"If this fight doesn't go the way I need it to, I'm kind of at a loss of what to do next," said Jon Fitch ahead of his UFC 153 fight Saturday night with Erick Silva. "Losing fights is not paying the bills. It is not really an option for me to go out there and not perform well or not put on a good show. I'm really looking for the 'Fight of the Night' bonus. That is something which is really going to put some distance between me and financial problems.
"Fans are going to see a man who is highly motivated," Fitch continued. "A man who is driven to perform well. They are going to see a man who has to perform well, not just for himself, but for his family and career."
Nostrafitchamus predicted accurately. Saturday night he gave both a winning and a crowd-winning performance, something that has often eluded him during a remarkable career.
In a recent interview, Fitch lamented that money was drying up in MMA, both because he had not seen a win bonus in over two years, and because sponsor and appearance money was in short supply.
Saturday night it rained, with Fitch earning whatever sponsorship money his management could find in this economy, plus his show money, plus his win money, plus a potential locker room bonus, plus a $70,000 Fight of the Night performance bonus.
"It gives me a lot of comfort," Fitch said. "It gives me a lot of space to not have to worry about money. I can just focus on training and doing what I love.
"It was just huge. I needed to step up and I needed have confidence in myself and my game and just go for it, and know that even if I made a mistake or got put in a bad position, I would still come out on top."
Fitch must have found further comfort in the words of UFC President Dana White.
"This all stems from the whole video game stuff that happened a long time ago," said White, referring to Fitch's brief release from the UFC in late 2008 over likeness rights. "You've never heard me say anything negative about Fitch or diss Fitch in any way.
"People complain about Jon Fitch laying on people. This is mixed martial arts. Your job is to keep them from doing it, and tonight, Erick Silva did that. Fitch was grinding him against the fence the way that he does, and Silva got out and countered, and it was a back and forth fight. Both guys looked awesome."
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