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Dana White addresses criticism surrounding release of Jon Fitch

Jon Fitch - UFCMore than a few heads turned earlier this week when the UFC decided to send Jon Fitch (24-5-1) off to free agency rather than retain the services of one of the sport’s Top 10 welterweights. Though Fitch was coming off a loss, the 34-year old (who celebrates a birthday this weekend) held an impressive record in the Octagon with wins over a number of notable foes. However, his style left a lot to be desired, opening the door for UFC President Dana White to hand Fitch a pink slip.

White fielded questions about Fitch’s release along with fifteen other fighters during the pre-event press conference yesterday attached to this weekend’s lineup for UFC 157 where he was unapologetic about the move despite the negative reaction from fans.

“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, then he was ranked No. 2, 3, 6, 7 and now he’s 9. That’s called the downside of your career,” said White. “He’s lost two fights, one draw and won one fight. ‘Oh, it’s ’cause he beat Erick Silva – he beat (Dana’s) guy in Brazil’ and all this other sh*t. Who the f*ck has Erick Silva beat? That was Erick Silva’s first real fight. It was a great fight – he won Fight of the Night. He won a bonus for it.”

MMAJunkie was on the scene and able to capture the conversation.

The outspoken executive went out to compare Fitch’s situation to an NFL team cutting an underperforming veteran, offering advice to other fighters on the roster finding cause for concern based on the UFC’s new approach to employment.

“What you should do is go out and try to be the best in the world, and you should try to whoop everybody’s asses impressively. It depends on how much money you want to make. Do you want to go around and lay on guys? How many people are beating down the door to see any of those guys fight again,” asked White rhetorically, making it clear the organization would be rewarding a certain style of competitor.

And, in White’s opinion, Fitch simply isn’t the kind of fighter worth $66,000 to show – his salary at UFC 156 where he fell to Demian Maia on the scorecards.

“The response that Jon Fitch has had 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,” ranted White, looking at Bellator as a potential landing place for Fitch’s services. “Viacom MMA has some money, so he can go out on the free market right now and find out what he’s worth.”

PHOTO CREDIT – UFC

12 COMMENTS
  • Kamakosmo says:

    And Clay Guida is still employed by the UFC why???

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Thats a good point Kamakosmo but I bet its because he isnt making $66 grand a fight. I could be wrong.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • MickeyC says:

    Dana if full of it. He tried to cut fitch a while back and the wallet had to step in an fix it. Im sure he has been waiting to finish what he started. Makes me wonder if he feels.fitch is not worth the money he makes, if he tried to renegotiate for a lower rate or just tossed him.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • raker says:

    “Do you want to go around and lay on guys? How many people are beating down the door to see any of those guys fight again,” asked White rhetorically, making it clear the organization would be rewarding a certain style of competitor.”

    I thought this was MMA? We’ve seen many great clinch and grappling battles only to have many in attendance boo the competitors. Certain disciplines are not fan-friendly so I don’t buy the whole “beating down the door” argument. I’d be confused as a fighter. You fight effectively but not in a fan-friendly way and your job is on the line. You fight in an aggressive, fan-friendly, and more vulnerable way and you’re risking your job. Seems the only way to maintain job security is to win, and to win in an impressive and eye appealing way.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    “How many people are beating down the door to see any of those guys fight again,”

    “The response that Jon Fitch has had is awesome. I’m glad that many people are behind him and support him.”

    Asked and answered, Dana. I love watching Fitch fight, and I’m not the only one.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    And Bellator already said they won’t take Fitch. Not that I blame them, he’d run through everyone in their division and they’re trying to build stars.

    As for: “What you should do is go out and try to be the best in the world,…..” Shall we take a look at Jons last couple fights.

    He got smothered by Maia. Impressive performance by Damian, but it’s the same thing Fitch has done a hundred times. Instead of getting booed for it, Maia is now in title contention.

    FOTN and potential FOTY against Eric Silva. A fighter Dana thought was so good, he was rewarded for coming off a loss.

    Flash KO to Hendricks. I’d put Fitch’s chin against Kos’s any day. As good as Hendricks is (and he’s damn good) I take a motivated, health Fitch in a rematch any day.

    Draw against B.J. The fact that Jon can land 125 unanswered punches from side control without Penn making any sort of attempt to intelligently defend or improve position says more about the state of reffing than the state of Fitch’s fighting.

    Before that was a 5 fight win streak.

    At what point was he NOT trying to be the Best?!?!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  • soundspawn says:

    raker, you forgot a third option which is perfectly inverse of the UFC’s apparent goal… win at any cost, no matter how boring you might have to make it.

    Notice Fitch didn’t get cut while he was winning, but drop a few and they can play the “he’s fading” card. Closest thing I’ve seen to that was the hollow threat of stripping Silva of the belt if he plays with his food again, like they really would have done that.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Angry Mike says:

    Some day soon UFC will talk to Ben Askren, who has already run out of good fights in Bellator. And if UFC signs Askren, then we’ll have proof that the rationale for cutting Fitch– boring style–is bollocks.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    Sexyama is on a four fight losing streak, has only one win in the UFC (controversially), is nowhere near being a top fighter and makes almost as much as Fitch. Where’s the logic in keeping him?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • MickeyC says:

    Dana got rid of Fitch because he does not like him. He keeps GSP and he luvs to smother. I think he has disliked Fitch since way back when he and Koz refused to fight each other, but it is probably not the only reason.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  • Richard Stabone says:

    There’s some truth to what Dana is saying. From a pure numbers standpoint, Jon Fitch probably isn’t a great return on investment. There are other fighters to replace him with… guys who aren’t as qualified as Fitch, who are not (and never will never be) as highly ranked as Jon Fitch, but who will be cheaper while also delivering more entertainment to the masses.

    So the UFC continues to figure out how they want to balance style vs. substance. They’ve got a business to run, and no doubt get a lot of pressure from the FOX financial backers, so it’s not like it’s an easy game with a clear set of moves. Some of the decisions when it comes to match making and title fights have really bothered me, and I think start to chip away at the legitimacy/integrity of the sport, but I can appreciate the difficult set of dynamics the UFC has to deal with.

    However, what will always piss me off is when the UFC treats any of its fighters as disposable resources. Fitch has fought 18 times for the UFC (winning 14), while being a consummate professional, and still widely regarded as one of the 10 best in the world at 170. But once the dollars no longer fit with the UFC’s equation, he’s kicked to the curb. That sucks.

    And contrary to what Dana would like us to believe, that doesn’t just happen in the other pro sports leagues. Sure, contracts aren’t guaranteed in the NFL and players can get cut, but that’s part of what the players union has collectively bargained with the suits running the league. For example, the players agree that contracts won’t be guaranteed, but in exchange they get a higher % of the overall revenue generated by the league, or better pension once their playing days are over, etc.

    None of that exists with the UFC. The UFC gets to call all the shots, and if guys don’t like it they can “get the f*ck out” accordingly to the wise words of its presidents. Sooner or later something will have to give to help address the imbalance of power that currently exists.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • raker says:

    “raker, you forgot a third option which is perfectly inverse of the UFC’s apparent goal… win at any cost, no matter how boring you might have to make it.

    Notice Fitch didn’t get cut while he was winning, but drop a few and they can play the “he’s fading” card”

    I didnt forget but actually thought about that. That seemingly is what kept Fitch around for so long. I think we’re on the same page.

    Key point: “Fitch has fought 18 times for the UFC (winning 14), while being a consummate professional”

    Another Key point: “Sooner or later something will have to give to help address the imbalance of power that currently exists.”

    Yes, a fighters union or we stop buying PPV’s.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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