According to Carlos Condit‘s manager Malki Kawa, the UFC is in the process of setting up a match between Condit and former lightweight/welterweight champ BJ Penn. It was assumed that Penn’s next fight would be a rematch with Jon Fitch, who he drew with at UFC 127 — if you’ll recall, the two were already scheduled for a second meeting at UFC 132 before Fitch pulled out due to injury — but it appears that the UFC has soured on the idea altogether. Or at least that’s how BJ tells it.
Yesterday, Penn tweeted at Fitch, “tried to make it happen but Joe Silva said ‘the fans don’t want it & I’m not interested’. Not much more I can do on my end.” Carlos Condit then swooped in, writing “The people have spoken @bjpenndotcom, they want to see us scrap, let’s give em what they asked for,” to which Penn replied, ”Yup. Let’s do it! October 29th.”
For the record, 10/29 is the date of UFC 137: St. Pierre vs. Diaz in Las Vegas, although the date of the Penn vs. Condit scrap hasn’t actually been confirmed for that event yet. So where does this leave Jon Fitch? In a word: Butthurt.
Fitch is now left without an opponent, at a time when most of the UFC’s other top welterweight contenders are already booked. There really isn’t much for him to do right now except call BJ Penn a coward for ducking him. Fitch spent a good chunk of last night re-tweeting messages from his followers like this one before finally writing “@bjpenndotcom you broke my heart, I thought you were a man of principle.”
Oh, BJ’s a man of principle, alright — the principle of moving up the ladder as quickly as possible. Condit became a 170-pound top dog when he KO’d previously-unbeaten Dong Hyun Kim earlier this month, and fighting Condit does more for Penn’s career at this point than fighting Fitch again. If Joe Silva’s second-hand quote is accurate, then the UFC also feels that more fan interest would be on a Penn/Condit fight. (I know I’d rather watch that one.)
So it’s not that Penn is scared of Fitch, or ducking him — it’s just that there’s really no incentive for Penn to go through with their do-over match, when a better option is right in front of him. And if you think Fitch is upset now, just wait until they announce that his next opponent will be Charlie Brenneman…