Jon Fitch wants to see action inside the cage and he believes instituting yellow and red cards would help accomplish that.
The Bellator welterweight title challenger wants to exciting fights, despite how some fans may perceive his style. To that end, Fitch told Bloody Elbow introducing yellow cards could help improve the pacing of fights.
“I think it’s a fantastic idea because a lot of times the guy on top gets blamed for slow-action. But if the guy on bottom is closed guard and holding onto his opponent and is not actively trying to get-up, sweep or submit, what’s he doing? He is the guy in boxing that’s hugging and holding the whole time. Well, in boxing that guy gets a warning. After a while he might get a point taking away. Let’s bring that back in,” he said. “They were doing it in PRIDE for a while and I thought it was quite successful. If the guy on bottom is trying to hold onto the guy in order to be stood back up, fine, but you’re getting a yellow card. You do that three times [and] you get a red card. There goes some of your purse.”
“I think we need to encourage the fight and that goes for the guy on top. If the guy on top is not throwing punches or is working too improve position,” Fitch continued. “People think that I’m not doing enough, fine, give me a yellow card. Make the referee come in and do something. But I don’t think that’s me. I’m the one throwing punches, I’m kneeing and throwing elbows. I’m trying to do work. I’m trying to put you out with damage. If you’re just trying to hold my gloves like [Paul] Daley was — booing to try and get stood up — I’m sorry, you’re the one that is stalling.”
Fitch was at the top of his game heading into his title fight with Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87 in 2009. Towards the end of his UFC run, however, he lost two of three fights and was released by the promotion. His WSOF debut saw him take an unexpected submission loss to Josh Burkman. Since then, he has won seven of eight fights and now sees himself fighting Rory MacDonald at Bellator 220.
“Fighting is so much mental and I had a lot of personal crap that was going on. It’s hard to perform at the level you need to perform at when you have other crap going on,” he said of his losing-stretch. “I’m going through a divorce. Even before the divorce there were issues that made things difficult,” he explained. “I was training for my fight in WSOF in 2016 and I was forced to take my kids to training with me… I would have to stop in the middle of training rounds to change a dirty diaper. I’m training to fight at the pinnacle of sports and I’m training dirty diapers when I should be training.”
Since then, Fitch has found his love for the sport again “I’m not outcome dependent anymore,” he explained, making sure to note he is still has a drive to win. “It’s the idea that the path is what you’re enjoying. I had that at the beginning of my career but somewhere along the line I lost it. Going through my old journals and writing my book, that had a big part in bringing me back into the fun.”
Bellator 220 airs on DAZN and takes place at the SAP Center in San Jose, California on Saturday, April 27. Keep up with Bloody Elbow for live highlights, updates, and results on all of the night’s action.
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