Since being sidelined with a shoulder injury following his last fight with B.J. Penn, welterweight contender Jon Fitch has successfully kept his name in the headlines.
Fitch made news during in interview with the website MMAweekly.com earlier this year when Rick Story expressed interest in fighting Fitch. Fitch responded to the comments by saying he has no interest in such a fight as he only wants to fight current or former champions. Ideally he would like to fight either B.J. Penn, which would be a rematch of the draw they fought to at UFC 127, or have another crack at Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre again for his title. He feels those are the only fights that make sense to him.
Too bad what makes sense to him does not mean much.
As you can imagine, demanding comments like this did not sit especially well with UFC boss Dana White. This past weekend while meeting with the press, Dana White was asked about Fitch’s comments and what he thought about them.
This is what White had to say Saturday night:
“What guys want to do and what happens are two different things. If we can give him all champions and ex-champions, we’ll see. He’s gonna have to fight who we say he’s going to fight.”
These comments along with others White has made regarding a possible second title shot seem to get the point across that when Fitch is ready to return from his injury, he may not exactly be getting the fights he wants. While it is not a surprise to anyone that the UFC brass are not going to give into fighter demands, this one is an obvious no-brainer.
As effective as Jon Fitch’s style may be while in battle, he is without a doubt the most boring contenders in the promotion. Last time he fought GSP he got outclassed in the cage; it was not even close. It was not a matchup that left anyone demanding rematch. Even his draw with Penn at UFC 127 left little to be desired from the fans. When fans talk about fights they want to see at welterweight, they can come up with a dozen dream match-ups before Fitch's name is even mentioned.
It is obvious to see Fitch has put forth efforts to try and be more fan-friendly, even if his fighting style is not. He has done things other athletes have done in order to better connect with fans, like making video blogs and mixing it up through the media with top-level fighters like Nick Diaz recently.
But even with these attempts, Jon Fitch needs to learn his place in the promotion. He is one hell of a fighter, but no one is clamoring to watch him. He has a much shorter leash than fighters like B.J. Penn or GSP because he is not a big draw.
Unanimous decisions are not sexy. Fans want sexy.
Not all fighters are considered equal and he needs to understand this. The UFC is in the business of putting on the best shows possible, not the best fights.