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White: Fitch paid price for laying on people

ESPN staff
February 22, 2013

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UFC president Dana White stands firmly by his decision to cut welterweight Jon Fitch from the promotion earlier this week and suggested more cuts are to come.

Speaking to media members on Thursday, White said there were several reasons behind the move - namely, Fitch's recent performances.

Support for Fitch (24-5-1) flooded Twitter following the announcement of his release. He has been one of the most successful 170-pounders in the world during the past decade but holds a 1-2-1 record in his past four fights. Despite the skid, he recently debuted in the inaugural UFC rankings as its No. 9 welterweight.

"This is a sport, just like the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA or any other sport," White said. "A million guys are getting cut, traded and everything else.

"This isn't a case where Jon was ranked No. 9, No. 7, No. 6, No. 2 and we cut him. He was ranked No. 1, fought for the title, then ranked No. 2, 3, 6, 7 and now he's 9. That's called the downside of your career. He's on the downside."

White is referring to an eight-fight win streak by Fitch from 2005 to 2008 that earned him a title shot against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87. Fitch lost that fight by unanimous decision, then won his next five bouts before hitting his recent skid.

In addition to being on the "downside" of his career, White said Fitch's pay scale and fighting style came into play.

A former collegiate wrestler, Fitch has received criticism by some for his perceived lack of aggression. His past eight wins have come via decision.

"People want to see you when you're exciting," White said. "It would be nice if you could just go lay on a guy for three rounds and people want to buy your pay-per-views. Welcome to the real world, guys. That's not how it works."

White said the promotion currently has approximately 100 fighters too many under contract. More cuts are apparently coming; as White stated, "the blood has not all been spilled yet."

He downplayed any suggestion the decision to cut Fitch was personal. Fitch was one of 16 total fighters who were let go on Tuesday.

"This whole Jon Fitch-Dana battle is so overrated," White said. "I don't have one ounce of hate for Jon Fitch. I don't hate the guy at all. I don't even dislike him."

Athletes who have been cut by the UFC occasionally find their way back to the Octagon. White said he expects another organisation to sign Fitch, mentioning Bellator Fighting Championships specifically.

"Jon Fitch will end up with Bellator or one of these other organisations," White said. "He will win a world title. He will smash every guy over there."

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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