Bellator welterweight contender Jon Fitch tested positive for elevated testosterone levels prior to a WSOF title fight against Rousimar Palhares in 2014. It’s a mishap that continues to follow him to this day, and it was recently used against him by renowned trainer Firas Zahabi.
Zahabi went on to brand Fitch as a “coward” and a “cheater”, and believes the leniency of testing in Bellator could be easily gamed. On Monday’s episode of the MMA Hour, Fitch went to open up about the factors that led to his PED use at the time.
“That short period of time, I broke and I thought I was missing out on something,” Fitch explained (via MMA Fighting). “I fell down a spiral of depression. I was struggling with my personal family life and finances.
“I got to a place where you could see other guys around you — I found out about guys who I fought who were on TRT, the therapeutic exemptions, I learned about Vitor Belfort’s testosterone being covered up and him being allowed to compete anyway.
“There were rumors of other guys, that happening too, also. And then I was taking a 70 percent pay cut, at least 70 percent pay cut from going from the UFC to World Series of Fighting.”
Fitch did express regret with what he had done, but at the time, he says he was actually rationalizing his actions.
“So I was thinking, like, why am I holding myself to this standard and making less money and my family’s struggling? Just all kinds of excuses,” he said. “Any kind of excuse to rationalize why it was okay to cheat against a cheater like Palhares. And I had no idea what I was doing. It was pure comedy, me trying to use this sh-t.
“I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even grapple that entire training camp because I was so sore from the injections, because I was doing something wrong. I’m not even sure what I was doing wrong. But yeah, that was probably the stupidest thing and the best thing that ever happened to me.”
As for Zahabi, Fitch also issued a response.
“I don’t care,” he said. “I don’t live my life caring what other people say or think. If you’re going to go through your life worrying about other people and what they think, you’re going to be a loser. You’re not going to get far. So I don’t care. People can think whatever they want to think, I live my life for me and my family.
“I don’t know, maybe he’s scared,” Fitch added. “He’s already creating an excuse for his fighter losing. I don’t know, I don’t really care.”
Fitch will be facing Firas’ current star fighter Rory MacDonald at the first round of the Bellator welterweight Grand Prix at Bellator 220 this Saturday, April 27th, in San Jose, California.