Giving the devil his due: Jon Fitch deserves better after draw with BJ Penn at UFC 127

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SmileR
2/28/11 9:09:47AM
Maybe I'm the only one, but after the decision was announced in the main event of the UFC 127 clash between Jon Fitch and BJ Penn as a majority draw, I felt bad for the former and sorry for the latter.

The UFC holds a roster of over 200 fighters with a wide array of different personalities and the strengths and weaknesses that go along with them. Everyone brings something to the table, whether it be the fact they are good at fight promotion (see Sonnen, Chael), charismatic and endearing to fans (see St. Pierre, Georges) or just possess that IT factor that draws the bees to the honey in droves (see Lesnar, Brock).

And then there are fighters that aren't necessarily flashy but they get the job done and they never seem to complain. They're durable, accessible, accept whatever fight is offered to them and continuously go above and beyond what is asked of them.

I am, of course, talking about Jon Fitch, who once again is the subject of ridicule after his majority draw against BJ Penn last night (Feb. 26, 2011).

And who has he drawn the ire of, once again? None other than his boss, the incomparable Dana White, who said this to ESPN:

"Fitch is one of these guys that goes, 'Oh, I want my respect.' He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds -- and he's crying for a title shot? You've got to get in there and decisively beat people. You have to have fans clamoring for you to fight for the title."

My lack of surprise at said response does nothing to quell my displeasure at his thought process.

I understand a promoter getting behind a certain individual for his ability to sell tickets (Penn) and not exactly rushing to defend a guy that presumably doesn't (Fitch). But does that mean White should be making statements like these? Especially considering the circumstances when all was said and done?

Link
emfleek
2/28/11 9:23:40AM
I wish Dana would cut Fitch, personally. He obviously doesn't like him and feels that he's not deserving of basically anything except ridicule. If you have such a negative outlook on the guy, cut him. You've done it before. Why not now? I'm a DW fan but this constant disrespect of Fitch is mind boggling. If you don't feel he's beneficial to you as an employee, let him go elsewhere.
SmileR
2/28/11 11:09:12AM

Posted by emfleek

I wish Dana would cut Fitch, personally. He obviously doesn't like him and feels that he's not deserving of basically anything except ridicule. If you have such a negative outlook on the guy, cut him. You've done it before. Why not now? I'm a DW fan but this constant disrespect of Fitch is mind boggling. If you don't feel he's beneficial to you as an employee, let him go elsewhere.



I'd say the same but I think Dana knows if he cuts Fitch and he becomes the WW champ at Strikeforce there will always be people saying Fitch would have destroyed whoever is the number 1 contender in the UFC.

MMA fans are fickle but most will at least admit Fitch is without doubt the second best WW in the world even if they don't like his style. Dana needs to either shut up about him, let him fight more and earn a title shot or find some one to beat him and then cut him. Either way Fitch deserves a hell of a lot more respect.
BlueSkiesBurn
2/28/11 7:54:54PM
Say what you want but this


"Fitch is one of these guys that goes, 'Oh, I want my respect.' He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds -- and he's crying for a title shot?


Is completely accurate.

He's asking for a title shot off of a draw and people are failing to grasp the concept that a draw means you didn't win or lose. Like it or not, Fitch had to fight Penn, he didn't beat Penn, he shouldn't move past Penn in the contender slot and get a title shot just because other people feel he earned it previously.

That's not, nor has it ever been, how sports works. Fitch already went to the "Super Bowl" once. He lost, he's going to have to work harder to get back to the "Super Bowl." Ask anyone that's ever been on a team that played for a championship, getting back to the championship game is the hardest thing to do in sports.
emfleek
2/28/11 8:57:27PM

Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

Say what you want but this


"Fitch is one of these guys that goes, 'Oh, I want my respect.' He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds -- and he's crying for a title shot?


Is completely accurate.

He's asking for a title shot off of a draw and people are failing to grasp the concept that a draw means you didn't win or lose. Like it or not, Fitch had to fight Penn, he didn't beat Penn, he shouldn't move past Penn in the contender slot and get a title shot just because other people feel he earned it previously.

That's not, nor has it ever been, how sports works. Fitch already went to the "Super Bowl" once. He lost, he's going to have to work harder to get back to the "Super Bowl." Ask anyone that's ever been on a team that played for a championship, getting back to the championship game is the hardest thing to do in sports.



Yeah, he's "crying" for a title shot. Give me a f'ing break.

BlueSkiesBurn
2/28/11 9:05:19PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

Say what you want but this


"Fitch is one of these guys that goes, 'Oh, I want my respect.' He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds -- and he's crying for a title shot?


Is completely accurate.

He's asking for a title shot off of a draw and people are failing to grasp the concept that a draw means you didn't win or lose. Like it or not, Fitch had to fight Penn, he didn't beat Penn, he shouldn't move past Penn in the contender slot and get a title shot just because other people feel he earned it previously.

That's not, nor has it ever been, how sports works. Fitch already went to the "Super Bowl" once. He lost, he's going to have to work harder to get back to the "Super Bowl." Ask anyone that's ever been on a team that played for a championship, getting back to the championship game is the hardest thing to do in sports.



Yeah, he's "crying" for a title shot. Give me a f'ing break.




Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Fitch clamoring for a title shot when Joe Rogan interviewed him after the fight. I mean, after the DRAW.
emfleek
2/28/11 10:44:47PM
He answered a f'ing question, dude. You're acting like he's spouting off on a regular basis about being shafted. The fact is, the guy has been as classy as anyone. He deserved the shot even before the BJ fight. You know, the fight that was going to determine the #1 contender for the Welterweight title, even though BJ sure as hell did nothing to deserve it (and no one has said sh*t about that).

He's being punished (in the court of Public Opinion) because he's not giving MMA meatheads a hardon when he fights. You can't punish him for playing well within the rules of the sport. It's clear to me that people don't like his style so they don't like him. Whatever. It's a tiring argument to be honest.

Does he deserve the title shot after a draw? No, he doesn't. But has he earned the right to lobby for one? F*ck yes he has.
BlueSkiesBurn
2/28/11 11:14:19PM
I'm not here arguing that Jon Fitch didn't deserve at title shot before hand. However, as you so eloquently put it, this fight was to determine the number 1 contender and it ended in a draw, which means there's not a number 1 contender.

I'm talking about this fight and this fight only. BJ or Fitch's previous body of work isn't even factoring in to my argument. This fight was to determine that and it wasn't resolved. You keep saying that people who don't like his style, so they don't like him.

It's clear to me that people who like Jon Fitch won't acknowledge anything other than him getting a title shot. There's two sides to every coin. Fitch lovers jump all over Fitch haters with the same fervor and rigor that Fitch haters jump on him for. Nobody ever talks about that, though.

The proper answer to Joe Rogan's question should have been "Dude, I just fought to a draw in a title contender's match, we should resolve this before anyone gets a title shot."

To address some of your points, though. I don't think BJ deserved a title contender shot. As Warglory said, he's coming off two losses and a win over someone well past their prime. HOF'er or not.

I don't HATE Fitch. To me, he's boring, and I won't pay for his fights, but he doesn't ruin my day like Bisping does. Here's my problem with Jon Fitch and it addresses, in part, why I'm sure Dana won't give him another shot.

Jon Fitch has shown ZERO growth since the GSP fight. There's absolutely NOTHING about Jon Fitch that indicates a second fight with GSP would go ANY differently than the first. Whether YOU or any other Fitch lovers like it or not, Dana has to consider that because people won't pay for something they've already seen before. Fitch vs. GSP 2 is already a hard sell because of the ire that Fitch draws with his style of fighting. Couple that with the fact that people haven't seen anything out of Fitch which leads them to believe GSP won't beat the brakes off of him again, and you have an even harder sell.

Money talks and, at the end of the day, Fitch doesn't put asses in the seats. Dana might not say it properly, but he's probably thinking something along these lines "Jon, show me anything other than you just taking people down for 3 rounds, just once, something, anything, I don't care, and I'll give you your second shot."

Dana is as aware as anyone else that Fitch v. GSP 2 would end in the exact same fashion as the first fight after watching these guys fight after they met. Fitch went right back to the exact same thing he was doing before, didn't even make an attempt to change anything, and GSP keeps winning.

I personally don't care if Fitch wrestles his opponents from here to eternity. I'm not gonna hate the guy because I know that he's using his biggest weapon to win fights and that's the name of the game. I do understand, however, why he's not getting a second title shot. He hasn't improved. There's no Jon Fitch 2.0 that makes you think he can beat GSP. You can't even find a Fitch fan who can make a compelling argument that he's drastically changed his game since they last fought.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm of the opinion that Dana should just give Fitch the shot, we can all watch GSP do the same thing to him again, and we will never have to hear about Jon Fitch again in title talks until GSP retires or moves weight classes. I'm absolutely fine with that. Besides, I didn't mind seeing GSP turn his face into hamburger meat once, I doubt I'd mind seeing it again.

I don't care to watch Fitch fight, but I most certainly don't hate him. I probably would actually like Fitch if it wasn't for his overbearing fan base telling me and everyone else how awesome he is and that we just don't understand.

I understand, believe me, I do, I just don't care for it. It's not something that drives me wild. It's an acquired taste and I won't acquire it until people quit telling me how great the man is and that I'm, somehow, missing out on the greatest show on earth because I don't like watching him fight.
emfleek
2/28/11 11:18:55PM
If Fitch isn't selling, cut him from the roster. It's pretty simple.
BlueSkiesBurn
2/28/11 11:25:22PM

Posted by emfleek

If Fitch isn't selling, cut him from the roster. It's pretty simple.



I'm sure Dana would LOVE to do that, but Fitch keeps winning. If someone not named GSP would beat Fitch, I'm sure he'd cut his ass faster than we could blink our eye.

Dana is smart, he knows that Fitch would give StrikeForce or Bellator credibility so he's not going to cut him. He's just going to keep dangling that carrot in front of his face until Fitch quits or does things Dana's way.
Pookie
3/1/11 12:50:29AM
Fight ended in a draw, BJ deserves equal claim to a WW title shot as Fitch does.

Which is NONE. Niether won the #1 contender match. Niether deserve to be ranked higher than the other.

Fitch called for a title shot, BJ apologized for his performance. Fitch won't fight team mates, BJ fights any/every one.
If i had to choose one for a title shot it and only one, it certainly wouldn't be the guy who just demanded a title shot after failing to earn it.

Is it really that hard to understand why Fitch doesn't get favors handed to him as much as other fighters? He doesn't do favor's for the UFC. Thats how business works.
emfleek
3/1/11 10:14:32AM

Posted by Pookie

Fight ended in a draw, BJ deserves equal claim to a WW title shot as Fitch does.

Which is NONE. Niether won the #1 contender match.



That's not being argued.


Niether deserve to be ranked higher than the other.


You can't be serious. Fitch should have already been ranked WELL ABOVE Penn in the division prior to this fight. Since they fought to a draw, BJ is now given an equal ranking? Please explain.


Fitch called for a title shot, BJ apologized for his performance. Fitch won't fight team mates, BJ fights any/every one.


BJ doesn't exactly train with other top contenders within his own division, either.


If i had to choose one for a title shot it and only one, it certainly wouldn't be the guy who just demanded a title shot after failing to earn it.


Demanded? If my memory serves me correctly, all he said was, "I would like to think that my 13 victories in the UFC would be enough to earn me a title shot, but we'll see..."


Is it really that hard to understand why Fitch doesn't get favors handed to him as much as other fighters? He doesn't do favor's for the UFC. Thats how business works.


Okay, so...

1 - He doesn't do favors.
2 - He doesn't sell seats.
3 - He doesn't end fights.
4 - He doesn't fight teammates.
5 - He doesn't swing from Dana's nuts.

If that's the case, sever ties. When you're no longer beneficial to your boss/employer, you're fired. THAT is how business works.
Pookie
3/1/11 3:06:13PM

Posted by emfleek

If that's the case, sever ties. When you're no longer beneficial to your boss/employer, you're fired. THAT is how business works.



But if you're beneficial to your employers competitor, ties will never be severed. That is also how business works.
emfleek
3/1/11 3:25:43PM

Posted by Pookie

But if you're beneficial to your employers competitor, ties will never be severed. That is also how business works.



That's never been a concern in the past with Dana (Fitch was "cut" in the past, Daley was let go, Hendo*, etc.)...why should it be one now with a guy who supposedly doesn't have anything to offer in terms of selling seats/fights?



* I know it was about money, but still...Strikeforce did benefit from his release.
BlueSkiesBurn
3/1/11 5:44:54PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by Pookie

But if you're beneficial to your employers competitor, ties will never be severed. That is also how business works.



That's never been a concern in the past with Dana (Fitch was "cut" in the past, Daley was let go, Hendo*, etc.)...why should it be one now with a guy who supposedly doesn't have anything to offer in terms of selling seats/fights?



* I know it was about money, but still...Strikeforce did benefit from his release.



I can answer this question fairly easily.

Henderson was 38/39 years old, his best fights were behind him, he had already lost 2 of the 3 biggest bouts he'd had since returning to the UFC, and, as you said, he was asking for way too much money. Not really a bad business move.

Daley might be a very young fighter, but Daley pretty much forced his hand with his sucker-punch at the end of the fight. Also, Daley is about as one dimensional as they come and probably won't get too much better on the ground. He may be a big name, but if you gave Daley highly skilled grapplers with, at least, defensive boxing for his next 5 fights, he'd probably go on a 5 fight losing streak. It's not really the worst loss the UFC could have incurred.

Fitch, on the other hand, is in his prime and is considered the second best LW in the world and also is in the P4P rankings toward the top. We've already said, he can beat anyone in the world at WW other than GSP. He's your "ace in the hole" if you will.

emfleek
3/1/11 5:51:21PM

Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

Fitch, on the other hand, is in his prime and is considered the second best LW in the world and also is in the P4P rankings toward the top. We've already said, he can beat anyone in the world at WW other than GSP. He's your "ace in the hole" if you will.



...which means squat if he's supposedly not marketable.
BlueSkiesBurn
3/1/11 6:17:15PM

Posted by emfleek


Posted by BlueSkiesBurn

Fitch, on the other hand, is in his prime and is considered the second best LW in the world and also is in the P4P rankings toward the top. We've already said, he can beat anyone in the world at WW other than GSP. He's your "ace in the hole" if you will.



...which means squat if he's supposedly not marketable.



Just giving the reasons not to cut him. Plenty of fighters aren't really "marketable" but they're too valuable to release.
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