Jon Fitch has piled up a 13-1-1 record in the UFC, only losing to Georges St. Pierre and drawing with B.J. Penn during his nearly seven year run with the promotion. Despite staking a clear claim as the number two welterweight in the world, a second title shot does not seem to be something that is a given for Fitch. We are exactly three years removed from Fitch's August 9, 2008 loss to GSP.
In no other sport would an athlete or team be able to have the level of success Fitch has had while not being able to sniff a shot a the championship because they lost in their one shot three years ago.
Fitch is not the most crowd pleasing fighter. He is a grinding wrestler who has gone to decision in nine straight bouts. This makes Jon one of the main points of discussion in the debate over how much of the UFC is based on sport and how much is entertainment.
Fitch has also had his share of problems with the UFC, dating back to when he was released from the UFC for refusing to sign their lifetime likeness rights agreement. He also has been one of the leading voices in the refusal for fighters to fight their teammates. And, recently, Fitch said that he had no desire to fight Rick Story when Story started campaigning for a fight. Fitch felt that it was not a fight appropriate for this stage in his career, saying every fight should be against main event level fighters to get back to a title shot.
Dana White spoke to MMA Weekly briefly over this past weekend and offered up the following on Fitch's future:
"What guys want to do and what happens are two different things," White told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday night. "If we can give him all champions and ex-champions, we'll see. He's gonna have to fight who we say he's going to fight."
Quotes like this make me think Fitch may end up leaving the UFC with a legacy not just as one of the greatest welterweights the sport has seen, but as a man who defined the sport vs. entertainment debate and the lack of control fighters have over their careers.