In a surprising move, former UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch has been released. The cuts were confirmed by MMAFighting.com with UFC president Dana White.
Fitch, who won 14 bouts inside the Octagon, rode a 16-fight win streak to a meeting with Georges St-Pierre for the title in 2008.
Joining Fitch on the unemployment line are Vladimir Matyushenko, Terry Etim, Ulysses Gomez, Jorge Santiago, Che Mills, Josh Grispi, Paul Sass, Motonobu Tezuka, Jay Hieron, C.J. Keith, Wagner Prado, Mike Russow, Mike Stumpf, Simeon Thoresen and Jacob Volkmann.
Volkmann has been the only one to make mention of his release, as he confirmed it on Twitter late Tuesday night.
All of the fighters were defeated in their most recent appearances inside the Octagon.
Fitch’s release is quite surprising, but when you break it down a little more, he has been under the microscope of the UFC for several years. Yes, Fitch earns plenty of wins, but he doesn’t do it on a regular basis with “style” points. His grinding attack can keep most fighters off their game, but it doesn’t seem to play well with the fans or UFC officials.
The decision to bring in several younger fighters from Strikeforce has forced the UFC’s hand in making tough roster decisions. There are only so many matches and so many cards, so the veteran guys like Fitch and Matyushenko are either going to have to start piling up impressive wins, or seek employment elsewhere.
These recent releases should serve as a reminder to the middle- and lower-tier fighters that each and every performance is being examined by White, Joe Silva and the rest of the UFC brass.