The UFC wasted no time in letting the MMA community know that they are in control and hold all the cards. The UFC released 16 fighters coming off losses this past week. Some of the names like Josh Grispi and Vladimir Matyushenko made sense to me, and others like Jacob Volkman and Mike Russow didn’t.
~ The complete list of released fighters ~
Heavyweight: Mike Russow
Light heavyweight: Vladimir Matyushenko, Wagner Prado
Welterweight: Jon Fitch, Che Mills, Jay Hieron, Jorge Santiago, Simeon Thoresen, Mike Stumpf
Lightweight: Jacob Volkmann, Paul Sass, C.J. Keith, Terry Etim
Featherweight: Josh Grispi
Bantamweight: Motonobu Tezuka
Flyweight: Ulysses Gomez
The biggest problem I have with this list is the name that stands out the most. When I first read this list I thought I was smoking some of that good Diaz stuff. Reading that the UFC cut a top 10 welterweight in Jon Fitch makes me sick.
Now I understand that Fitch’s contract probably had a lot to do with this. Fitch is one of the top paid welterweights in the UFC, and his stock has went down as of late. Fitch is 1-2-1 is his last four fights and after watching Maia just walk through one of the best wrestlers at 170, maybe it is time to move on?
In 2008, Fitch fought Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title but lost via unanimous decision. Fitch began his UFC career 8-0, and the loss was his first after a 16-fight win streak. After the loss, Fitch went on another winning streak winning 5 in a row beating guys like Bellator’s welterweight Ben Saunders, Mike Pierce, and beating Thiago Alves again in their rematch before going to a majority draw with B.J. Penn at UFC 127.
The UFC just shut down Strikeforce leaving Bellator as the number 2 promotion and you can’t honestly think that Fitch is Bellator bound. Fitch is still ranked #9 in the UFC’s official rankings. Why have rankings like this if they definitely don’t matter?
The UFC just brought over a good chunk of Strikeforce fighters into the welterweight division and guys like Tyron Woodley made a statement in their debut, so why not let Fitch fight a guy like that?
Woodley has power in his hands, which has been a problem for Fitch in the past (Johny Hendricks), and he has a good wrestling background. This would of been a perfect fight for Fitch before the UFC decided to release one of their best fighters in the division.
~ Final Thought ~
We all know there is way more too this than we all know, but this is a huge mistake for the UFC. If you are just releasing him because he got out wrestled, then they will regret that five fold.
Maia is a great wrestler, but has a weak chin. Does UFC 102 mean anything? UFC 102 was when two top middleweights battled and Maia went too sleep in 21 seconds of the first round when Nate Marquardt knocked him out.
If Maia cant get a hold of you, then you still have a chance of putting him away early. Fitch has no striking/KO power, so Maia’s game-plan for that fight was perfect.
But what happens if he has to fight a guy like Tyron Woodley or Marquardt? Especially since Marquardt and Maia are fighting in the same weight class again. I would love to see that rematch at 170 lbs.
I wish Fitch the best of luck and wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in the UFC really soon. I don’t see him going to Bellator, even though a Ben Askren vs. Jon Fitch fight would be a good one for the grappling fans like myself.