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Jon Fitch Was Too Expensive For the UFC, and Bellator Doesn’t Want Him Either [SAD]

(Fitch finds himself on the wrong end of a Fitch’ing against Demian Maia at UFC 156. Photo via Getty Images)

In the wake of Jon Fitch‘s surprise firing during the Great UFC Bloodletting of February 2013, even die-hard Fitch-haters criticized the move. As the general argument goes, how the hell are you going to cut a fighter who’s one of the ten greatest welterweights in the world by your own rankings, and whose last victory over Erick Silva was a Fight of the Night performance that proved he still has greatness left in him?

UFC president Dana White explained the decision to media yesterday at the UFC 157 press-conference in Anaheim, calling Fitch “super f—ing expensive,” then laying out exactly why he’s not worth the money:

Jon Fitch was ranked number nine, OK, however you want to look at that, he’s ranked number nine, whether it’s right or wrong or the rankings are bullshit or whatever. Ranked number nine right now. Now, this isn’t a case where Jon Fitch was ranked No. 9, No. 7, No. 6, No. 4, No. 2 and then we cut him. He was ranked No. 1, fought for the title and then he was ranked No. 2. He was ranked No. 3, 6, 7, and now he’s 9. That’s called the downside of your career. He’s on the downside…

He had a draw, then a loss, right, then a win, then a loss. It’s good, he got more money. He got Fight of the Night because it takes two guys to do that. Right? If Erick Silva’s wrestling wasn’t right there, that wouldn’t have been Fight of the Night. At the end of the day, when you really break it down, who did Erick Silva beat? This was Erick Silva’s first real big fight and big test. And it was a damn good fight. That’s called the downside. He’s not buzzsawing through guys, he’s not doing a [Johny] Hendricks. So it’s not like Jon Fitch was on this incredible fucking winning streak and ‘the greatest fucking welterweight in the history of the world and a fucking Hall of Famer. The guy’s never won a fucking title in his life.

In other words, Fitch is #9 with a down-arrow, and Erick Silva was never that accomplished to begin with, though Silva nevertheless deserves all the credit for how good that fight was. [*I promise this is not a Scanners gif*] But let’s get back to the more important issue: That Jon Fitch, who makes $66,000 to show, is “super fucking expensive.” Please take a moment to realize what an absolute joke your favorite sport is. Ben Fowlkes puts it best on MMAJunkie:

You’re telling me that Fitch, who’s already had a better career than 90 percent of active welterweights, and who’s been with the same organization for more than seven years, has priced himself out of a job with $66,000 in show money? Seriously? Take away taxes, training expenses, his management’s cut, and all the other miscellaneous stuff that eats into a fighter’s pay, and that’s not a ton of take-home cash for a night of professional cage fighting. If that’s too much for a guy like Fitch, most other fighters should go ahead and start working on that law school application right now because the future is grim.”

Here’s something to consider: Would we even be having this conversation if the UFC’s pay-per-view numbers hadn’t fallen off last year, and the company had money to burn? Between all of the promotion’s television commitments — namely FOX stealing PPV-worthy fights for broadcast on free TV — as well as the UFC’s recent rush of international expansion, maybe the promotion is just over-leveraged. (You might have noticed that their end-of-night bonuses were lowered back to $50,000 apiece, another unexpected sign of belt-tightening.) No matter what the reasoning for the Fitch cut, it’s kind of an embarrassing admission for the UFC that a top-ten fighter who makes $66k to show has now become too expensive. I mean, what’s next — a freeze on no-show jobs for ex-champions?

As for Fitch’s future, Dana White is coldly optimistic:

Viacom’s got plenty of money. Viacom MMA isn’t hurting for cash. There’s a lot of other places this guy can go and make some money…[Fitch] will end up at Bellator or one of these other organizations and he will win a world title. He’ll end up there and he’ll smash every single guy over there and he’ll be a champ. A guy goes outside, wins some fights, has some impressive runs and then comes back…the response that Jon Fitch has had (from fans) is awesome. I’m glad that many people are behind him and support him. That’s not a bad thing. Good for him. But I can tell you this: Jon Fitch isn’t cheap. Viacom MMA has some money, so he can go out on the free market right now and find out what he’s worth.”

The problem is, Bellator — or “Viacom MMA,” as Dana charmingly calls them — wants nothing to do with the poor bastard. Here’s Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, delivering the bad news:

I have a lot of respect for Jon [Fitch] and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has to courage to do what these guys do and the athletic ability to do what they do but we are not going to be signing Jon Fitch…We have a stacked welterweight division right now. We have a lot of guys that we are developing that we anticipate are going to be world class fighters and break the top ten. We want to keep guys busy. We want to keep guys inside the cage and we have a plan in terms of the next year and who is going to be a part of the tournaments and it’s just not the time

There is no hard and fast line in the sand with us. ‘King Mo’ Lawal came out of Strikeforce. He is one of my favorite fighters fighting in our organization. He is wildly exciting and awesomely talented. Ben ‘Killa B’ Saunders is another example and is fighting for us tonight. He came out and lost two straight in the UFC when we signed him. I just [liked] watching him fight. I love the knees and I love the clinch game and I thought he was exciting, so we signed him. There will be others like that. There will be other guys that get released from the UFC and it’s not a hard and fast rule.”

In short, top ten welterweight Jon Fitch is too expensive for the UFC, and not quite exciting enough for Bellator. If he’s lucky, maybe World Series of Fighting will let him fight the winner of Burkman vs. Simpson later this year. Jesus Christ, man, condolences.


(The UFC’s current welterweight rankings. Does this mean that Tarec Saffiedine moves up a spot after turning down a fight? Well played, sir.)

Cagepotato Comments

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crappiefloper- February 23, 2013 at 3:17 pm
Also, kos is a dick. So there's that. Although i do love to route for him to get the ever loving shit kicked out of him
Kimbo Lesnar- February 23, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Everything Dana said about Fitch could be applied to Koscheck but to a much higher degree. On a downslide. 2-2 in his last 4. Overpriced by Dana's standard...
The_Dead_Cow- February 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm
Lame, fitch would've fit in nicely at bellator. Not like I give a fuck, but hopefully wsof will give em a 3 fight deal to get him back in the UFC. IMHO, he should go rouge and make that paper no where it is...he would smash in onefc or wsof....think of it, he would be a god, a fucking god...
Mr Jeff 1- February 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm
You know dana said fitch was on the downslide in the rankings and made too much money. Now how about this, what if jds, or overeem loose? they would both be on the down slide, and we know they both make tons more money than fitch. and that was the ONLY reason dana said he was getting cut, repeat the ONLY reason......
El Guapo- February 22, 2013 at 4:01 pm
Don't shoot the messenger, you guys. I'm not siding with Dana by any means, just speaking the truth. Fitch doesn't put asses in seats and he costs more than 5 or 6 undercard fighters combined. You can thumbs down to the sun goes down but you can't hide from the truth.
a motivated bj- February 22, 2013 at 3:15 pm
Let's face it, the ufc doesn't want fitch putting a title shot cock-block on the guys that it wants to promote as contenders.
Thumblaster- February 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm
Fuck union's ,next thing you know fighters will only fight who they want to fight, if a fighter is concussed it will be a manditory 1 year off fully compisated based on what he would have earned, fighters will have to pay 50% of their purse in due's , and pay per views will be $120.00. Fuck union's and fuck that wrestlefucker jon fitch he should have tried to finish fights earlier in his career.
towelie- February 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Jon's fight with Hendricks was entertaining.
Mr_Misanthropy- February 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm
... so said the casino bosses with the $10 million/ yr lifestyle... it goes...
crappiefloper- February 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm
Even from a grappler standpoint, dude bored the shit out of me. That's not good for marketing ..,
crappiefloper- February 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm
"Wormhole of wrestlefuckery"!
That pretty much sums it ip
El Guapo- February 22, 2013 at 11:54 am
66 K is "super fuckin expensive" when you consider the UFC pays alot of guys 10 g's to show..
BrianDSouza- February 22, 2013 at 11:46 am
Law school isn't that lucrative. Too many diploma mills, only a small percentage gets big law jobs, shit-law is a more common destination. Do research before applying, or google the "Law School Scam."
mma4ever- February 22, 2013 at 11:35 am
Thank god . Fitch made me mad every time he fought ..and that lossening of his jaw all the time and asshole facial expressions ....... so hit the bricks bitch..fitch or whatever the fuck u called yourself .
paperplane- February 22, 2013 at 11:34 am
"should the UFC have a fighters union?"
boomer- February 22, 2013 at 11:23 am
anyone claiming this is bullshit can suck a big fucking dick! Jon Fitch never did a damn thing for MMA except turn off potential fans. fuck him, fuck you, and FUCK YES!!!!!! YOU THE MAN DW!!!!!!!! btw Ben Goldstein is a bitch!!
Morgan Chiller- February 22, 2013 at 11:20 am
Good Riddance, he is a boring "fighter", always has been, if he appealed to the crowd more he'd still be employed or at least employable but no one wants to watch him glom on to some guy for three rounds, one Jon Fitch fight stalls the excitment of an entire card. It is an entertainment business and he is not entertaining.
NomadRip- February 22, 2013 at 10:20 am
Of course Bellator doesn't want him. They already have Ben Askren for that type of fight. If they ever had to fight each other, it would likely create some kind of wormhole of wrestlefuckery that bored the entire crowd to death.

Think of the pamphlets the culinary union would put out about THAT shit.
Grandmas Nutmeg- February 22, 2013 at 9:17 am
$66k tumor is finally gone, lay and pray should be punished. I don't care if you want to keep your career going longer than it should, use TRT if that's the case since that shit is apparently as acceptable as eating a bag of Skittles at the movies. Fighters should have to go outside their comfort zone to chase wins not sit there and be a backpack for another half naked man. Hopefully he realizes how much he was overpaid and actually take a massive paycut in another organization or learn from this and become a fighter that is hungry to finish fights, not be content to let the likes of Cecil Peoples and his incompetent ilk determine the fight outcome.
SethF- February 22, 2013 at 9:10 am
In what other sport do you go 0-0 in the big leagues, turn down a chance to compete, and still be mentioned among the league's ten best?

Well, yeah, of course arena football....damn it, way to ruin my rant, asshole.
algiersheadkick504- February 22, 2013 at 9:07 am
Maybe he can join the millitary
mookiestick- February 22, 2013 at 9:02 am
I can think of a million guys the UFC could have let go besides Fitch, George Roop, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk, Mac Danzig and even Damian Maia. He actually "out Fitched, Fitch" so shouldn't he have went first? Oh well, I guess the UFC is weeding out the lay and pray. I guess it's no longer a big deal if the Olympics drop Wrestling. None will be coming to the UFC...
Mr Jeff 1- February 22, 2013 at 8:45 am
All i can say is dana you are a flippin idiot. I hope this bites you in the ass. how much money does carwin, guillard, garcia make? How about guys ranked below fitch, how much do they make? This is not about money, this about you, and only you you piece of shit....
O Chan- February 22, 2013 at 8:42 am
Maybe time for the UFC talent to form a CBA? I'm sure now that Randy's got an ax they have a potential rep.
JRoLLa- February 22, 2013 at 8:39 am
It's not too often that I disagree with Dana, but seriously, come on. The cutting of Fitch is absolutely ridiculous. The whole notch against Fitch was that he couldn't put on exciting fights, and he proved that he could against Silva. Trying to discredit Jon's ability by basically insinuating that Silva was the one who carried the load in that Fight of the Night is irresponsible. For shame Dana, for shame. Don't even get me started on Bellator.