Jon Fitch is one of the best welterweights to step foot inside the Octagon. Period. You all can argue or praise these words but they cannot be ignored as truth. In his run with the UFC, he was only defeated three times, with the sole stoppage coming from Jonny Hendricks, not even UFC ubermensch GSP could derail the AKA standout. Fighting to a draw with BJ Penn was the only other blemish on a record that saw him dominate others on the ground and win fights the way he knew how. Compared to lesser known fighters on the roster today who will throw technicality and gameplans to the wind and slug it out like backyard bullies for fifteen minutes; Fitch employed his arsenal and did it well but it was still not enough to be released from Zuffa earlier this year, much to the dismay of fans and the MMA community as a whole.
Fight Hub TV was able to speak with Fitch about the release, his upcoming debut for World Series of Fighting (WSOF), gaming and financial advice for fighters, “they need to diversify their bonds!”
FHTV: What made you decide ultimately to sign with WSOF?
Fitch: They had the best offer overall. Financially, freedom within the contract, just overall they had the best offer versus everything else that was presented to me. I was happier with theirs the most over what anybody else’s standard contract normally is.
FHTV: What do you mean by more freedom?
Fitch: I have the ability to compete in grappling matches and fight for other organizations if I wanted to.
FHTV: Do you think part of the reason for signing with WSOF and their freedom to their roster is mainly from Ray Sefo’s involvement and his personal background with the sport?
Fitch: I think it has to do with something, having a former fighter being the promotion’s president, it’s going to be very helpful for the company and the fighters. They know and understand and have been involved directly with: training camps, cutting weight, fighting sick, and fighter life – inside and outside of the fight. Dealing with personal issues, family loss, losing a pet the week of a fight – anything that affects a fighter, and I think that is only going to help them and the sport as it evolves.
FHTV: When your competition days are over, do you foresee yourself being involved in MMA as a manager, promoter, official, etc.?
Fitch: Ummm, I don’t like to look too far ahead in anything but like most fighters you know, I would like to maybe open a school one day. I mean down the road if something like the president of an organization opened up, that might be something I would be open to in the future.
FHTV: On the topic of contracts, yours with Zuffa was cut unexpectedly and had a lot of fans up in arms, how did you receive their reaction?
Fitch: It was and still is pretty awesome! And I want to thank the fans so much and I want to give them a little something extra for this next fight because that termination was pretty unexpected and unprecedented.
I found out about everything like on a Monday and then the announcement came out like on a Wednesday or Thursday and I had kind of forgotten about it but then it was everywhere and my mom was calling me, other family, media and everyone was like – WTF? Probably not a day goes by where a fan tweets something about how BS it was to get cut like that and everything; it’s pretty nice to feel that love and appreciation from the fans.
FHTV: Would you re-sign with Zuffa in the future?
Fitch: I am not one to look too far ahead… I would have to see if situations present themselves and go from there. Right now I am focused on WSOF and Josh Burkman.
FHTV: Looking forward to the Josh Burkman fight in your WSOF debut, do you feel this is a repeat fight since you met years back or is it brand new?
Fitch: It’s brand new, that is how I am looking at it. I am not looking at our first fight as any type of indicator to this one. We both have changed and grown as fighters and I am really looking forward to going out there and putting on a great performance.
FHTV: Has training changed at all for this fight?
Fitch: No. Still training at AKA, We have the best group of guys and I have had a lot of time working with Gray Maynard and I feel real good getting ready for this fight. Only thing is I have made an effort to get extra jiu jitsu in with Dave Camarillo at his place since he is no longer with AKA.
FHTV: Can you share with us your thoughts on the Pat Healy situation?
Fitch: Man I feel bad for him, I think it’s a bad deal he got. First of all, I do not think that marijuana is in anyway a performance enhancing drug, marijuana itself I see nothing wrong with it if you are a grown man or a grown woman and that’s what you choose to do. That said, I understand that there are rules in place that list as a “banned substance” so they do need to be observed. But at the same time, there are guys, like Nick Diaz who have prescriptions for it, I mean – it is recognized as a legal substance in some states and I think there needs to be a change in the rules for it, especially when you look at this and how they react vs. someone using a TRT prescription.
FHTV: What do you think about TRT?
Fitch: HA! TRT? It is a joke. This is devised to let guys who have used steroids in their past re-boost their testosterone since they abused their bodies when they were younger. The guys using it, the ones who use the excuse of, ‘I am too old to compete with young guys” – that’s bulls***! I am 35 years old, and I promise, I would and will bet money that my testosterone levels are just as good as a younger fighter. You know why? Because I have not wrecked my body with steroids, never used ANY type of PED and train healthy and properly to compete.
FHTV: Away from that, you mentioned before the Erick Silva bout you needed to win for the money. What is the reality of fighting and money?
Fitch: Don’t start fighting if you wanna make money. There are a bunch of old fighters walking around any gym that will tell you that. If you are able to do this and make a little bit of money, you need to be smart with it you know? I mean, if a guy came into the gym (AKA) and wanted to do this, I would tell him: You need to split your money four ways – long term investment, emergency funds, cost of living, fun money. But a lot of these guys have two categories: cost of living and fun money which is usually both and they are always broke. You need to diversify your bonds!
FHTV: So if you see a kid walking into the gym to fight to get rich, what happens?
Fitch: We normally weed those guys out pretty quick if they show up. They don’t stick around.
FHTV: What does Jon Fitch do for fun?
Fitch: I am still a huge gamer, love to game. I don’t have a lot of time for it now, not even knowing what is out or coming out. I play a lot with my son, he is fifteen months old and we are always rolling around and just hanging out with him. I play my ukulele too, that is fun and something I like to do. I just enjoy being home and taking care of my house. I think I am the only guy on my block who cuts his own grass (laughs) – I like to be in my garden and working outside. Sometimes it’s just good to work hard to feel that you have done it.
FHTV: Anything else you would like to say?
Fitch: Thank you for the time and wanting to talk to me. Thank you to all the fans and the love and support they constantly give me. Make sure to watch me on NBC Sports at WSOF 3, June 14th against Josh Burkman in Las Vegas. Follow me on Twitter!