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So You Want To Be A Champion: Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck on a collision course

What appearred to be nothing more than a friendly ribbing from UFC President Dana White in the direction of Jon Fitch in regards to potentially facing off with long-time teammate Josh Koscheck following the welterweight contender’s UFC 111 slow-grind victory over Ben Saunders quickly escalated into “real talk” as the godfather of the most successful fight promotion on the planet sunk his feet firmly into the sand and took a position to take the power back, so to speak.

The evidence speaks for itself. Check out the video below made available through ESPN Radio 1100, which is followed by a full transcript:

UFC 111 Post-Fight Press Conference

Question: What did you think of GSP’s performance?

Jon Fitch: Very technical. I thought he would have posted up and did a little more ground and pound, throw some more elbows; but he controlled the fight. He lost some vital opporunities to finish; with the kimura, the armbars, and even his back control. He gave up a lot of good positions when he had his back. It was a good fight for him, but I still see flaws in his game, and that’s why I want to fight him next.

Question: You were pointing at yourself; would you like to…

Jon Fitch: Absolutely. I mean, there’s nothing that’s more important to me right now than fighting for a title.

Question: Dana, do you think he could…

Jon Fitch: I mean, I’m 12-1 in the UFC – one loss to GSP- and I’ve won my last four straight fights. I wish they would have all been finishes, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But I’m a better fighter than the first time we fought, and I want a title shot.

Dana White: Yeah, he’s in the mix. There’s no doubt, he’s in the mix. There’s a couple guys at the top of the division; maybe we do him and Koscheck for the number one spot.

Question: Would you be able to do that Jon?

Jon Fitch: No, I wouldn’t be able to do that.

Dana White: He doesn’t want the title shot that bad then.

Jon Fitch: If that fight had to happen, it would happen at our gym with the doors closed. 

Dana White: (Sarcastically) I would make a lot of money.

Post Conference Presser

Dana White: I’m not kidding when I say I want to see Koscheck fight Fitch, okay, I’m sick of that shit.

Question: Do you want to erradicate this, ‘We’re in one team, and we can’t fight each other’?

Dana White: Yeah, ‘We’re all friends and shit’. This isn’t the…

Question: It’s not a team sport, is it?

Dana White: It’s not. Everybody works hard and they put their time in and everything else, and they talk about how bad they want a title shot. Just like Jon said tonight, ‘I want that title so bad’. Really? How bad do you want it. You wanna fight Koscheck? He’s in your division and he’s one of the best. You could flip a coin over who people think is the best, as far as numbering goes.

Question: They both say, ‘We won’t fight each other’; would you skip over both of them…

Dana White: You know, who knows, maybe. Listen, there’s no reason two guys can’t go out and compete against each other to see who’s better, and not be friends. These guys all get along… It’s over, man. This whole ‘We don’t want to fight each other’ thing is over. How long can it go on when you have two of the top guys in the same division and they won’t fight each other, you know?

—-

Oh, we know, Dana – trust me, we know.  I don’t think there’s a fight fan breathing that’s not somehow connected to the American Kickboxing Academy that isn’t on your side in this one.

I personally made my stance as clear as day back in November of 2009 when I pleaded for Joe Silva and company to do the right thing. The right thing being to end this “we’re all in the same gang” way of approaching things when it comes to the extremely individual oriented world of mixed martial arts.

Maybe one day they’ll put together tag team matches where Fitch and Koscheck will very likely end up crowned as champions, but until that day, there are no “teams” in MMA at it’s core.

I’m not going to sit here and sugar-coat it for you guys; I had a bitter taste in my mouth following the completion of UFC 111, not only due to the fact that I had just endured an excrutiating eight full rounds (outside of a few submission “attempts” on the part of GSP) of uncut, old school “lay and pray” – which is exactly what it was – but mainly due to the fact that myself, along with many, many others knew that there was little chance of either of the bout’s ending up any other way. Unfortunatley for St. Pierre and Fitch, while there’s no debating the fact that Saunders and Hardy are undisputed tough hombres, the predictability of the outcome of both fights has little to do with the incompetentness of either previously mentioned opponent, and everything to do with both fighter’s general inability to seal the deal.

We’ve all heard it a thousand times before: ‘I want to apologize to all of my fans. I really wanted to finsh this fight and I know a lot of you guys are dissapointed’. With some fighters it becomes comparable to a broken record. Almost like they’re performing on auto-repeat. They say all of the right things, but the proof is in the pudding. Bottom line.

Well, I’ll tell you what; I stand firmly in the camp of dissapointed fans on both sides of the fence. You may not think so from reading this article, but I’m a huge fan of both GSP and Jon Fitch. Both guys are tremendous athletes, modern day gladiators, and deserve all the respect that their mutual glory in the Octagon has afforded them. With that being said, I feel let down by both fighters from a fan’s point of view. I feel lied to. They’re speaking to my heart promising to step their game up in looking for the finish, yet it seems as if there’s a true lack of concern on both ends.

The bottom line is simply this: I honestly couldn’t think of a single UFC title fight possibility that I would rather not watch based on the previous performance of both fighters than that of GSP vs. Fitch II. I’d be shocked if I’m in the minority on this one. You could bill the card as “Grindamania 2010” as the sequence of events in the potential match up would inevitably lead to both men scratching and growling all over one another for a painfully hard to watch 25 minutes of action, or non-action depending on your approach to the fight game.

If Fitch would have come out and blazed through Saunders at UFC 111, I feel like there would be very few that would argue against a title shot for the notorious grinder with the sparkiling 12-1 UFC record due the notion that he had made an honest attempt to correct what fan’s have long deemed wrong about his fighting style: A near inability to finish a fight against UFC level opposition in impressive fashion. But that’s not what happened. Instead it looked like a carbon copy of the Jon Fitch that suffered a one-sided beating at the hands of St. Pierre just a year and a half ago. Have you been covinced that Fitch has improved since his previous title defeat? Serious question. Do you personally visualize a different outcome than the first bout between the two?

Fitch has rebounded from the defeat in dominant fashion, reeling off four consecutive victories, but what many feel the top welterweight is failing to get is the fact that he needs to convince the public that he has improved enough to make his chances in a rematch against GSP seem sellable. Honestly, at this point a fight between St. Pierre and Fitch would be a financial disaster. Georges has been involved in overall lackluster decisions in his last pair of outings against Thiago Alves and Hardy, and a third would do nothing for the marketability of one of the UFC’s undisputed biggest money makers.

Enter Josh Koscheck. Not only has Koscheck looked nothing short of incredible in his last two performances in the octagon – laying waste to both Frank Trigg and Anthony Johnson in jaw dropping fashion – but a similar savage showing in his upcoming showdown with the heavy handed Paul Daley would absolutely serve to heighten interest in seeing the fellow American Kickboxing trained athlete have his date with destiny via a title clash against GSP in the not so distant future.

The teammate vs. teammate dilemma appears to be coming to a head one way or another very soon. With fighters such as Tyson Griffin and Evan Dunham from Xtreme Couture being among the first to tear down the walls of the “friends shouldn’t fight friends” stereotype in mixed martial arts, Koscheck and Fitch seem headed on an unavoidable colision course in the same direction. Whether they like it or not.

32 COMMENTS
  • bigbadjohn says:

    Unrelated but UFC 115 got cancelled for Vancouver. What a shame, here in Vancity we love MMA

  • Mulletsoldier says:

    No offense, Cory, but your argument is untenable for several reasons – not the least of which being GSP’s clear intent to finish fights in each of his four consecutive title defenses.

    Even if we presuppose that your point about GSP/Fitch is true – which, it is not: GSP put on a striking clinic against Fitch, and scored at least three knockdowns in that fight in impressive fashion – the fact that GSP’s other recent decisions (Alves and Penn) were very exciting bouts speak clearly against your point. In all honesty, I am interested to know how many MMA fans outside of yourself considered GSP’s win against Alves boring? He dominated and damaged a WW who many felt to be nearly as good as GSP at the time, out-struck him on the feet and ground to make his face look like cabbage, and took virtually no damage (outside of his abductor) while doing so. Ditto for Penn, and GSP’s vicious and brutal GnP during that bout. You are equating Jon Fitch’s decisions (with no intent to finish) to GSP’s decisions (with all intent to finish) and are failing horribly at doing so.

    While I usually enjoy your articles, your approach in this instance comes off as both privileged and short-sighted, particularly when one considers how little removed we are from A. Silva/Leites, which was an “lackluster decision.” Without mincing words, you sound as if you are fan-boy, not a legitimate MMA journalist.

  • Guthookd says:

    Nice rant.

  • king mah mah says:

    I think Fitch has earned another shot wheather he fights Koshcheck or not. Having said that, I think it’s bullshit that guys from the same camp try to duck each other all the time. It’s your job! Do what you’re told! Or you’re FIRED!! LOL

  • king mah mah says:

    This is off topic, but what happened to the thumbs up thumbs down icons?

  • Dufresne says:

    On the other side of the coin we have the Lauzon brothers who have already admitted that they’d be game to fight each other if that was in the cards. I know they’re your friends, but come on folks, it’s a job.

    king mah mah: This is off topic, but what happened to the thumbs up thumbs down icons?  

    I was wondering that myself. Actually my first thought was mah mah is gonna be pissed if we can’t give him the thumbs downs he craves.

  • MCM says:

    king mah mah: This is off topic, but what happened to the thumbs up thumbs down icons?  

    that’s what I was wondering

    and I agree completely with Cory on this one regarding a 2nd fight between GSP and Fitch. Honestly, that fight has so little interest for me that if it went to dec. I wouldn’t even watch it the next day online, cause I don’t want to waste the time.
    As for GSP’s style of fighting…..well, I think GSP has the unfortunate ability to make exciting fighters look boring. Hardy is an exciting fighter, as is Alves, and Penn. But GSP has reached such a high level of this sport that he makes these guys look like amatures. I honestly believe that if he stays in the WW division he runs the risk of being a “hated” champion. He’s done all he needs to/can do at Welter Weight, move up and challenge yourself. Stop phoning in championship fights.

  • king mah mah says:

    @Dufesne-LMAO! Actually I flipped the script and have been trying to get thumbs up! It makes posting kinda fun. I hope they bring em back.

  • king mah mah says:

    @Dufresne & MCM- Green thumbs up to both of you! LOL

  • Rece Rock says:

    I think if the situation isn’t the way it is then fitch would probably be next in line with out an issue but I think DW is so aggrivated by this that he will probably force them to fight just to make a point and set a precident… DW seems like he’s had enough and is willing to stall both fighters progress with in the division to prove he’s the boss and gets what he wants and also take this chance to set an example for future reference to all fighters with friends/ team mates in their division

  • Hume says:

    Cory,

    I just read the old post regarding Fitch vs. Koscheck. I’m a little disappointed. It appears your only arguments are “I want to see the fight, the fans want to see the fight, and the winner would get a shot at the title.” These three reasons seem pretty weak when trying to persuade close friends to fight each other. Each has said they are unwilling to fight, even if a title shot is the reward. Why are they wrong? Simply stating “but a title shot is on the line” is an insufficient answer because this is the issue in dispute in the first place. This leaves your two other arguments: “I want to see the fight and fans want to see the fight.” I disagree that this is enough.

  • Vogairian says:

    Hume: Cory,I just read the old post regarding Fitch vs. Koscheck.I’m a little disappointed.It appears your only arguments are “I want to see the fight, the fans want to see the fight, and the winner would get a shot at the title.”These three reasons seem pretty weak when trying to persuade close friends to fight each other.Each has said they are unwilling to fight, even if a title shot is the reward.Why are they wrong?Simply stating “but a title shot is on the line” is an insufficient answer because this is the issue in dispute in the first place.This leaves your two other arguments: “I want to see the fight and fans want to see the fight.”I disagree that this is enough.  

    The only arguement that is needed for any two fighters to fight should be, “The matchmaker said so.” If you aren’t willing to fight the guys you train with than you should either train at a different gym or don’t train with guys in your division, simple as that.

  • Hume says:

    Vogairian,

    The “because the boss said so” argument seems rather weak. There are infinite analogies one can make to illustrate this. I’m sure there are tons of things you would not do at work, regardless of your boss’ wishes.

    Also, perhaps it is a reasonably calculated risk to join a gym with others in the same weight class, knowing that you will not be able to fight your friends in the future, with the belief that this is the best group to train with to advance a career.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    I’m tired of the teammate card myself. Effectively these cats hold a division hostage if this continues. Enough is enough

  • Dufresne says:

    Hume: Vogairian,The “because the boss said so” argument seems rather weak.There are infinite analogies one can make to illustrate this.I’m sure there are tons of things you would not do at work, regardless of your boss’ wishes.Also, perhaps it is a reasonably calculated risk to join a gym with others in the same weight class, knowing that you will not be able to fight your friends in the future, with the belief that this is the best group to train with to advance a career.  

    There are hundreds of things at work that I wouldn’t do “because the boss said so.” However, I would never refuse to DO MY JOB because “the boss said so.”
    They aren’t the promoter, they aren’t the matchmaker, they are the fighters. Period. Their job is to fight for the promotion who the promotion tells them to fight. There is no argument for that.
    Like Vogarian said, if you don’t want to fight your friend, don’t fight in the same weight class, or in the same promotion.

  • Hume says:

    “Their job is to fight for the promotion who the promotion tells them to fight. There is no argument for that.”

    Is this definitely the case? I’m not familiar with UFC contracts. Do most state that the fighter is required to fight any opponent the organization chooses? If so, that is a very strong argument in support of Dana White’s position. If not, and a fighter has some say as to his opposition, I’m not persuaded by the “boss said so” argument.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    Fuck DW man

    Dana u need to respect the fighters and not laught in their faces because with out them you will not have a job.

    We are not buying ppv to watch you make jokes right? The. Respect the guys decision and don’t make fun of them in public where they can’t fire back because they could be fired.

    + Fitch, Kos and Swick said they will fight eachother only if one was the Champ and the other the number 1 contender. So quick judging because none of u will REALLY fight your best friends infront of thousands of people knowing that one of you can get seriously injured.

  • Connor Cobain says:

    Ya but if they start pulling out teamates to fight eachother it might go to far. Randy Couture just dropped down to LHW a division that his pupil Forrest Griffin is in in the top 5 of. Both are comming off of victories, the UFC brass could tell them to fight and it would screw Forrest over, he’d have to find a new gym and train partners. It’s going to turn into more trouble than its worth.

  • twyg says:

    If Dana can get Fitch and Kos to fight he needs to get Lyoto (if he beats Shogun) vs. Anderson. That is the intracamp fight I really want to see. If they can break this “I’m not fighting my friends” thing they should make a card with all the fights being intracamp fights. Only problem would be if they took it easy on each other like when the Williams sisters play tennis against each other; you can tell they are not giving 100%.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    Paul Daley is gonna dump Koscheck anyway so its a mute point

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    I recall one of the U.K. guys who name escapes me at the moment stating that a fight with a team member wouldn’t be his 1st choice but, if UFC called and told them to fight then he would go and try to knock him out then go have a beer with him after the match.

    Might have been Ross Pearson but, I wouldn’t swear to it or the exact quote but, the basics are the same. Just because you train with someone and are good friends does not mean you won’t have to fight them.

    Just look at it as part of your job,do your best and hold no hard feelings.

    On a semi-unrelated note I would like to see Diaz and Hardy throw down or put Kos into the mix or any combo of matches between those three would make for solid match ups

  • k-class says:

    We fight in a sport that might involve getting hurt. My best friend wins then goes onto a title shot, i would happily be that guy, lose the belt to a friend, then i shake his hand, and ask him to show me what it was that beat me. I dont think Dana should laugh it off, but i think he’s right, you live breathe and bleed for your living, then nothing should stand in the way, and friends above all that understand. And i dont care how good a friend my sparring partner is, i wat to know if i really can beat him or not!!!

  • sexy-yama says:

    Dont think danas a big fish fan after he fired him and then rehired him or lorenzo did lol, but I rekon FIsh would beat Kos via lay and pray, his lay and pray is only 2nd to GSP

  • sexy-yama says:

    @Dufresne & MCM- Green thumbs up to both of you! LOL  

    Why dont you 3 get a room LOL j/ks <3

  • JabCrossHook says:

    Dana White needs to learn some humility because without knowing the Fertitta brothers he would never be in that position. He would still be teaching cardio boxing at the gym.

  • Vogairian says:

    Vogairian,The “because the boss said so” argument seems rather weak.There are infinite analogies one can make to illustrate this.I’m sure there are tons of things you would not do at work, regardless of your boss’ wishes.Also, perhaps it is a reasonably calculated risk to join a gym with others in the same weight class, knowing that you will not be able to fight your friends in the future, with the belief that this is the best group to train with to advance a career.  

    You’re right there are quite a few things if my boss told me to do I would refuse. On that same note, if it was something resonable and I refused, I’d be out of a job. So no, not really a weak argument at all. If I’m Dana I lay it down rather flatly and give them the options of fight each other, move up or down in class, or take a trip down to San Jose.

  • Hume says:

    Vogarian,

    “if it was something resonable and I refused, I’d be out of a job.”

    I agree. My only concern is whether or not it is reasonable to demand friends and teammates to fight each other, especially considering the extent of their desire not to. I’m not sure either way, I’m just judging the arguments put forth by Corey and I think they are rather weak.

  • Genesis says:

    The main problem with teammates fighting is that they know the others style. They know what small signals they give for ground transitions, what movements they make before they strike, and exactly how much they can take.

  • retrofitting123 says:

    On the other side of the coin we have the Lauzon brothers who have already admitted that they’d be game to fight each other if that was in the cards. I know they’re your friends, but come on folks, it’s a job. I was wondering that myself. Actually my first thought was mah mah is gonna be pissed if we can’t give him the thumbs downs he craves.  (Quote)

    ILL SAY WHAT DANA WAS REALLY SAYING,”WHO GIVES A SH-T ABOUT JON FITCH AND HIS BORING FIGHTS”!!!!!!!!!!

  • chiggs says:

    first off, i wanna say jon fitch is so boring, i cant stand it. secondly, friemds not wanting to fight, if they dont want to fight who the ufc wants them to fight, then tell them to get to steppin. go to strikeforce. then we wil see if they will fight with their contract and future on the line. also, the lauzon brothers said they would fight each other. brothers mind you. thats a true warrior. if two brothers are willing to fight, friends not wanting to fight has no leg to stand on

  • MMApride19 says:

    No offense, Cory, but your argument is untenable for several reasons – not the least of which being GSP’s clear intent to finish fights in each of his four consecutive title defenses.Even if we presuppose that your point about GSP/Fitch is true – which, it is not: GSP put on a striking clinic against Fitch, and scored at least three knockdowns in that fight in impressive fashion – the fact that GSP’s other recent decisions (Alves and Penn) were very exciting bouts speak clearly against your point. In all honesty, I am interested to know how many MMA fans outside of yourself considered GSP’s win against Alves boring? He dominated and damaged a WW who many felt to be nearly as good as GSP at the time, out-struck him on the feet and ground to make his face look like cabbage, and took virtually no damage (outside of his abductor) while doing so. Ditto for Penn, and GSP’s vicious and brutal GnP during that bout. You are equating Jon Fitch’s decisions (with no intent to finish) to GSP’s decisions (with all intent to finish) and are failing horribly at doing so.
    While I usually enjoy your articles, your approach in this instance comes off as both privileged and short-sighted, particularly when one considers how little removed we are from A. Silva/Leites, which was an “lackluster decision.” Without mincing words, you sound as if you are fan-boy, not a legitimate MMA journalist.  

    I completely agree with this, great post.

    GSP’s previous bout against Hardy was more testament to Hardys great grappling defence, and Hardys unbelievable heart and will to fight through seriously painful, fight stopping submission attempts. GSP DID try very hard to finish Hardy, and he very nearly did… most other fighters would have tapped to those submissions, they were in really tight. He chose not to stand with Hardy because that was Hardys strength, he fought a very smart fight. Although not the most exciting fight, it was a smart fight, and thats how you need to fight in this era of MMA.

    I do agree with the part about team mates not wanting to fight each other, i think it is ridiculous. Its preventing so many great fights happening. These fights are entertainment for US, the FANS. We pay to see them fight, and thus contribute to there wages! Its there job, they are employed by the UFC! And so should have limited say in who they fight… thats my opinion anyway.

  • inkythewinky says:

    kos and fitch better decide whos gonna not be a ww so the butt-mates wont have to fight

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