Yesterday, the UFC announced 16 fighters were released from their roster. Most surprisingly was former Welterweight contender Jon Fitch who reigned as second best in the division for years. Despite still being ranked in the top 10, Fitch has gone on a skid with a record of 1-2-1 in his last four fights. Most recently he gave up a lopsided division to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Demian Maia at UFC 156.
Fitch probably didn’t take a lot of solace in UFC president Dana White’s statement that he was “super f***ing expensive” to justify the release. And apparently it’s not looking great for Jon in MMA’s second place promotion either. On Thursday, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told Jason Floyd of The MMA Report that they’re not looking to sign Fitch:
We have a stacked welterweight division right now. We have a lot of guys that we are developing that we anticipate are going to be world class fighters and break the top ten. We want to keep guys busy. We want to keep guys inside the cage and we have a plan in terms of the next year and who is going to be apart of the tournaments and it’s just not the time.
Fitch doesn’t fit in the Bellator “plan” right now and it’s probably for all the same reasons that he got cut from the UFC. First, he’s recognizable enough to warrant a high-paying contract, even if he was willing to take a pay cut. Second, he’s more than talented enough to defeat many, if not all, of their “stacked division” and he’s not likely to drive viewership in the process. Sadly for Jon, he seems to be just too good to be employable.