Jon Fitch - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
In February, the MMA community was stunned when the UFC announced its release of over a dozen fighters; however, the biggest shock came when it was revealed that perennial welterweight contender Jon Fitch's name was included in that list.
According to MMAFighting.com, the complete list included Fitch, Wagner Prado, Mike Russow, Jacob Volkmann, Vladimir Matyushenko, Che Mills, Jay Hieron, Terry Etim, Paul Sass, Jorge Santiago, Mike Stumpf, Simeon Thoresen, C.J. Keith, Motonobu Tezuka, Josh Grispi and Ulysses Gomez.
Fitch, who was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Demian Maia, was still a top contender and one of the most talented fighters on the UFC roster. The mantra in the UFC is usually three strikes and you're out, but this certainly wasn't the case for a consistent fighter like Fitch, who was 14-3-1 in the Octagon.
If these releases weren't surprising enough, UFC president Dana White revealed to reporters, via Graciemag.com, that 100 more fighters would be released to trim down the roster. As for Fitch, White claimed the former welterweight title contender was too expensive and on the downside of his career.
The backlash from the public and those within the UFC was felt almost immediately. Fighters like Brendan Schaub, who spoke to Ariel Helwani after winning a unanimous decision over Lavar Johnson, admitted to using his grappling and taking a more cerebral approach in fights as opposed to "standing and banging."
With more cuts imminent, the fear set in for other fighters potentially losing their jobs.