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THE PROBLEM OF JON FITCH

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Jon FitchWho won the BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch fight at UFC 127? A majority draw was the official result, but it just depends on who you’re asking.

Dana White:

“I didn’t think it was a draw. I looked at the scorecards and the two judges who had it a draw scored the first two rounds for Penn and the third round a 10-8 [for Fitch]… Personally, I scored the first two rounds for Penn and had him winning the fight. There’s no doubt B.J. got pounded in the third round, but that wasn’t a 10-8 round.”

Jon Fitch:

“Finally watched the fight back myself. first rnd draw and I won rnd 2 and 3. I will prove myself if I must. But I know I won that fight. Much respect to BJ. He is the legend I thought he was. I think that was the best BJ ANY of us have ever seen.”

Chicago’s MMA had it 10-9 Penn, and then both rounds 2 and 3 10-9 for Fitch.

Chicago’s MMA writer LJ Tabano: “I feel bad for Fitch because this set him back a lot, and I believe not just in the title race either.  Everyone knows Dana doesn’t want him to fight for title because of the marketability limitations…and I doubt Fitch will be a headliner again.  Fitch is a winner but he’s the type of fighter the UFC can afford to lose to Strikeforce — he’s what Matt Lindland was in the early 2000’s.   He doesn’t sell tix… and he didn’t win over anyone with his performance.”

I actually really like watching Fitch fight. Before Frankie Edgar, it was virtually impossible for anyone to get BJ down, let alone stay on top for the entire round and beat the tar out of him. Fitch was able to do that in round 3.

Fitch could do himself favors by adhering to what his corner told him between rounds: if the shot is unsuccessful, disengage, throw strikes and try it again. Standing there with his rear end in the camera and head lodged between someone’s legs for 15-30 seconds is what makes people think he’s boring. Thing is, at the same time he is making them work by defending the takedown and wearing them down, but the perception is much different. The perception is that it’s boring.

The other thing he could do is ground and pound but then look for the sub. Fans want finishers. Submitting Penn might have been out of the question, but inevitably Fitch has to start finishing fights. He hasn’t had a submission win since 2007, and hasn’t scored a KO since 2006.

I personally enjoy watching Fitch mount people and ruthlessly beat them up for 5 minutes at a time. But that’s not what sells tickets and pay-per-views. That performance the other night would not have been good enough to beat GSP. So Fitch needs to get with Dave Camarillo and work on the other aspects of his game that people want to see. Maybe not for his true fans, or himself, but to please his bosses and continue to work toward a title shot.

Fitch beats people up and wins lots of fights. Ironically, it turns out that can be a problem.

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1 Comment

  1. L.J.

    Mar 2, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Dana White tells ESPN’s Bob Okamoto:

    “”Fitch is one of these guys that goes, ‘Oh, I want my respect,'” White said. “He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds — and he’s crying for a title shot? You’ve got to get in there and decisively beat people. You have to have fans clamoring for you to fight for the title.”

    That pretty much settles that.

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