Is sport giving way to spectacle? Jon Fitch told the guys over at Heavy.com that the best fighters should get the best opportunities. He doesn’t begrudge Dan Hardy’s title shot against Georges St. Pierre but does say he “can’t fully agree” with it. A short extract from the in-depth interview is below, hit Heavy.com for the full version.
Heavy.com: Josh Koscheck has been very vocal about his feelings that Dan Hardy does not deserve a title shot at this point in his career. Do you share the same feeling?
Jon Fitch: Well, it's not Dan Hardy's fault that he's getting a title shot. He's a fighter, and if the opportunity to fight for a title comes along, you're going to take it. Any fighter would do the same thing, so you can't blame Dan Hardy one bit for that.
But the decision to give him a title shot? I can't fully agree with that. I feel like there are other guys in the division who have put in more time and more work and deserve a title shot before he gets one. He's a great fighter and a good guy. But at the same time, there are a lot of fighters who have been putting in years and years of work. They've fought a lot of top guys, and they aren't getting that opportunity.
I'd just like to see the sport be treated like a sport, and not treated as entertainment. Because when we go down that road, we're going to end up turning into pro wrestling. You don't see the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl just because it might sell more tickets than the Colts vs. Patriots would. You know what I mean?
Jon Fitch: In a legitimate sport, you're always seeing the best people and the best teams play against each other. I think we need that in MMA to fully be a legitimate sport.
Heavy.com: Do you think that The Ultimate Fighter, as a television series, has had something to do with that mentality?
Jon Fitch: I mean, I don't have a problem with The Ultimate Fighter. Especially right now. People are becoming more and more educated, so they can tell the difference between a good fighter and a bad fighter. And there are so many good fighters in the UFC as it is, if you put somebody from The Ultimate Fighter out there who isn't qualified to be in the UFC? They're going to get beat and they're going to look bad. Name recognition only gets you so far.
At the end of the day, we're fighting. This is real. If you're not legitimate, it's going to be exposed very quickly, and that could be embarrassing if you're not ready.
Hit Heavy.com for the full version