The UFC released Jon Fitch on Wednesday, after the Welterweight went 1-2-1 in his last four fights. Many assumed he would be heading to the #2 league in the sport, Bellator. But Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn said the door is not open for Fitch..
Given that 100 UFC fighters apparently will be cut from the roster, the situation may become an all too familiar one.
“I have a lot of respect for Jon and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has to courage to do what these guys do and the athletic ability to do what they do," said Rebney. "But we are not going to be signing Jon Fitch."
“We have a stacked welterweight division right now. We have a lot of guys that we are developing that we anticipate are going to be world class fighters and break the top ten. We want to keep guys busy. We want to keep guys inside the cage and we have a plan in terms of the next year and who is going to be apart of the tournaments and it’s just not the time.”
“There is no hard and fast line in the sand with us. ‘King Mo’ Lawal came out of Strikeforce. He is one of my favorite fighters fighting in our organization. He is wildly exciting and awesomely talented. Ben ‘Killa B’ Saunders is another example and is fighting for us tonight. He came out and lost two straight in the UFC when we signed him. I just liking watching him fight. I love the knees and I love the clinch game and I thought he was exciting, so we signed him. There will be others like that. There will be other guys that get released from the UFC and it’s not a hard and fast rule.”
However, World Series of Fighting which recently signed a multi-year, multi-show deal with NBC Sports Network has weclomed him with open arms.
"We would be honored to have Jon Fitch in our promotion," said vice president and matchmaker for World Series of Fighting Ali Abdel-Aziz. "He is one of the top welterweights in the sport."
When asked on Twitter, WSoF founder and CEO Ray Sefo said it is a done deal.
David K @ManglerStackz
@BjornRebney said he won't be signing jon fitsch to @BellatorMMA... Makes fitsch's destination unknown. @SugarRaySefo are you interested?
Ray Sefo Ray Sefo @SugarRaySefo
It's a done deal my friend!!
Steph Daniel's interviewed Sefo, for further details.
Stephie Daniels: So you guys gave him a number, he agreed, and now the contract is in his hands, waiting to be signed?
Ray Sefo: Correct.
SD: So many promoters attach a stigma to freshly released UFC fighters, often times stating that they don't want to sign UFC castoffs. You, on the other hand, are more than willing to provide these athletes a home. Why is that?
RS: People need to understand that winning and losing is part of what we do. They like to say you're only as good as your last fight, but I don't believe in that. I've seen fighters, it's even happened to me, where I would lose a fight, then come back to win four or five in a row. Winning and losing is all part of the game. You can't just judge a guy and say that he's washed up based on a loss here and there. I don't think of them as castoffs.
Fitch is still one of the Top 10 guys in the world. We're really happy to have him, and we intend to keep building our roster with quality fighters.
Read entire interview...