On paper, Jon Fitch‘s (23-4-1, 1 NC) body of work inside the Octagon far exceeds that of a fighter who has only found himself in one UFC title bout. Fitch is 13-2-1 inside the UFC Octagon, with his only losses being to Georges St. Pierre in 2008, and most recently Johny Hendricks, yet he has only had one shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
Meanwhile, only 15 pounds away, Chael Sonnen has found himself in the Octagon with Anderson Silva twice in just under two years. At heavyweight, Cain Velasquez has returned to title contention less than a year after losing his belt to Junior Dos Santos. The list of recycled title match-ups go on, and is by no means a recent phenomenon in the organization.
Jon Fitch; however, is speaking out against what he feels is a frustratingly baseless system of matchmaking, predicated more heavily on selling tickets and pay per view buys than pitting sitting champions against legitimate number one contenders.
In an interview with FCFighter.com, Fitch had the following to say about the UFC’s method of hand picking title fights:
“There’s no system for picking number one contenders. There’s no order, there’s no lineup, there’s no point system. It’s just whoever they feel they’re going to make the most money off of. That’s who gets the title shot. It kind of sucks, because in other sports there’s kind of a clear path; you do this, this and this, and you get this. That’s just not the way combat sports work I guess. It doesn’t work that way with boxing or the UFC. It comes down to showmanship. I have to be a better showman to get a title shot. I don’t have to be a better fighter I just have to be a better showman.”
Fitch has never been the most dynamic fight finisher, and without a win since 2010, it’s highly unlikely fans will see him anywhere near GSP anytime soon. But his argument is a valid one none the less.
Fans shelling out upwards of $50 want to see exciting fights, however Fitch’s comments highlight the UFC’s need for more balance between encouraging fighters to be dynamic and rewarding wins, regardless of how they’re earned.