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Jon Fitch Doesn’t Think MMA Should Be ‘Dumbed Down’ To Make Fans Happy

Jon Fitch has taken a ton of heat over the years for his fighting style and inability to finish fights. Rather than take it as constructive criticism though, Fitch has always argued that winning, and not how it is accomplished, is what matters most. To him, the sport of MMA is as simple as determining whose style of martial arts is the best. Fitch elaborated on that point and expressed his frustration with fans who don’t always find the purity of the sport entertaining in a recent interview with Sherdog.

“A fight is a fight. We fight to find out who’s the best, whose the best style is. The whole point of UFC 1 was to find out what style was the most effective and whose is the best, and I think we’ve gotten away from just styles, you know, jiu-jitsu or boxing or whatever, and we’ve gotten into games, like what kind of game is dominant, who’s going to apply which types of pieces from each style in their game to make it dominant. And I think that’s exciting and fun to watch, and if people don’t think that’s exciting and fun to watch, then I don’t think they’re a fan of MMA. I think they’re a pro wrestling fan and I think they’re a kung fu movie fan, and that’s what they want to see. I think they want to see pro wrestling or kung fu movies, and I don’t think that we should dumb down the sport to make that small percentage of people happy. I don’t think it makes sense. I don’t like soccer, but I don’t go on forums all day and bitch and moan about how they don’t use their hands.”

As Dana White explained to Ariel Helwani yesterday though, it’s not that simple when you’re asking people to spend their money on your product. Transcription via Fight Opinion:

“People can think pro-wrestling or whatever… The problem with Jon Fitch is, you know, you hear this same thing from everybody about Jon Fitch. ‘If I want to fall asleep and I can’t get to sleep at night, I’ll put in a Jon Fitch fight.’ You know, and… whatever you think, Jon Fitch is one of the best 170 pounders in the world and, yes, he’s in the hunt for the title again. But everybody, I mean, find one person that will tell you that they love a Jon Fitch fight, it’s the most exciting thing they’ve ever seen and they just get so excited for it. So, when you say that you have a fight like (Donald) Cerrone and (Nate) Diaz on the card and a guy with a record like [Fitch’s] is on and people aren’t jumping out of their seats for that fight, you know, I think Jon needs to have a little bit of a, you know, he’s got to be a little honest with himself and have a little bit of a reality check when he talks about stuff like that.”

Personally, I think Fitch’s view on the sport is a little too idealistic. Sure, mixed martial arts, and more specifically, the UFC was developed with the intention of finding out which fighting style is the best (or from the founder’s POV, proving that Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is the best), but at the end of the day, MMA doesn’t exist, at least not on the level it does today, unless people want to see the fights so badly they’re willing to pay for them. Some of the best fights have ended in decisions, but for the most part fans want to see exciting fights culminating in dramatic finishes. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s what gets our heart racing and our blood pumping. It’s what we pay for. That doesn’t mean the sport needs to become pro wrestling, a kung-fu movie or “dumbed down.” It just means it needs to be exciting, and sorry, but grinding away at opponents for endless rounds just isn’t.

Image via Daniel Herbertson for MMA Fighting

  • i like sexy time

    I havnt read any of that but iv got to say when i cant sleep i just put a jon fintch fight on and im out clean in 2mins

  • Quardy

    the only way Jon Fitch can make an exiciting fight is when someone bashes his face into a bloody pulp and one of his limps breaking in half. That would be an exciting Jon Fitch fight.

  • Jacob Berezansky

    I get it, and for 50 bucks I demand to be entertained, and I usually am, but if you’re buying a card with Jon Fitch on it, you know what to expect. It’s the same with GSP; nobody is ever shocked to see either of them grind out a decision win because it’s basically all either one of them does. They’re not tricking you, so stop complaining about it. However, when Fitch fought GSP, I was amazed. That fight was an awesome one, and I’d gladly see it again.

    • i like sexy time

      I think your the only one mate!

  • Luckiethirteen

    Sorry John but that analogy makes no sense. The people that are complaining are not the people that DON’T like MMA. Its the people that DO that don’t like your style. We get it. You want to win. A grind is going to happen with any given bout. But, you play it TOO safe and it gets old after a period of time. If your happy with it, great. But don’t expect to sell alot of PPV’s and don’t ever expect a huge payday. Put it this way. We know you don’t like soccer but lets say you like football. How would you feel if your favorite team, on every 2nd down, punted if they didn’t get a first down. If they were close enough, maybe they’d try for a field goal. Hopefully grind out a win. You wouldn’t like it one bit. That’s what your doing John! Think about it. Take some chances is all we are asking. Who knows, you may surprise yourself!       

    • JTalbain

      Actually, Jon Fitch isn’t playing it as safe as everyone makes him out to be. Look at Chael Sonnen’s record; he’s another high level wrestler who hangs out in people’s guard and beats them up. Sonnen, however, doesn’t manage to even make his opponents look like they’ve been in a fight because he does almost no damage, and he’s been submitted by triangle choke 8 times. Jon Fitch is hanging out in a position that gives anyone with a BJJ game tons of options for control and submissions, and he is so good they can’t utilize any of them.

      If you were going to go by Demian Maia’s last few fights against certain BJJ black belts, you’d have no idea that Maia was any good at submitting people, because all they are trying to do is hold position and defend the submission. They have too much respect for Maia’s dominance on the ground to try to attack at all, because they don’t want their attempts to get reversed.

      Similarly, i think Fitch’s fights aren’t as exciting as they could be because the fighter on the bottom isn’t trying to really fight back. They’re trying to either wait for an opening that will never come to escape to their feet or waiting for the ref to stand them up, and that is boring. You’re there to fight, so fight back. Contrast that to Fitch’s fight with Diego Sanchez. That fight was incredible and fast paced even though Fitch was fighting exactly the same way as he always does. The difference was that Sanchez wasn’t willing to lay there and take it. He made Jon work for his victory rather than handing it to him, and that’s what made it exciting for everyone.

      • Pauly Jozseffrd

        Hey Taliban! Finally an MMA intelligent Fan who actually knows what he is talking about.Gr8 fucking comment “J”.I am sick and tired of ppl bitching and complaining about Fitch,GSP,Torres,Shields.I dunno why ppl say fitch and GSP are lay and pray fighters coz I personally never seen either of’em lay and pray ever they always work on the ground and ground and pound or looking for subs.You know these new generation of MMA Fans crossed over from WWE about the same time as Lesnar came over to MMA.Well these are fans who are only fans because it’s”Cool” to be a UFC fan these days.Well these new fans all they want to see is fighters get knocked out cold get broken arms and legs ,they want to see blood,blood and more blood,but they really have no clue what is MMA all about.I;ve been a fan since 93 and it really piss me off that now days after a fight when a fighter wins”only”by decision they have to Apologize for not Knocking out their opponent in the in cage post fight interview with Joe Rogan.Just look what happened to Demian Maia lately he went away from his roots of Jiu Jitsu and try to be a Stand up fighter well he lost 2 of his last 3 fights and haven’t had a finish in his past 5 or 6 fights.I remember I used to love watching him submitting guys.His Jiu Jitsu was real exiting to watch coz the high level of it!!!.Well anyways I guess it wont be any better either and these idiotic”Fans”keep booing World Champions because they refuse to brawl with way less talented fighters!!!All the best to u Taliban Cheers

        • Doug Berry

          You lose Pualy Jozseffard too bad your love of your life Fitch is gone-bye bye, no more RE-LEASED by the UFC just like predicted he would be. Fitch’ suc’ks

      • Timmy

        “Jon Fitch is hanging out…”…
        ”  the fighter on the bottom isn’t trying to really fight back…You’re there to fight, so fight back.”

  • Stewielock

    yes we want excitment and ko’s but with jui jitsu and some other fighting styles its about wearing on your opponent till they have had enough or get lazy and submitted. im not j a fan of  john but a win is a win and if the fights went longer maybe we would see more


    Fitch is hands down the most boring ass fighter to ever fight in MMA.  His jits is non-existant,  Zero subs, stand up beyond sucks,   His wrestling is only stalling and not true wrestling.  I guess thats why he was 30-48 in college.  Fitch has almost ruined MMA for millions of fans.  The wrestler friendly rules are only reason Fitch is able to stall his way to boring ass wins.  Not to mention besides the FACT he is a natural lightheavyweight who is afraid to fight anyone his own size.  Dana needs to release Fitch before he runs off anymore fans.

  • scott schor

    If you want MMA to be more exciting, relax some of the silly rules … kneeing or kicking a downed opponent, striking the back of the head … free it up and let a fight be determined by fighting.  I have no problem with Jon Fitch’s opinion.  He’s right.  The rules set the boundaries for how a fight is fought.  

  • James Pastuch

    The thing is I felt the same way, UFC 100 I totally bitched about Fitch ruining that event. When he fought Penn he was beating the crap out of him on top. You as I did just have to watch Fitch fights with that in mind. He opened up against GSP and his ass handed to him. I just don’t think he will ever be a good striker.

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