Opinion: Jon Fitch’s Future with World Series of Fighting
By Jesse Heitz
The saga of Jon Fitch continues, this time he has found a new home in Ray Sefo’s World Series of Fighting. The MMA promotion, one of the budding competitors vying for the UFC’s undisputed dominance within the industry, has picked up yet another former UFC fighter, a strategy being employed by both the WSF and Bellator. However, Fitch is somewhat unlike the rest, he seems to have a fair amount of mileage left in his career, even at age 35.
Many readers will recall that back in late February, Fitch was cut loose by the UFC after his unanimous decision loss to Demian Maia at UFC 156. At the time, Dana White explained the reasoning for cutting Fitch as follows,
“He’s super f—ing expensive. He’ll end up somewhere, and he’ll come back. This is the sports business, and this is the way it happens.
“Viacom’s got plenty of money. Viacom MMA isn’t hurting for cash. There’s a lot of other places this guy can go and make some money.
“[Fitch] will end up at Bellator or one of these other organizations and he will win a world title. He’ll end up there and he’ll smash every single guy over there and he’ll be a champ. A guy goes outside, wins some fights, has some impressive runs and then comes back.”
While Fitch didn’t become a Viacom employee, a firm much despised by Fitch’s former boss Dana White, he did sign on the dotted line with the WSOF. Since its inception, the promotion seems to have the funds necessary to sign pricy free agent such as Fitch. It also has influential partners in Caesars Entertainment and NBC Sports, which could lead to anywhere.
We know that Fitch signed a 4-fight deal, although it’s not yet clear what his salary is. The question becomes, if his price was so high that the UFC didn’t find the return on investment to be financially feasible, will the WSOF? After all, Fitch isn’t a top draw, and has a nasty reputation for providing less than memorable fights. In fact, he hasn’t finished a fight in nearly 6 years.
While he’s defeated a veritable murderer’s row of fighters at 170 pounds since his last finish in June of 2007, men such as: Thiago Alves, Ben Saunders, Mike Pierce, Paulo Thiago, Akihiro Gono, Diego Sanchez, and Erick Silva, he’s been on a skid as of late. Even his fabled iron-chin has been eroded, viciously by Johny Hendricks. As such, Fitch will probably win a title at the WSOF, as fighters like Josh Burkman and Aaron Simpson shouldn’t pose incredible difficulty. Whether or not he’ll return to the UFC after winning a title in the WSOF is anybody’s guess.