As quickly as the outrage over Jon Fitch being cut by the UFC spread across the Internet and social media last week, so too did calls for the former welterweight title contender to join Bellator or the World Series of Fighting
Even Dana White, the president of the UFC and the guy who cut Fitch, said as much.
"I'm glad that so many people are behind him," White said in the media scrum after the UFC 157 pre-fight news conference."That's not a bad thing. Good for him. But I can tell you this, Jon Fitch isn't cheap, so good. Viacom MMA has some money. He can go out there right now on the free market and find out exactly what he's worth."
Fitch to Bellator makes sense for Fitch. There's far better exposure now that it moved from MTV 2 to Spike at the start of 2013. Fitch to the WSOF makes sense as well as he'd be the biggest attraction for the upstart promotion.
But is it a good move for Bellator? Yes and no, maybe. (Not enough of a sample size to compare WSOF.)
Fitch (27-5-1) would be the prohibitive favorite to win the next welterweight tournament in Bellator and give champion Ben Askren his toughest test. But as we've seen in past Bellator tournaments, the bigger veteran names from UFC and Strikeforce doesn't always pan out the way you expect they would. A few had some success, and a few didn't. Have a look below.
King Mo Lawal: The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion signed a deal that allowed him to compete in both Bellator MMA and Impact, a pro wrestling organization (formerly TNA Impact) that also airs on Spike. He just got knocked out last week in the tournament semifinals by a blindly thrown spinning back fist from a guy named Emanuel newton.
Renato "Babalu" Sobral: a veteran of 47 fights and nearly as many fight promotions, he lost a UFC itle fight against Chuck Liddell and a Strikeforce title fight against Gegard Mousasi. Sobral joined Bellator for this season's light heavyweight tournament and lost by first-round TKO to Mikhail Zayats.
Paul Daley: Cut from the UFC on 2010 after punching Josh Koscheck after the fight ended, Daley bounced around between BAMMA and Strikeforce, among others. He fought once in Bellator in 2012, and now is dealing with both visa issues in England and contract issues with Bellator.
Jay Hieron: The veteran UFC, Strikeforce, IFL and Affliction fighter won the Season 4 welterweight tournament but ended up losing a close decision to champion Askren.
Ben Saunders: A veteran of seven UFC fights, Saunders reached the final of the Season 5 welterweight tournament but lost to Douglas Lima. He lost in the semifinals in Season 6 and is now a finalist to win the Season 8 tournament.
Roger Huerta: The former UFC lightweight and Sports Illustrated cover boy fought three times in Bellator, going 1-2 with his last fight being a loss to Eddie Alvarez in a non-title bout.