Jon Fitch has gotten used to the fact that he may never get a title shot. He’s been promised one for a while now, but the UFC seems to keep yanking the opportunity away right before Fitch can grab it.
The problem isn’t that the American Kickboxing Academy fighter isn’t winning fights (he’s undefeated since 2009), it’s that he hasn’t finished an opponent in nearly four years, and for the UFC to base a pay-per-view on a main card fight between a round-winner like Fitch and an a decision-centric fighter like UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre who hasn’t stopped a fight since 2009 would be a major gamble.
Both the UFC’s president Dana White and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have long proclaimed that they don’t care if their contracted fighters win every bout as long as they come to fight and perform their best. Fitch seems more content with doing what he needs to outpoint his opponents and coast to a victory, which doesn’t bode well with the promotion’s brass, the fans or the media as it makes for a boring and formulaic fight. THAT’S why White rescinded a proclamation that the winner of Fitch’s UFC 124 bout with Thiago Alves would get the next crack at St-Pierre after Fitch took the decision and THAT’S why he has now said that neither fighter involved in the main event majority draw Saturday night at UFC 127 will likely be next in line for the winner of April’s GSP vs. Jake Shields bout.
Even Fitch said at the post-fight presser that he didn’t know if he should become the number one contender based on his performance against BJ Penn in Australia. If he would have pulled the trigger and *tried* to finish the fight, rather than rack up ground striking points in the third round, he could have eked out a 10-8 round by actually having BJ in trouble before the final frame ended. If that happened, we’d be writing about how GSP was going to beat him, rather than how he Fitched himself out of another title shot.
“I don’t know right now [if I deserve a title shot]. I’m awfully disappointed with my performance. I expect more. I should have put on a better show and performed better tonight to make that a question no one had to ask. I don’t know. I’ll leave it up to the bosses and we’ll see what they want to do with me.”
White told ESPN that, if anyone, Penn won the fight.
“I didn’t think it was a draw,” White told ESPN.com. “I looked at the scorecards and the two judges who had it a draw scored the first two rounds for Penn and the third round a 10-8 [for Fitch]. Personally, I scored the first two rounds for Penn and had him winning the fight. There’s no doubt B.J. got pounded in the third round, but that wasn’t a 10-8 round. You’ve got to get in there and decisively beat people. You have to have fans clamoring for you to fight for the title.”
Fitch on the other hand has changed his tune slightly since Saturday night and is now claiming that he decisively won the bout.
Finally watched the fight back myself. first rnd draw and I won rnd 2 and 3,” he tweeted Sunday night. “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.”
White, who seems like he’s fed up with Fitch protesting that he deserves number one UFC welterweight contender status further discounted his claims that he won, pointing out that not only was he beaten, he was beaten by a much smaller opponent.
“Fitch is one of these guys that goes, ‘Oh, I want my respect,’” White said of the fighter whom was let go by the UFC for two days in 2008 for refusing to sign over his likeness rights to the promotion for use in the Jakks action figure line. “He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds – and he’s crying for a title shot?”
Ouch. Somehow I don’t see him getting a shot any time in the near future unless he fights his teammate, Josh Koscheck to earn it, meaning it probably won’t ever happen.