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Jon Fitch Is Getting Screwed, or Is He?

Jonfitch_0133_mediumThis post from Steve Cofield sums up the conventional wisdom on Jon Fitch's plight in being shunted onto the UFC 94 undercard:

He's slated for the non-televised undercard and may not reach the televised portion unless he produces a spectacular result. It seems odd. Fitch just fought Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title in August and yet no PPV appearance in his next fight? Is this payback for Fitch's highly publicized tiff with the UFC and president Dana White back in November? Fitch isn't thinking about the PPV situation and knows he can't control it:

"I can sit and complain all I want to about stuff but it's not going to do anything and it's not going to change anything."

Fitch was fired by the UFC for a day when he and several other fighters from American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose couldn't come to terms with the organization on rights involving a video game. White flipped out and said he didn't want to work with fighters who were working against the UFC. The rift was patched up the next day and two months later Fitch says he realizes this is the way the real world works:

"I'm sure that everyone out there who's got a job might have ideas that they would change their job and make it better. But they're not the boss, so until I get into a position where I make decisions I gotta keep my mouth shut and just fight."

But here's a different take from Watch Kalib Run:

Perhaps Fitch is simply the victim of the Super Bowl card being too good?

Only five fights are scheduled for pay-per-view. The epic main event between George St. Pierre and B.J. Penn withers that number down to four. Also the Lyoto Machida Thiago Silva fight is a great bout to have right before the main event, it pits two top-ten light heavyweights against each other. The  potential title shot on the line for Machida gives the fight an extra story line.

The UFC usually pits two exciting lightweights against each other to start off their pay-per-view events. This role is filled by Clay Guida and Nate Diaz. That leaves just two spots on the televised card. 

Here is where it gets tricky, you have Jon Fitch, Karo Parisyan and Stephan Bonnar and they are all fighting against relative unknowns, how do you pick which two make the televised card?

Stephan Bonnar has been on an eighteen month hiatus recovering from an injury. Clearly the UFC wants to reintroduce the UFC viewers to a once promising light heavyweight as well as TUF season one finalist. An understandable motive for the time and money that has been invested in Bonnar, leaving just one fight for two fighters. 

Comparing Karo and Fitch is akin to comparing a Hummer to an Excursion, one is just hands down better, in this case Fitch. However there is a difference in competition in these two fights. Fitch is fighting Akihiro Gono, a journeyman fighter. Karo on the other hand is fighting Dong Hyun Kim who is 13-0-1 and a rising talent. Also Karo is on the cusp of falling into irrelevancy. Making the Parisyan-Kim bout far more significant then Fitch-Gono. Just look at the odds, Fitch is favored at a whopping -600. 

Jon Fitch can still make it on to the televised card with a dominating quick victory, but that is dependent on there being a quick victory in the five scheduled bouts. In the end Fitch may of just been a victim of a Super Bowl card truly being 'Super'.