At this point in his career, Fitch’s reputation certainly speaks for itself. He has already defeated Burkman the first time they fought, finishing him by rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night 4 over seven years ago. He is the favorite to win the main event at WSOF 3 and could probably let words like that roll off his shoulders. However, on Thursday’s media call to promote the June 14 fight that will be seen live on NBC Sports, he offered this response:
“We’ll see about that,” Fitch told Bleacher Report during the call. “We’ll see who’s black and blue.”
Burkman, who was also on the call, said “You’re trying to start trouble,” which resulted in resounding laughter from the fighters, WSOF president Ray Sefo and other media members on the call. He later explained that it was actually his wife’s joke, and that the part of him saying that was edited out of the video.
Sefo chimed in saying “I thought it was funny.”
“It got an audible laugh out of me,” Fitch admitted.
When Fitch was released by the UFC back in February, it was anything but funny for the AKA fighter. Even though he had gone 1-2-1 in his last four fights, the release was a shock to many. Fitch had a 14-3-1 overall record in the UFC and was still considered one of the best in his division.
Finally, after signing a four-fight deal with the upstart WSOF promotion in March, he could begin the next chapter in his now post-UFC career and set focus on June 14 instead of the past.
“Yeah, it’s been pretty rejuvenating to get this opportunity to kind of get the second half of my career started in an environment where I’m supported, and pushed and respected as a fighter," Fitch confessed. “It feels good. You can’t put a price tag on respect.”
Some telling words by the former-UFC welterweight, with perhaps a few jabs aimed at his former place of business. After all, does anyone really have anything nice to say about their former employer after they’ve been fired?
When Fitch squares off against Burkman, it will be the 32nd fight in a career spanning over a decade. At 35 years of age, he is closer to the end of his career then he is to the beginning. Will the WSOF promotion be the one he closes out his career with?
“Possibly, I feel like I got a lot of good years left in me,” Fitch confessed. “I never abused any performance enhancing drugs. I’m not on TRT or any kind of growth. I don’t even know how to use EPO. I’m feeling good. I’ve made it this far naturally. If I make it to 40 and everybody is still using TRT then, who knows? He continued in a biting tone. "Maybe I’ll just do it because it will mean I can fight five more years and feed my family."
Michael Stets is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.