Bjorn Rebney says he will not sign Jon Fitch to Bellator

When UFC Welterweight contender Jon Fitch was surprisingly cut from the UFC this week, many thought he would head for the Bellator FC cage. That was just the next logical step to take, as it would have gained the most exposure and money for the outcast grinder Fitch. 

Howver, news comes today that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is not willing to take that course of action, and spoke up to The MMA Report on the subject:

“I have a lot of respect for Jon [Fitch] and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has to courage to do what these guys do and the athletic ability to do what they do but we are not going to be signing Jon Fitch,” Rebney said prior to Bellator 90.
Fitch is considered one of the top welterweight fighters in the world and had a UFC record of 14-3-1. However, he has gone 1-2-1 in his last four fights which led to the UFC deciding to part ways with him.
Bellator’s welterweight division is one of the deepest divisions currently in Bellator and Rebney wants to continue the development of the fighters that are currently under contract with his organization.
“We have a stacked welterweight division right now. We have a lot of guys that we are developing that we anticipate are going to be world class fighters and break the top ten. We want to keep guys busy. We want to keep guys inside the cage and we have a plan in terms of the next year and who is going to be apart of the tournaments and it’s just not the time.”

“I have a lot of respect for Jon [Fitch] and I have a lot of respect for anyone who has to courage to do what these guys do and the athletic ability to do what they do but we are not going to be signing Jon Fitch.” 

“We have a stacked welterweight division right now. We have a lot of guys that we are developing that we anticipate are going to be world class fighters and break the top ten. We want to keep guys busy.”

“We want to keep guys inside the cage and we have a plan in terms of the next year and who is going to be apart of the tournaments and it’s just not the time.”

The fact that Bellator is not willing to sign the well-known Fitch is a testament to the true entertainment aspect of MMA. Fitch is regarded as one of the most boring fighters (depending on your point of view), and while he enjoyed a wildly successful run at 170, he just has not been getting the job done enough to stay afloat in the UFC

Bellator 90 featured a myriad of brutal knockouts last night, including an upset of King Mo by an Emanuel Newton spinning backfist. It is clear their shows are starting to become quite entertaining. Apparently, Bellator is also unwilling to pay Fitch’s high price tag. Is this the right decision? And where will Jon Fitch end up?


32 Comments

  1. Avatar of PukeVomit

    PukeVomit

    February 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

    poor jonny boy ;,-(

  2. Avatar of falcon4917

    falcon4917

    February 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Wow, this is bad news for Fitch. I sincerely did not think that would be the response from Bellator. Fitch would probably be champ in no time.

  3. Avatar of rabble

    rabble

    February 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Well, we've all seen what Jon can do against weak competition (Erick Silva). I'm definitely going to watch any fights he'll be in against lower-tier fighters.

    Also, whichever organizition picks up Fitch is definitely going to attract some attention, so we better watch out for that.

  4. Avatar of azzkika

    azzkika

    February 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    WTF!@?*$ Fitch spends the best part of 15 minutes with Maia wrapped around him and he gets dropped? the same Fitch who was clear #2 WW for over 2 years in the division?

    UFC is no longer about talent and the best fighters(if it ever was) despite having some of the best fighters. It is about entertainment now. Steroid cheats and drug abusers are fine but bring a style that WWE fans dislike and you're fucked basically is the moral of this story.

    They go from Aldo Edgar to this. UFC really is marmite to all men.

  5. Avatar of Boner89

    Boner89

    February 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Damn was looking forward to seeing Fitch vs Askren. Belator knows Fitch would smash many of their young guns and make them look bad and make the UFC look tougher. Its def a strategical move.

  6. Avatar of KeithFarrell

    KeithFarrell

    February 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Bjorn trying to act like Bellator is too good to pick up ex-UFC fighters is just his pride getting in the way of good business.

    They sign Mo and Babalu who are recent Zuffa fighters and theyboth turn out to be less than what they think, especially with King Mo getting KO'd last night…. but they don't sign Fitch who is easily still a top 10 fighters who is the only guy who could give their champ Askren a hard fight.

    Maybe that's why they never signed him, scared an ex-UFC fighter would beat their champ.

    • Avatar of Evan Holober

      Evan Holober

      February 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      I don't think its pride, I think it's more perception. Fitch was just beat by Maia, and released by the UFC. Babalu and Mo were both SF fighters (same thing to us, but not exactly the same to casual fans).

      I think his quote about up and comers is telling also (at leas IMO), in that I don't think he wants Fitch coming in to beat on his prospects the way he did Erick Silva.

      You might be right about the last part too in his mind.

    • Avatar of pound4pound

      pound4pound

      February 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      Or they are lowering Fitch's price, if they act like they do not want him in the first place and that they are actually doing him a favor his price will dramatically drop. That is business 101, also maybe they don't really want him, I mean how many guys are going to watch Bellator just because Fitch is there, maybe you are right and

  7. Avatar of matt1926

    matt1926

    February 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Keith I agree with you. Bjorn is always saying how his fighters are top ten in the world and he has stacked divisions. While he may have stacked divisions and some quality fighters, there are only a few Bellator fighters that would be able to compete in the UFC. The UFC is simply better and Jon Fitch would be champ there in no time.

  8. Avatar of griffin

    griffin

    February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    hes not signing fitch because he will go in their destroy everyone including their golden boy ben askren, become champ and get resigned by the UFC. then bellator is left looking like they are nowhere near UFCs level and the aura of ben askren is gone. Bellator will screw itself if they sign fitch

  9. Avatar of highkick12

    highkick12

    February 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Sounds like bellator doesnt want mma's most boring fighter. What a shocker

    • Avatar of InfiniteEnigma

      InfiniteEnigma

      February 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      I can honestly say, I do not want to see Askren vs Fitch. True, entertainment is a large part of this sport, and it is not entertaining when a fighter does not finish, or at least work diligently to finish. Lay and pray is defined by fighters who just neutralize their opponent and maintain control , but never put the opponent in any danger, or attempt to finish them. I do not want to see that. Sorry for Fitch, but he had his chance to take his wrestling as a base, and improve, but he never really did.

  10. Avatar of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    February 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I gave this some thought the other day and was wondering how this would work out, given that Bellator is a tournament style promotion and they must be planning in advance, "..it’s just not the time" if a understandably statement. With that said, I still thought they'd work something out. Fitch has marketable value.

    However, on another level and as much as anything, this makes two points:

    First, it's a slap in the face to The UFC, that Bellator doesn't need or want all of your cast offs, top-ten-or-otherwise and that Bellator is not a guaranteed landing zone, should a fighter be cut by The UFC. That alone is probably going to send shock waves through The UFC fighter ranks. There goes the…."if I get cut from here, I'll just go over there" mentality and hence, garners Bellator more credibility and respect.

    Secondly, it's a slap in the face to The UFC's talent pool. At least @ 170. If Bellator can turn down a guy like John Fitch, what they're saying is we have some of the best fighters in the world and some of those fighters, our tourney winners for example, might be better than some of the guys in your top three or five and maybe our guy or guys might beat some of them, all of them or even your Champ. Division by Division.

    I'd also add that The UFC cutting fighters and Bellator not taking them on, is evidence that The UFC has grown its business model too fast or has bitten off more than it can chew, at least as currently organized (breaking it up into regional franchises might be an idea) and that Bellator has a nice, steady growth model and they're not over reaching.

    No matter which way you look at it, Bellator keeps raking up win-after-win in the MMA wars. It's so bad these days, that even turning down John Fitch is a win. And if you caught the card last night on SPIKE and particularly the King Mo KO, then you know….Bellator has arrived. Because that was a great card last night. As good and as exciting as The UFC and on a dollar cost average, which is Free, Bellator is a great product for MMA starved fans.

    And as someone noted on this website – has LowKIck become a UFC exclusive website? Because I'm shocked at the complete lack of coverage of Bellator's fights or the lead up to the Thursday shows and in particular, that there is no coverage of last nights card, which, if you caught it, was awesome!

    • Avatar of pound4pound

      pound4pound

      February 23, 2013 at 12:47 am

      I actually was asking yesterday if lowkick has become an exclusive UFC site. I am missing the old myvideofight days.

      • Avatar of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        February 23, 2013 at 10:18 am

        @ P4P

        Perhaps it was you. The other candidates are Entity, Enjoy and Evan, who might have posted it. Then again, it might have been posted by more than one of you, which could well be the case.

        I've wondered it for sometime and since Bellator has hit SPIKE, I've really started wondering it. Where's The Bellator coverage? Maybe we've all pondered the same question.

        At any rate, I'd really like to see this site start covering the actual events, rather than just posting the occasional bit of Bellator news. To be honest I'm shocked it's not covered.

        If you've been watching since it started and particularly caught that card on Thursday, you'd know it's great stuff.

        The UFC is no longer the only (seriously) good promotion out there, any more. Bellator is already far better, more competitive and with a significantly larger media foot print and stable of fighters, than StrikeForce ever was or had. That's a reality, now and has been for sometime.

        Bellator has arrived. It should be covered.

    • Avatar of InfiniteEnigma

      InfiniteEnigma

      February 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Point or 20 made, Yea, Bellator is becoming a serious alternative, or competition to the UFC, who which many see as the entire entity of MMA, especially yesterday. All Bellator fights ended spectacularly, especially the KTFO of King wannabeMO. Was so glad to see that over-confident whack job get dropped,and by a move that normally is not a finishing quality power strike, but a set up / stun strike. I do not remember last time I saw someone fully KO'd with a SBF…at any rate, all fights were entertaining yesterday on Bellator, but if Fitch was in the mix, they would be 1 less I suggest. I would not want to see any of the Bellator welterweights, be them of lesser calibre or not, succumb to John's Fitch n Bitch style.

      Valid point you have, questioning the exclusitivity of this site, biased on UFC, as I remember the days of other promotions on the headline page, just as often as they had an event worthy, yet no hint of the Bellator results from this week. Wierd. Take note editors…if you are an MMA site, then lets get some grit on all aspects, save John Fitch and any other boring grind style lay n pray artists. At least GSP can jab and has the BMI of a mannequin, keep him around in your headlines so that we may patiently await the day someone dis-respects his safe stance and walks through him doing serious damage. ( Hint hint Hendricks ). Seriously, Bellator is fast becoming a great alternative for MMA action , especially when it is free on spike and there is nothing else fight wise on that day. It entertains, and that is all that matters, so cover it , and King Mo's ascent to fake wrestling fame and glory, since he is already irrelevant in this seasons tournament. It may be interesting to hear the lines he comes up with in WWE compared to Lesnar's. Hell, He talks enough dumb shit in the real combat sport, what could he possibly say that is less intelligible than my random babble shat here ?

      • Avatar of Brian Cox

        Brian Cox

        February 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

        @ Infinite

        We seem to agree, at least for the most part. I'm still prepared to give Fitch the benefit of the doubt, though, in terms of his relevance and value.

        However, if we protect more exciting fighters or styles, simply to have exciting fights, then can we really say it's all about whose the best? As boring as you or even I might find Fitch, if he can beat the most exciting guy, is he or would he not be the best guy?

        I completely understand what you're saying about excitement, but it can't be at all costs or the sole expense of less exciting style or fighters, who may beat those more exciting fighters. If this is the supposed to be the case, then why was MMA invented? Why not just stick to K-1 Kick-Boxing?

        As I thought about this further and as I was watching The Score Fighting Series, which were also exciting fights, I realized that maybe the real winner in all of this is promotions like Score. If Bellator is turning down guys like Fitch and I assume every other fighter The UFC cut, again, because of the schedule and (tournament) style of the promotion, then the real winners are going to be promotions like Score. To be honest, it would be exciting to see guys like Fitch and Che Mills fighting in smaller promotions, if, indeed, that's what happens.

        There is just simply too much talent, potential and effort put in, to simply wash the careers of guys like Fitch and Mills, down the drain. it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

        And yes, that King Mo KO was a beautiful thing. :-) As soon as they touched gloves, I called it. I sat there and said to myself, MOs' going to lose. He's acting just like Overeem did against Bigfoot. Over-confident, didn't think the kid was a threat, thought he had the fight in the bag…yada, yada, yada. I sat there commenting to the TV that King Mo should take him down, because this guy is going to knock you out. He was really throwing some nasty lumber and he wasn't intimidated by Mo. He was very aggressive from the get-go. That was a good fight, man. I was very happy with the outcome and for all the reasons you stated. Good for Newton. It was a great win and a highlight reel moment, at that.

        • Avatar of Brian Cox

          Brian Cox

          February 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm

          PS – Something else that impresses me about Bellator…

          Somehow they manage to pull of their events (seemingly) without the injury problems which have plagued The UFC. Rarely do we see scratches or subs in Bellator. Certainly not at the rate we do in The UFC.

          I wonder why that is?

  11. Avatar of apocalypse123

    apocalypse123

    February 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Please let Jon end up in Japan, where he can truly be appreciated.

  12. Avatar of GoldenBibi

    GoldenBibi

    February 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Wow….. Lost For Words…..

  13. Avatar of TwA

    TwA

    February 22, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    This is for one clear reason at that is because they have been building askren for years and everyone knows that fitch would grind askren out and then bellators champ would have lost the belt to a fighter cut by the ufc. But i still think its some BULLSHIT

  14. Avatar of computerjiujitsubb

    computerjiujitsubb

    February 23, 2013 at 4:27 am

    Does anyone get that this is business. A sports business. Its cut throat. These guy that scout the talent and run the business have to decide if the juice is worth the squeeze or in laymens terms if the fighter is worth the $$ he request. Fitch is pretty much irrelevant at this point. He fought for the title years ago had an injury took at least a year off and has been loosing fights ever since. Those who question UFC or Bellators decision ask yourself if you were running a business would you be willing to pay a guy top $$ who has never been exiting and is obviously not as good as he once was??

  15. Avatar of Krogan

    Krogan

    February 23, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I have to respect Bellator for this actually, Bellator has never been interested in doing being the place fighters go when they are removed from the UFC unlike for example Strikeforce who more and more became the "ex UFC fighters league". Rather Bellator wants to grow their own brand and I totally understand that.

    The second point is that there really wasn't any good way for Bellator to sign John after Dana's very intentional "Fitch will be a champ anywhee he goes". How does Bellator sign a Fitch after that comment like that from Dana?

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