John Fitch retired from fighting following a submission loss to Neiman Gracie in the co-main of Bellator 246 on Saturday night. He leaves the sport with a record of 38-8-2, and not at all broken and at the bottom of his game, despite fighting professional since 2002. Career wins include Thiago Alves, Dennis Hallman, Jake Shields, and Paul Daley.
Fitch challenged GSP for the UFC welterweight championship in 2008, losing a unanimous decision in the fight of the night. He went on to win the WSoF championship, defending it, and defending it when the organization before the PFL. He then moved to Bellator MMA and with a five-fight win streak, drew with Rory MacDonald last year in the Welterweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Then he fought on Saturday night; now he leaves on his own terms. And never missed weight, ever.
“I’m having fun, but at the same time, the body doesn’t react the way I want it to anymore, the recovery’s not quite the same,” said Fitch at the post-fight press conferene. “I don’t want to go down a dirty road, so I think it’s a great time, 32-8-2-1, pretty good, I’ve got titles I’ve won, Neiman’s a great fighter and a great guy and a total act, I hope he keeps continuing to improve and becomes the champ, that would be great.”
“The two biggest [career] moments were the GSP fight and when I got to fight in Brazil, just because of the whole, everything around those fights, the buildup, the title fight, everything was amazing. The World Series of Fighting title fight, fighting Jake Shields in Madison Square Garden, that fight was amazing, just a list of hits.”
“It’s wild, I haven’t had time to sit back and reflect because I’ve been in it, but I’m very proud of what I’ve done. When I look at the landscape and we’re people are I’m very proud of it. Some mistakes here and there along the way, but overall it’s been a good run. It’s something for my kids to look up to and admire when they’re old enough to understand it.”