(“Hey, sorry I’m late, the beer line was crazy, did I miss anyth-OH SHIT.” — Steve Mazzagatti / Photo via Sherdog)
By Andreas Hale
July 13, 2002.
What’s so significant about that date? It was the last time that Jon Fitch lost via submission. The last time, until his World Series of Fighting debut in the main event of WSOF 3 on Friday night, where Fitch was swiftly put to sleep via guillotine choke by Josh Burkman. Yup, that Josh Burkman. The Josh Burkman who was little more than average during his UFC stint, going 5-5 with one of those losses from being choked out by who? You guessed it, Jon Fitch.
Even though the World Series of Fighting announcer called the Fitch vs. Burkman rematch “years in the making,” nobody who has watched MMA believed that nonsense. It was supposed to be Jon Fitch snuffing out Burkman and then grabbing the microphone and telling the UFC to kiss his grits. You know, with Jacob Volkmann lurking over his shoulder mumbling some nonsense about a fighter’s union. But, as they always say, there’s a reason why they actually fight.
Burkman, meanwhile, continued his surprising run of upending former UFC fighters in the WSOF, as he is now 3-0 in all three World Series of Fighting events with victories over Gerald Harris, Aaron Simpson and now Jon Fitch. But who the hell expected him to beat Jon Fitch? I’ll tell you, nobody…except Josh Burkman. And of that nobody percent, who thought that Burkman would choke Fitch to sleep in 41 seconds? Nobody…not even Josh Burkman.
“Who thinks they are going to choke out Jon Fitch?,” Burkman said through a wide smile after the shocking main event that capped off a fairly ho-hum third outing for WSOF.
Prior to the jaw dropping main event, WSOF trudged along with a string of relatively boring fights that yielded very little excitement for those in attendance at The Joint inside of the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. After the first few matches, most fans drowned themselves in spirits and had loud (mostly drunk) conversations that could be heard throughout the venue. The first five fights of the night are barely worth mentioning. Dan Lauzon beat up on a John Gunderson who looked lifeless in the cage. Carson Beebe earned a controversial unanimous decision despite being completely outclassed on the ground by Joe Murphy. The other disgruntled former UFC employee, Jacob Volkmann, put such a snoozer of a performance in a unanimous decision victory over Lyle Beerbohm that Ben Askren tweeted “That fight had less strikes than one of my fights!” So, you know, when Ben Askren pretty much calls your fight boring, you are in trouble.