After teasing the possibility for weeks, top welterweight and former WSOF champion Jon Fitch has signed with Bellator MMA.
It should come as no surprise that longtime welterweight veteran and perennial contender Jon Fitch found a new home with ease. After first teasing the possibility a few weeks ago, news broke Thursday that Fitch had signed on with Bellator MMA. Fitch spoke to Cageside Press’ Mike Straus recently, saying that he was hoping the stars would align for him to sign on with the world’s second largest MMA promotion. MMA Fighting subsequently broke the news that the stars have, in fact, aligned.
Fitch (30–7–1 (1)), who once challenged Georges St. Pierre for the UFC’s welterweight title, was one of the more controversial releases from that promotion. After going 1-2-1 against top names in the final four fights of his UFC career, Fitch was cut from the promotion under the guise of being on the “downside” of his career. Most, however, saw the cut for what it was: a fighter with an unpopular style and relatively high salary being shown the door. Fitch quickly signed on with the World Series of Fighting, which recently became the Professional Fighter’s League. There, he went 6-2 (including his final fight under the PFL banner), winning the WSOF title in April 2016 and later defending it against Jake Shields. Fitch also picked up a win over Yushin Okami while with the organization.
In Bellator, Fitch will find some familiar names from the UFC, as Rory MacDonald and Lorenz Larkin jumped ship in recent years. Paul Daley and Douglas Lima round out what can now be seen as Bellator’s top five at 170, though former champion Andre Koreshkov will continue to pose a threat.
Fitch has been a vocal proponent for the Ali Act, and is also involved in an ongoing class action lawsuit against the UFC, alleging anti-competitive practices and that the promotion was illegally maintaining a monopoly during the class period.
An official announcement regarding the Fitch signing could come as soon as Bellator 195 this weekend.