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Jon Fitch possibly relegated to non-televised undercard for UFC 94

It appears those looking to cheer on former UFC welterweight title challenge Jon Fitch in his return to the promotion at UFC 94 following a 24-hour release from the company may have to do so in person at the MGM Garden Arena — or hope his fight vs. Akihiro Gono makes the PPV telecast on a tape-delay basis.

According to the UFC’s official website, Fitch’s bout vs. Gono is currently not one of the five fights guaranteed to make the January 31 PPV event. As of now, the guaranteed televised lineup for the show consists of UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre defending his title vs. UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, Karo Parisyan taking on Dong Hyun Kim, Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva, Nate Diaz vs. Clay Guida, and Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones.

It should be noted that this development is based solely off the UFC’s official listing for the card on its website and the company has yet to make an official statement. It’s also possible that a change in the televised lineup could always be made at a later date.

Fitch was released in November after being caught in the crossfire of a dispute between UFC management and his trainers at the American Kickboxing Academy and management at Zinkin Entertainment. However, after a great deal of negative publicity directed at the UFC, the issue was resolved the next day after Fitch contacted UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and successfully negotiated a return to the company’s roster.

If Fitch’s UFC 94 bout is not broadcast it will be interesting to see what his reaction will be. When he initially began his career in the UFC, his early bouts were not made available during the televised portion of UFC events, a situation that he was once very outspoken about.

34 COMMENTS
  • Kung Foo says:

    Revenge of the Dana !

    lol

  • KTru says:

    It is possible that this is being to looked up upon. All those televised fights should be more intriguing than this match up. But Gono is a colorful character to say the least. Fitch is still a top contender, so I could be wrong.

    Fitch wins easily

  • Bmur says:

    This must just be preliminary reports, because there is no way I think this would actually happen. Jon Fitch is a much bigger draw then Karo, and you’re basically just trading Japanese draws, so it’s a wash. Or god forbid they just show 6 fights guaranteed on the card.

    UFC needs to realize that they have a large enough stable of fighters that they really need to be televising more then 5 fights per card. I’d guarantee 7 and the bonus would 10 if they all finished early.

    It is a Win/Win situation when more fights are televised, fans grow to like new fighters, they gain exposure and experience. Fans get more bang for their buck, and get more of what they want, good fights. In return it gets more people interested, in MMA and the different fighters, which then creates more potential to buy more PPV’s if they know the fighters on the cards. I’m talking casual fans more then anything, but that is where the UFC needs to target if they want to soak up more PPV revenue out there.

    Doesn’t the UFC ultimately benefit when all 150 of their fighters have their own fan base, and don’t appear as no names the first few times they fight on the undercards?

    I think its time for a change.

  • Jeff says:

    Kim is KOREAN, which is why he’s on the main card. They’re really trying to push into Korea.

  • jj420 says:

    i thought the Koreans already received the prelims as part of their broadcast deal with the UFC, so would it make a difference if the Korean fighter is on the main or undercard if they get all the fights?

    i’d rather see Fitch vs. Gono than Karo vs. Kim.

  • Cathedron says:

    Bmur: That’s just not realistic. 3 hours is about all the average person will sit and watch of any sport. Plus, you have to juggle fighter availability, the interest the casual fan has in certain fighters, the unpredictable length of MMA fights (anywhere from 8 seconds to 25 mins), and the fact that many of those fighters on the undercard are there for good reason. Also consider that PPVs are expensive to broadcast and the UFC isn’t going to just suck up that extra cost. Do you want to pay more for your PPVs? I don’t and neither do most people. It makes more sense to focus on five fights and use the undercards to fill in for time if needed.

    As for Fitch: It’s pretty typical that the average fan loses interest in a guy who fights his way up from obscurity and then gets his ass handed to him by the champ. People want to know who the next big challenger is. It takes a hell of a lot to get people behind a former contender. Unfortunately for Fitch, he doesn’t have a ton of charisma or name recognition. It might be better off to keep a low profile until he gets back on his game. Some guys totally crack after a big loss while others rebound right away. Undercard fights mean less pressure, and a loss won’t hurt his name as much since the casual fans won’t have seen it. If he gets a few good wins under his belt, the UFC can promote him more effectively.

  • JOe K. says:

    Bmur – I agree with you totally.

    They should show a guaranteed 7 fights. It is win win for all.

    I know this card is stacked as sh*t but Fitch is getting the shaft. I think this should be above Bonnar/Jones.

    I would say Parisyan/Kim but Judo guys are fun to watch. *see Hiromitsu Miura

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “They should show a guaranteed 7 fights. It is win win for all.”

    And if every fight goes to a decision?

    How are 7 fights going to fight on a three-hour telecast?

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “They should show a guaranteed 7 fights. It is win win for all.”

    And if every fight goes to a decision?

    How are 7 fights going to fight on a three-hour telecast?

  • mike wolfe says:

    Fitch v. Gono has more appeal than Bonnar v. Jones. Hopefully UFC will reconsider.

  • Ian says:

    What the f#@k? Why would the UFC bump Fitch with the Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones??? Wow! Really?

  • derreck says:

    FITCH WHO?

  • docwagner says:

    This is retaliation for the earlier “insubordination” by Fitch…this is how the UFC plays. It ain’t rocket science, they rule with an iron fist.

  • THORAZINE says:

    DANA WHITE IS ACTING LIKE A LITTLE BITCH! This is retribution for going to Fertitta’ Next thing you’ll know Dana is gonna’ have Fitch fight KO’s

  • JOe K. says:

    7 Fights would fit on a 3 hour telecast because the current telecasts are between 2 and 2.5 hrs. The first half hour is all hype on loop followed by live hype followed by intro. Its between 45 and 60 minutes before the first fight.

    They could use that half hour first hype session to show fights because they are already paying for it.

    Do I really care about the back story about brock lesnar and randy couture or Anderson Silva or Patrick Cote? Only for the first loop through the remaining duplicate loops are un-necessary.

    Besides if 7 main card fights went to decision in one card the UFC would have alot more problems then going over time on a PPV event.

  • Robert says:

    Another disgusting move by the UFC. Fitch the 2nd ranked WW in the world against a quality contender in Gono should without question be on the main card. This is another example of the UFC making a point to one of their fighters and also their lack of respect to Japanese MMA. The UFC has a clear bias against Japanese fighters.

  • Made Gilla says:

    Some of you get it and some of you don`t. It`s about DW punishing Fitch for the bad press the UFC got in regards to DW`s tantrum! DW promises THQ that everybody will sign the contract in order to get the video game deal and when THQ comes to collect, DW scrambles to get the athletes to sign their rights away. Fitch stood up and caused a stink. The possibility of not being televised hurts Fitchs` sponsorship earnings!
    MGilla, Padang Padang Bali

  • Brandon says:

    They could fit extra fights in the telecast… if only they would stop wasting time showing promo reels for the main event over and over again and avoid interviewing people like Kevin James who nobody really cares about his opinion and if only they would stop showing sneak peeks of new movies….

  • Crazycanuck says:

    If Dana white ended up in a house fire would anyone care?

    Just give the fans what they want and stop with the BS.

  • JOe K. says:

    The reason the UFC doesn’t like Japanese fighters is they are not “marketable”. I’m sure they are against most non-english speaking fighters holding titles (sans Anderson Silva).

    Case and point Lyoto Machida. His brand of fighting and his personality is deemed not “marketable”.

    Hence he is held back from a title shot until there is no other choice but to give him one.

    He was also not shown on the ultimate fighter. He trained with the guys and at Nog’s birthday party he ate one of those eggs with duck fetus in it. That didn’t get TV time!

    A number one contender on the show “Fear Factors” an weird ass egg and that doesn’t get TV time!?!?!?

  • JJ Docker says:

    “derreck on December 22nd, 2008 10:18 pm

    FITCH WHO?”

    HAHAHA. If your being sarcastic that’s a clever and funny response to this article. Serves Fitch right, he should have signed the deal like every other fighter. We all know what happens when fighters try and make a statement by standing up against White and UFC. They made this shit and so they control this shit. Simple as that.

  • truth says:

    To people saying 7 fights will never fit I don’t know if you’ve been purchasing the last few UFCs but they have put actual movie commercials in the PPV. Not actors in the crowd, not little scenes, but actual commercials.

  • Jonathan Hemming says:

    DANGIT!

    I wanted to see Akihiro Gono show Dave Caplan how it’s done for an intro dance sequence.

    Then again, we’d need the Dragon Lady ring announcer from pride to make it truely complete.

  • Bmur says:

    Ok lots of good points and counter points here, but don’t think for a second that the UFC isn’t making a killing on the PPV revenus vs the cost to produce and put it on. IF they raised the price of PPV they would just be hurting themselves, with the current economy, it would be in their best interest to give the viewers more bang for their buck, and reward them long term by building more fans for more of their fighters. You could also trim down a lot of the fat from the shows including the half and hour of hype time, and cut down the time between bouts.

    So I’m pretty sure that they could get 7, at least 6 fights in their 3 hour time block every time. Hell, I’ve bought every PPV for the UFC in the last 4 years and can’t remember one time when they’ve run the full time.

    Putting fitch on the undercard against a nobody to relieve pressure isn’t what he is looking for, and I’d bet my house that he is going to win that fight convincingly.
    If this is punishment for Fitch having a backbone, and asking for a better deal about the video game rights, then thats fine, I can accept it.

    But I still think 7 fights on each card guaranteed should happen and happen now, the quality of the fights that are on these cards are worth putting them there, and you’ll never have 7 go the distance. If you do Joe Silva and Dana have really dropped a bomb of a card, and like someone said earlier, they will a lot more to worry about, then just extending their PPV.

  • OG UFC says:

    I remeber a few years ago when they would show every fight on the ppv card. once the main even was over you got to see all the undercards. so what use to be around 5 hours of fights has now become only 3 and for the same price. I feel like i’m getting ripped off!

  • King James says:

    Its a simple equation. Fighters want their fights televised + fans want to see the fights= show more fights on tv. Thus sayeth the King

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “To people saying 7 fights will never fit I don’t know if you’ve been purchasing the last few UFCs but they have put actual movie commercials in the PPV. Not actors in the crowd, not little scenes, but actual commercials.”

    You don’t think those companies pay HUGE bucks for that?

    7 fights, with at the BARE minimum, 25 minutes devoted to each leaves 5 minutes of telecast.

    You fools DO realize that you can’t just account for 15 minutes? There are intros, the corner time between rounds, and the post-fight.

    Throw a title fight into the mix and TWO and there’s no possible way you could GUARANTEE seven fights.

  • BigDave says:

    Ok here is the way things should be to make ufc events much better.

    1. Get rid of All the hype videos they play they are useless and most ppl go to the bathroom or to get a snack while they are on.

    2. Speed up the fighter intros they take longer then half the fights do.

    3. The ring entrances are so unnecesary just get in the cage.

    4. Interviews after the fight, are you kidding me i dont give a shit who you wanna thank this is fighting not the grammys.

    5. The celebrity interviews again i dont care who they want to win or what movie or album they want to plug.

    There ive just saved everyone over an hour of crap now show the fights and just the fights everyone wins.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “2. Speed up the fighter intros they take longer then half the fights do.

    3. The ring entrances are so unnecesary just get in the cage.

    4. Interviews after the fight, are you kidding me i dont give a shit who you wanna thank this is fighting not the grammys.”

    Dumb, stupid, and dumb.

    What do you expect?

    Bruce Buffer: This guy is Wanderlei Silva, that guy is Quinton Jackson. The black dude behind me is Herb Dean.

    And I’m pretty sure the fighters’ sponsors “give a shit” if they get namedropped after the fight.

  • Jeff L says:

    LOL Sergio, that’s good stuff. And you are totally right, some folks here have zero concept of presentation or the business end of a PPV. I’m sure BigDave would like it if the fighters were forced to sit ringside for the event so they can just jump in the cage at the immediate conclusion of the fight before theirs.

  • JBAR says:

    I really would not have a problem with the current format if they would change a few things.
    1. cut down the repeats of the promo’s
    2. Get to the fights within 20 minutes of the PPV start

    If you did just these 2 things you would have enough time to show at least 3 of the fights from the undercard on the average PPV. I don’t mind watching the promo’s I just don’t want to see them 3 or 4 times.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “I really would not have a problem with the current format if they would change a few things.
    1. cut down the repeats of the promo’s
    2. Get to the fights within 20 minutes of the PPV start”

    I agree completely.

    But that would only increase the possibility of seeing more of the undercard fights. There’s no way they would guarantee 7 fights.

  • JOe K. says:

    Oh well, the point is that there are things they could do to get more fights in on the main card.

    We are in agreement that the first 30 minutes of hype (looped!) is a waste of time. A fight could take place then. 6 fights would be guaranteed at that point.

    Don’t even get me started on the WEC’s last 2 cards!

  • champ says:

    who cares about jon fitch? The guy beat one good fighter and a bunch a no names and then got crushed by GSP. He’s not fighting a popular fighter and he’s at the bottom for title contention now. So why not give air time to someone they could market better.

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