Perennial UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch was cut from the UFC this afternoon, creating a whirlwind of emotions that has the Internet buzzing.
While some are okay with the decision to release Fitch, most fans and experts seem to agree that it was a shocking move that may have been done out of spite.
But even worse than that, by releasing Fitch the UFC has created a credibility issue for itself.
A few weeks back, the UFC started a campaign to further solidify the rankings of the fighters on their roster. Media members from numerous trusted sources, including Bleacher Report MMA's own Jonathan Snowden, Jeremy Botter and Damon Martin, were asked to rank the top 10 fighters in each weight class.
The results were then calculated to create the official UFC Fighter Rankings list.
Although no specifics were given in regards to how this list would be used, the UFC was essentially officially announcing that these were the best fighters in each weight class. As such, we all assumed there would be some sort of value given to them.
Even after two losses in his previous three fights, Jon Fitch ranked No. 9 in the official UFC welterweight rankings as of Feb. 18.
By releasing Fitch, the UFC has essentially stated that these rankings—their own official rankings—do not matter.
Again, it should be reiterated that the promotion never said that the rankings did matter, but if they don't matter, then what's the point of having them? Why take the time? Why put it on the website? Why promote it like they matter?
The consensus among dozens of the top analysts in the sport is that Jon Fitch is one of the top 10 fighters in the UFC's welterweight division. He was released despite the company employing somewhere around 70 other welterweight fighters on their active roster.
We've heard it many times from Dana White in the past: The UFC is supposed to be the place where the top fighters come together to prove who is the best.
Releasing Jon Fitch proves that the promotion cares more about "entertainment" than it does determining the best fighter.
And that's their choice. This is their business. Sometimes it's easy to lose track of that. If they don't feel that the return-on-investment is there to continue employing Jon Fitch or another fighter on the roster, then the right business decision is to release him (or her).
But if it's all about making a dollar and entertaining the fans, perhaps it's time to that we all admit that the UFC is starting to creep further away from proving who is the best and more toward the WWE's brand of "sports entertainment."
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