Jon Fitch appeared recently on MMAjunkie.com'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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