A few weeks after his highly-publicized release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), welterweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Jon Fitch has finally spoken out shortly after news surfaced he has signed a multi-fight contract with World Series of Fighting (WSOF).
Fitch (25-5-1, 1 NC) has not spoken to the media since being abruptly released from the world's premier MMA organization following a lopsided decision loss to Demian Maia at UFC 156 on Super Bowl Saturday this past February.
UFC President Dana White justified Fitch's release shortly after it was announced, saying the 35-year-old fighter is on the downside of his career and had too expensive of a contract, among other reasons.
While White explained the decision to release Fitch in detail, the fighter stayed silent. Until now.
On Friday's (March 8, 2013) edition of "Inside MMA" on AXS TV, Fitch was interviewed by hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten and was asked to share his thoughts on his release for the first time since it happened.
Here's what he had to say:
"It was a surprise, but not really. I've always felt there was some kind of issue between the UFC and me; I never understood what it was. I felt like - I never really felt like they were happy with me, they never talked to me or explained anything to me about how they felt or where they stood, so it was a surprise in that sense, but it wasn't a surprise in that I kind of felt it coming."
To the disappointment of many, Rice nor Rutten asked exactly what Fitch meant by "some kind of issue," but if one had to fathom a guess, the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) is likely talking about a 2008 run-in with the UFC brass where he refused to sign over his name and likeness rights to the organization and was released then re-hired all in one day.
With his 18-fight UFC career now a thing of the past, the American is wholeheartedly focused on the next chapter of his career under the flag of the budding WSOF promotion.
Fitch is expected to make his debut with the organization in June; however, an opponent has not been named. One aspect of being outside of the UFC that the Indiana native views as a positive is the fact he will be able to fight more frequently than he did in the UFC.
Outside of the assurances of getting multiple fights a year in WSOF, Fitch's contract allows him to compete in grappling tournaments and perhaps even overseas, where he has only had the chance to compete once in his 11-year career.
"They're going to keep me busy, I should easily be able to fight three or four times a year with them. And if they don't keep me busy I'll be able to find work outside of the organization. I'll be able to - as long as it's not within 45-days of a fight I'll be able to grapple and compete in submission wrestling and other grappling competition and I think I might be able to fight overseas if time permits."
MMAmania.com will have more details on Fitch's WSOF debut as they become available.