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It wasn't too long ago that Jon Fitch had rolled to 13 victories in 14 UFC fights. While his style -- which, at best, could be labeled as methodical -- never endeared him to fans, that streak is still a remarkable accomplishment, especially in retrospect.
For his consistent, almost unheard of level of success, Fitch earned himself exactly one shot at the belt. That's it. And when his loss to Georges St-Pierre turned into one of most lopsided decisions in UFC title history, and public sentiment appeared to swell from simple dislike into genuine apathy, it was clear Fitch would need another incredible streak to work his way back into the fray.
Of course, that didn't quite happen. A draw to B.J. Penn and a stunning 12-second loss to Johny Hendricks hurled Fitch miles away from championship contention. And now that he's back on the outside looking in, Fitch isn't happy with the way he was continually passed over.
"It's impossible to tell [when a title shot is coming]," Fitch explained in an interview with FC Fighter. "There's no system for picking number one contenders. There's no order, there's no lineup, there's no point system. It's just whoever they feel they're going to make the most money off of. That's who gets the title shot. It kind of sucks, because in other sports there's kind of a clear path; you do this, this and this, and you get this. That's just not the way combat sports work I guess. It doesn't work that way with boxing or the UFC.
"It comes down to showmanship," he continued. "I have to be a better showman to get a title shot. I don't have to be a better fighter. I just have to be a better showman."
This isn't the first time Fitch has bristled at this topic, though it's certainly one of the blunter ways we've heard from him. And ultimately he's right, but that's really just the nature of the beast in the fight world, where everyone is an independent contractor and everything boils down to the question, ‘will people pay to see this man fight?' Unfortunately for Fitch, his answer to that question was just never the right one.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Fitch talks showmanship. Speaking with FC Fighter, welterweight veteran Jon Fitch criticized the UFC's system for picking number one contenders, saying there was no pecking order and the organization hands title shots to "whoever they feel they're going to make the most money off of."
Henderson-Machida targeted. According to UFC President Dana White, a match-up between Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida is in the works for the near future. Henderson said he expects to be ready to fight in December after injuring his knee last month.
Killing the king. Jack Slack examines the holes in UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' striking game and potential ways to exploit them in this mammoth stylistic breakdown.
TUF debut recap. 16 fighters earned wins in TUF 16's preliminary round to secure their spot in the season's house.
Fertitta sees India as a challenge. Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta described TUF: India, the latest international TUF season, as the beginning of a massive ‘opportunity and challenge' into an untapped market.
White blames bad luck, reignites on Jones and Jackson. UFC President Dana White re-sparked his feud Jon Jones and his trainer Greg Jackson, embarking on an expletive filled rant about the cancellation of UFC 151 and Jones' recent comments in the media. White also discussed the UFC's injury plagued 2012, which he attributed to incredibly horrible luck.
In these dark times, you may have found yourself pining for the days of Fred Ettish, freakish behemoths battling self-styled ninjas, and random guys squaring off in glorified barfights. Well ladies and gentlemen, through the magic of YouTube, I present to you the complete event of UFC 2: No Way Out.
The second edition of The MMA Beat sees our own Ariel Helwani and Mike Chappetta be joined by Sherdog's Jack Encarnacao and Tapout Radio's Mike Straka to discuss everything from the UFC injury epidemic to motorcycle stipulations in fighter contracts.
When Dana White tweeted this clip out, it was unlisted and had under 100 views. Now, either Mr. White is on the cutting edge of YouTube releases, or this "fan-made" promo was totally created by a UFC employee. Either way, it's still solid entertainment.
So this clip is Bob Sapp vs. some guy in Serbia. I could go on and on with a description, but I think you know exactly what you're about to see.
Dana White on criticisms of UFC fighter pay: "If Georges St. Pierre was sitting in this chair, or Anderson Silva, and they wanted to tell you what their last pay day was, they absolutely, positively have the right to do that. There's no gag order on them or anything. They don't want you to know." (For more from this interview, click here.)
CHAMP IS READY
WELL HE SEEMS HAPPY
What!!! I'm only a 13 to 1 underdog vs Anderson? I must be better than I thought— Stephan Bonnar (@StephanBonnar) September 14, 2012
I wanted to fight someone w more twitter followers than me...but 50 times the followers i have?? Haha..talk about getting what u wish for— Stephan Bonnar (@StephanBonnar) September 14, 2012
@arielhelwaniAre you accepting questions to ask Jon at the press conference and post fight interviews?— chael sonnen (@sonnench) September 14, 2012
@arielhelwani: i propose a Fighters Summit. Company Champion vs People's Champion. More to come....— chael sonnen (@sonnench) September 14, 2012
ANSWERS FROM THE BOSS
@nisar23 he doesn't have to say anything bad! He already said the dumbest shit in MMA history. Chael would be the biggest mistake in career— Dana White (@danawhite) September 15, 2012
@ivan_spivan he turned down the fight twice. He's not being punished, he is just going to have to wait now— Dana White (@danawhite) September 14, 2012
Announced over the weekend (Friday, September 14, 2012 - Sunday, September 16, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is story from L.P.Byrne that may make you a little jealous: Writing out of Curitiba, Brazil: First BJJ class at Chute Boxe
'Why am I doing this?' I think to myself.
'Vamos' he says. 'Let's go'.
It's my second day at Chute Boxe in Curitiba, Brazil, and my first Jiu Jitsu class for quite some time. Years in fact. I try to stall and get some air into my wheezy lungs by pointing to my water. He's having none of it.
'Vamos'. He repeats.
The day before I tried the Muay Thai class. The instructor was very good. Scary good. But even so I was a little less concerned about that class. I managed to absorb a bit of Muay Thai when I lived in Thailand, along with a great many kicks. So even though now my head kicks could only be truly called such if I were throwing them at someone much shorter than me, I still felt a little more comfortable there.
But this is Brazil, this is where they invented this Jits, where all the other members of the class seem to have a great deal more weight and general solidness about them than me. Testament to this is the instructor's nickname, 'Batata' or 'Potato'. The 200lb brown belt currently telling me to 'vamos' and roll with him. Now I don't feel quite as smug as I did the day before.
The class up unitl this point has been fantastic. It started late, a small example of the infamous 'Brazilian time' that I'm not quite accustomed to yet. Mercifully, no obstacle was made of my babyish Portuguese language skills, my status of 'gringo' having earlier been somewhat amusingly - for the Brazilians at least - revealed during a round of sit ups in which everyone had to count to twenty.
We communicate in broken English and Portuguese, even though they are all arraigned in gis of various colours, I'm informed that my tired looking t-shirt and shorts are 'no problem'. All in all I feel quickly welcomed and am even invited to the later class, all before this one has properly commenced.
We began with a light warm up that anyone familiar with a Jits class will recognize, Jiu Jitsu rolls, hip escapes and some pair work on flexibility (something that I'm in dire need of). Then the class moved onto drills seemingly focused on usefulness and ease of implementation. Nothing fancy: armbar escapes, guard sweeps that seem easy to work into sparring.
Prior to my arrival at the class I was quite concerned that keeping up with the instruction in Portuguese would be difficult, Jiu Jitsu is after all quite a subtle and technical business. However by paying attention and watching the demonstrations carefully I was able to get a reasonable idea of what was required.
We spent a fair amount of time running through the drills, each practising a few times then changing partner. Batata moved around the class pointing out the little bits of technique that his brown belt status allows him to pick up on. Then he gave what I assumed must be the introduction to start sparring.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.
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