Jon Fitch: Sponsors, apearances are drying up in MMA

by Dann Stupp | source:

Jon Fitch appeared recently on's Radio show, and discussed life as a fighter in tough financial times.

Fitch has fought only twice since 2010, a February 2011 draw with B.J. Penn and December loss to Johny Hendricks, leaving him without a win bonus in either case. However, Fitch reports that out of cage sources of income are likewise short in supply.

"The economy itself is slow," said Fitch. "It's a lot harder to make money outside the UFC now, as far as sponsors and stuff go. The sponsors have kinda dried up. The appearances have almost dried up."

Personal appearances, training seminars and various hosting duties used to be a surefire way for big-name fighters to pad their wallets. But with the economy still in the tank and MMA perhaps reaching a saturation point this year, the opportunities aren't there. And fighters such as Fitch don't want to start slashing costs.

"You don't want to start doing appearances for like $500, and then everyone hears that, and they never offer you anything higher than that even if the economy comes back," he said.

Fitch was married a few years ago and now has a kid. But living in California isn't cheap, especially with a young family.

Fitch said he's "very careful with my money," but he also has the strain of two mortgages. He bought a condo before the real-estate market got real bad, and the property is steadily losing value, and he also bought a larger house for his family after he got married.

"I would love for us to be able to fight three times a year," he said. "I think that's more than realistic. ... But we're pretty lucky to get three in a year. If you get three, that's ideal. But when you get one or two, it can be difficult. If I still lived in Indiana, it wouldn't be such as much an issue, but I live in California, and it's expensive. Even the cost of food at the store is more expensive."

"If you're not fighting, you're not getting paid. It's not a comment in any way to pay scales or anything. It's just a simple fact: If you don't fight, you don't get paid."

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Fitch fights Erick Silva on the main card of Saturday's UFC 153, live on PPV from HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

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Recent Comments »

gregnog site profile image  

10/11/12 8:45 AM by gregnog

I am wondering if sponsors/appearances have dried up for Fitch or for everyone at his level. I mean he has a pretty small fan following, most people that even talk about him are expressing dislike. His fighting style is widely seen as point fighting... His personality is pretty bland. What exactly is a sponsor supposed to get out of handing him a pile of cash? How many people are going to show up and spend money on your business just because Jon Fitch shows up?I feel like this guy still has blinders on when seeing his own career.

TenOfSwords site profile image  

10/11/12 7:06 AM by TenOfSwords

I do think the win bonus rule is unfair, in one respect: In case of a draw, each fighter should get one-half of the win bonus he would have received had he won.

GayGuardMooseSaucy site profile image  

10/11/12 6:48 AM by GayGuardMooseSaucy

Yeah that part irritates me. People are losing their homes and you're whining because you kept your condo (assume he's not renting it out) and bought a bigger crib. He acts as if getting another job is the end of the world. Many fighters have a hustle or job outside of the UFC. Wonder if his wife is a stay at home mom.

The Mammoth site profile image  

10/11/12 5:47 AM by The Mammoth

lol @ owning houses and claiming you're broke. Sell the houses if you're that broke - rent for a while, live off the sell. Some peoples definition of broke makes me laugh. Next time i see a bum on the street begging for change i'll just tell him to sell one of his houses.

fightharder site profile image  

10/11/12 5:28 AM by fightharder

He just needs to fight more. Fitch is never going to truly chance his style. He is a grinder because that what he is good at and what makes him win fights.   I really do not think this is to big of a problem. People bitch and complain about it often but that just the skill the dude has and he is better at it then most.   But with that type of style your not going to make a tremendous amount of fans so yes you need a lot more fights. I do not know if this will be realistic...if the body will hold up but that is really the only way for him to get his finances straight.   I also think Dana should give him the chance to get more fights. If he doesnt he and only want him fighting top contenders he should give him points on PPV. Since this is extremel undesirable for a fighter like Fitch (from Zuffa perspective) they should just serve him up more fights. Let him fight up and coming guys and middle tear guys. Give him some volume so he will get his record back on track and bank accounts in order.   You dont need to put him on the main card necessarily but you do need to give a guy like Fitch ample oppertunity to fight.   BTW dont people find it strange that the new FOX deal hardly brought any new sponsorships to either the UFC or the fighters. That cant just all be that bad economy. Something went wrong on the managements side of things as well. Their just not doing a very good job with corporate outreach at the moment. And that is directly connected to the rather dissapointing results of the Fox deal all far.

quick site profile image  

10/10/12 10:46 PM by quick

Spot on comment. The sad part is that he has been acknowledging that he has to be more exciting for the last couple of years, but he still has yet to translate that into his fights.

56sav site profile image  

10/10/12 10:35 PM by 56sav

Still have hope Fitch will reinvent himself into a fighter people can actually enjoy watching. Does he have the slightest idea people don't like his style?

cheesesteak site profile image  

10/10/12 1:15 PM by cheesesteak

I see. I didn't realize that

jbapk site profile image  

10/10/12 12:06 PM by jbapk

Fighters would be lucky to have Condom Depot and Mickey's now. You can call those type of brands low class, but they put good money into fighters hands.What brands have replaced them, and how much are they paying? Again, a handful of the top guys have got major league sponsors, everyone else is drawing down. The brands that are in the game pay less, and there are less of them.If you're on the Facebook or Fuel portion of a card good luck getting anything decent.