Fitch, a former UFC title challenger, is scheduled to meet fellow UFC veteran Dennis Hallman in the co-main event of WSOF 11 next month, but that was not his original opponent. Fitch was initially scheduled to meet Palhares in a welterweight title fight, but plans were altered when the champ claimed he could not prepare for the fight.
"I wish it was for the belt," Fitch said at a press conference in Las Vegas. "I wish Palhares would have manned up and showed up to fight, but I'll take Dennis Hallman as a fight because I've respected him for a long time."
Palhares is not on the promotion's NBC debut because he chose to sit out the event in favour of taking care of his sick mother. While Fitch is understanding towards the importance of family, he stated that all fighters have problems and that should not hinder him from defending his title.
"We all have problems," Fitch said. "My dad's sick, too. He's going to have a heart procedure the week of the fight. This is a big fight on NBC. He's the titleholder. You have a responsibility as a titleholder to defend your damn title. It's unprofessional.
"I hope his mom is well, and I wish him the best, and I'll pray for him, but you do your job. We're professionals. You do your job."
WSOF 11 takes place July 5 at Ocean Center in Daytona, Fla.
Transcription taken from MMAJunkie.com.