is for sure.

    BJ himself said after the fight, “He kicked my butt the 3rd round” That he did, and I was pulling for BJ.

    I really didn’t think the main event was boring, but i guess that is just my opinion.

  21. Stel says:

    I’d like to see BJ go to strikeforce

    • edub says:

      You know I actually wouldn’t mind that. Especially since they have the connections to make the type of “freak show” (couldn’t think of a better term) matches that I want to see like: BJ in boxing matches, BJ having kickboxing matches against world class boxers, BJ boxing against Nick Diaz.

      On top of that fights against Gilbert, Nick, Paul, KJ, JZ, or even Jacare don’t sound too back…

  22. Don says:

    The real issue here is:


    Once Maynard beats Edgar we can put this behind us and Penn can get back to dominating the lightweights, if he’ll fight his buddy Maynard.

    If not I’d happily watch him take on Kos, and a third with GSP has to happen at some point. Fitch V Sanchez would be a good grind.



    BJ IS NEVER DONE!!! He’s a living legend.


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