Jon Fitch. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Jon Fitch’s journey back to the top of the UFC’s welterweight division started off with a win on Saturday night as the former collegiate wrestler grinded out a unanimous decision over Japanese pioneer Akihiro Gono in UFC 94’s most high-profile preliminary bout.
After a spectacular and somewhat odd walk to the Octagon by Gono (29-14-7), the PRIDE veteran spent the first few minutes of his bout against Fitch (18-3) defending constant takedown attempts. Fitch, an American Kickboxing Academy product, was eventually able to bring his opponent to the mat, where the majority of the fight took place.
The former UFC welterweight title challenger nearly finished the fight in the second round with an armbar just before time expired, and survived a last-minute comeback effort from Gono on the feet to win a clear-cut decision on the scorecards.
Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s UFC 94 event, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
The event is headlined by a highly-anticipated rematch for the UFC welterweight title between reigning champion Georges St. Pierre and UFC lightweight king B.J. Penn. Undefeated light heavyweights Lyoto Machida and Thiago Silva will collide as well.
Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs) vs. B.J. Penn (168 lbs)
Lyoto Machida (206 lbs) vs. Thiago Silva (206 lbs)
Karo Parisyan (170 lbs) vs. Dong-Hyun Kim (171 lbs)
Nate Diaz (156 lbs) vs. Clay Guida (156 lbs)
Stephan Bonnar (206 lbs) vs. Jon Jones (206 lbs)
Jon Fitch (171 lbs) vs. Akihiro Gono (171 lbs)
Manny Gamburyan (155 lbs) vs. Thiago Tavares (155 lbs)
Chris Wilson (170 lbs) vs. John Howard (171 lbs)
Jake O’Brien (205 lbs) vs. Christian Wellisch (206 lbs)
Matt Arroyo (171 lbs) vs. Dan Cramer (171 lbs)
In the above video, former UFC welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch discusses his upcoming welterweight bout against Japanese veteran Akihiro Gono, which will take place this Saturday night at UFC 94 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Less than 24 hours after Jon Fitch was cut from his UFC contract, it was reported today by his management that they have come to terms. Thus Jon Fitch’s free agency is over.
“Crazy” Bob Cook of Zinkin Entertainment and the American Kickboxing Academy told Sherdog.com about the process.
“We just spent an hour on the phone with Lorenzo [Fertitta],” said Cook, “and cooler heads have prevailed.”
When asked about the negotiations, Cook stated that Fertitta and UFC President Dana White were “on the same page” when it came to their goals but that their approaches were as different as night and day…
...Cook, who was singled out by White as part of the problem, stated Fertitta assured him the working relationship between their camp and White was salvageable.
As for the fates of welterweight contender Josh Koscheck and heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez—both of whom were rumored to be next on the chopping block—as well as heavyweight Christian Wellisch, who was cut along with Fitch on Wednesday, Cook stated that all of the fighters have worked out agreements to remain with the UFC.
This is the exact type of scenario why Lorenzo Fertitta has taken on more of a role in the day to day operations of Zuffa, LLC.
This does not excuse Dana White’s actions in this case at all. But at least in the end, a talent like Jon Fitch remains in the organization that hand down, has the majority of the best welterweights in the world today.
The UFC yesterday released #3 ranked welterweight contender Jon Fitch for failing to sign a document that gives lifetime rights to his likeness in any future video games. The story, first broken by MMA Mania, is developing very quickly. Apparently, Christian Wellisch has also been cut and fellow AKA treammates Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez are also on the chopping block following their upcoming fights.
Fitch, who was defeated in a 5 round war with champion Georges St. Pierre in his last turn in the octagon, was completely taken by surprise by this move. According to MMAWeekly...
“This is like over the course of two days, three days,” Fitch explained about the release. “It had to do with Dana (White) calling my managers and immediately saying, ‘we need to get him to sign this contract’ and ‘it’s a big favor to me.’ Then we asked him, ‘Why do you need this contract signed?’
“Then we finally asked, after reading through the contract, why can’t we negotiate for different terms? Because it asked me for a lifetime contract for the video games, so they would have exclusive rights to use our likeness for these video games and we couldn’t go and do any other video games ever again in our lifetime.”
Before anything was decided, Fitch says his managers tried to re-negotiate a different deal from the lifetime contract, but an ultimatum was soon made.
“So basically we said we weren’t cool with that deal and why can’t we do it for five or 10 years? Why does it have to be a lifetime deal? Their next response was, ‘either you guys are in or you’re out’ and ‘sign this or you’re going to get dropped from the UFC,’” said Fitch. “So we hear that and we didn’t even think they were serious. Why would you want to release fighters at our level over something like that? Doesn’t make any sense.
“Within two phone calls, it got to ‘sign this or you guys are out.’”
Dana White’s response was pretty typical of him. On Yahoo Sports.
“We’re looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I’m just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it’s not even funny. Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren’t partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them…. I’m not a douche bag and I do a lot for these guys, a lot more than any of you will ever know. We’re in a horrible time in the economy now, and every guy with two nickels to rub together is making a run at us. We’ve worked too hard, given too much, to let certain guys come in and [expletive] with that.”
White later toned down thhe rhetoric on the “Carmichael Dave” radio show.
“No, no, no. It has nothing to do with an agreement. It doesn’t have to do with Jon Fitch either. I like Jon Fitch. I’ve never had a bad word with Jon Fitch. The problem is with the idiots that run AKA. I won’t use any names; the idiots know who they are.”
I’m sure there will be a lot more to this story in the upcoming days.
Brock Lesnar. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
It’s only been two days since the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut show in Minnesota and the after-effects of the event are already being hotly-discussed around the MMA world. While the show may not have delivered in terms of brutal and quick stoppages, each fight that took place was filled with technical exchanges and exciting moments. There wasn’t much more the hardcore fan could ask for.
However the results of the bouts, primarily those that took place on the televised main card, have left questions in terms of the futures of some fighters. Will Georges St. Pierre actually rematch B.J. Penn later this year? What’s next for Brock Lesnar, Kenny Florian, and Roger Huerta? Here’s my thoughts on the answers to those…
Will St. Pierre and Penn fight before the end of the year?
Yes. Without a doubt. It’s a fight that even UFC President Dana White has been going crazy about even before St. Pierre fought and defeated Jon Fitch this past weekend. We all know Penn is stubborn when it comes to his goals and it seems like his dream to become a multi-division champion won’t be leaving him anytime soon. St. Pierre is currently at the top of his game in every aspect, especially mentally, meaning that he won’t be turning down any kind of fight at the moment.
Here’s some video from last night’s UFC 87 post-fight press conference, courtesy of ESPN. Georges St. Pierre discusses his successful title defense over Jon Fitch in the above video. Comments from Brock Lesnar, Kenny Florian, and Roger Huerta are after the jump.
Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Casting the ghosts of disappointing defeats aside, Georges St. Pierre flourished in his first successful UFC welterweight title defense, dominating top contender Jon Fitch over five rounds en route to a unanimous decision win in front of a sold-out crowd Saturday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
St. Pierre (17-2) set the tempo early, quickly taking down Fitch (17-3), a former standout wrestler at Purdue University. After a few more meetings with the mat, Fitch was sent there once again courtesy of a straight right from St. Pierre. The Canadian pounced on his opponent and did his best to finish the fight but Fitch, proving true to his reputation, regained his composure and fought on.
“He showed why I said that,” St. Pierre said after the fight when referring to Fitch’s toughness. “It was his first title shot and he did awesome. He’ll be back. I told him that this might be the best thing to ever happen to him.”
We will be going live at 8:00 PM ET tonight with live results of UFC 87: Seek and Destroy, which will take place at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The show’s televised main card will air on pay-per-view and Yahoo! Sports starting at 10 PM ET.
The event will be headlined by Georges St. Pierre defending his UFC welterweight title against gritty top contender Jon Fitch, who will be challenging Royce Gracie’s age-old record for consecutive wins. Additional featured fights include Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring and Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the night. Detailed live results are after the jump.
Roger Huerta. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Just two weekends after Anderson Silva destroyed James Irvin on cable television, the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with it’s latest offering: UFC 87: Seek and Destroy, which is headlined by Georges St. Pierre defending his UFC welterweight title against gritty top contender Jon Fitch, who will be challenging Royce Gracie’s age-old record for consecutive wins.
The UFC didn’t come alone on it’s first trip to the state of Minnesota - hometown products Roger Huerta and Brock Lesnar have come to participate in the biggest fights of their respective careers. Huerta will challenge Kenny Florian for the assumed right to take on UFC lightweight champ B.J. Penn while Lesnar will look to bounce back from an embarrassing first defeat against experienced veteran Heath Herring.
Here’s a little breakdown of what you can expect and what you should watch for during tonight’s event. The televised main card will air on pay-per-view and Yahoo! Sports starting at 10 PM ET. MMA on Tap will have complete play-by-play coverage of the event starting at 8 PM ET, so be sure to check back here throughout the night.