Jon Fitch’s Bellator debut against Paul Daley ended as many expected, with Fitch controlling Daley for most of the bout. Yet despite getting the win, Fitch was fairly critical of Daley’s performance in the fight.
Bellator 199 saw a plethora of finishes, but one fight, as expected, went the distance. Saying prior to the bout that he intended to drag Paul Daley into deep waters, Jon Fitch did just that. Yet if anything surprised Fitch, it was how Daley acted on the ground. Or, to put it bluntly, the lack of fight Daley seemed to have once he was on his back. It’s a theme Fitch would touch on several times following the bout, where Cageside Press and others took part in the post-fight presser.
“He was trying to talk the ref into standing up the fight, wanted somebody to help him out I guess. Couldn’t do it himself,” Fitch observed when asked about what Fitch was saying while on the ground during the scrap.
Towards the end of the first round, Daley seemed to have Fitch hurt, the one bright spot in the Brit’s performance at Bellator 199. Yet Fitch downplayed the close call. “I was moving, I was rolling with everything. He only caught me with one semi-clean punch,” Fitch said. “Nothing really landed very well. I have a little bit of swelling here, but nothing else really hit me. I was able to keep moving, and my corner yelled at me in between rounds to make sure I was moving forward and not let him initiate any exchanges.”
Talk then went back to Daley’s ground game, or lack there of. And the reaction of the crowd in San Jose, where Fitch is a local. “To me, they’re booing him,” Fitch said.
“I’m slugging away, I’m trying to do work, and this guy’s holding onto my wrists, asking the ref to stand him up,” he continued. “That’s not fighting. Do something. Sweep me, stand up, throw a punch, throw an elbow, do something. Don’t scream to the referee to stand you up so you can stand up. Do it yourself. It’s a fight.”
Even earlier in the bout, with Daley staying on the outside, Fitch was surprised. “Come at me, I thought you were Paul Daley,” he recalled thinking. “Where’s the flying knee, where’s the spinning s***? I guess he was trying to lure me into something, I don’t know what. I dunno, fight.”
As for what’s next, Fitch told Cageside Press that “I’m not getting any younger, so I’d rather fight for a title sooner than later.” When it comes to champ Rory MacDonald, however, surprisingly, Fitch hasn’t seen much of him. “I know Rory’s really tough, but I have to be honest, I’ve never watched him fight. I don’t watch fights anymore, I’m just in them.”
Check out the full post-fight presser with Jon Fitch above!