Jonathan Parker Fitch
born February 24, 1978 is an American mixed martial artist, competing in the welterweight division of the Professional Fighters League. Fitch is a three time WSOF welterweight champion and formerly competed for the Ultimate Fighting Championship where he compiled a legendary record of 14–3–1. As one of the more notable names in combat sports J.P.F is certainly in the discussion to be a hall of fame candidate.
While his 31-7-1 record is impressive it’s the journey along the way that will forever stand out among his peers. Over the years he fought the murderer’s row of opponents in his weight classes. GSP, Shields, Penn, Sanchez and Okami are just a few of the iconic names on his stacked resume. Fitch went on a 16 fight win streak from 2003 to 2008 and is now currently coming off a 4 fight stretch of victories. Luckily for us “The Champ” took the time out of his busy schedule to discuss his career, life and causes he believes in.
Origins of a champion
“I began wrestling in the 4th grade. I didn’t get into mma until i started wrestling at Purdue. My assistant coach was Tom Erikson, a former Pride fighter.”
After graduating from Carroll High School Fitch enrolled at Purdue University in 1997 and graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s in physical education and a minor in history. As a walk-on to the Purdue wrestling team, Fitch a four-year letterman wrestled under the tutelage of Tom Erikson and eventually became the team captain of his wrestling squad. Tom a former PRIDE fighter exposed Fitch to mixed martial arts. Fast forward to present day and J.P.F has had an illustrious career spanning 15 years over multiple organizations culminating in being a world champion. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of his career.
MDW: You have had a hall of fame MMA career spanning over 15 years and competed in many organizations. Was winning the WSOF (PFL) welterweight title one of your proudest achievements?
JPF: Becoming a world champion was a goal I set for myself at the very beginning. Anything i put myself into i want to be the best at. I have sacrificed a great deal in order to be great in the sport of mma and the world title gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
MDW: Your fight record is very impressive. How the hell did you rack up 16 straight wins from 2003 to 2008?
JPF: Hard work. I’ve never been a super gifted athlete. I am fairly average in my athletic abilities. I’m not very fast, not that strong or explosive. I achieved what i did because of hard work, technique and strategy.
MDW: Like a true champion you have never ducked anyone. Your fight resume is the “murderers row” of the weight classes you have competed in. Bj Penn, Jake Shields, GSP, Yushin Okami to name a few. Who was your toughest fight?
JPF: GSP was obviously the toughest fight. I was not on his level yet when we fought. I believe a second fight would have went much differently. Maybe someday I’ll get another chance.
MDW: Intelligence can play a major role in fighting. Do you think your bachelors degree from Purdue helped you as a martial artist in anyway?
JPF: I believe my education definitely plays a role in my ability to break things down and understand them. To come up with techniques to solve problems. Some of it is natural too. My father was a civil engineer and i think I approach fighting with an engineers mindset.
MDW: Which win was your most memorable?
JPF: Eric Silva
MDW: As I research your biography I do not see much written about your early life. When did you start martial arts? Or was wrestling in college your first exposure to a combat sport?
JPF: I began wrestling in the 4th grade. I didn’t get into mma until i started wrestling at Purdue. My assistant coach was Tom Erikson, a former Pride fighter.
MDW: What is your favorite way to win a fight?
MDW: As one of the first fighters to understand the value of your name and likeness. You refused to sign a one sided “lifetime” deal with the UFC video game until it better met your expectations. Why did you feel the need to speak out despite the majority of athletes signing the deal?
JPF: It was a bad deal and a bad contract. I still don’t understand why so many fighters agreed to such robbery. Coercive contracts like that one will not be legal under the Ali Act.
Fitch video game highlights
MDW: In 2014 you were named as one of the fighters suing the UFC in a class action lawsuit. How did this come about? Who are the other fighters?
JPF: I was approached by the anti trust lawyers after i was released from the ufc. After they explained what the ufc was doing was illegal i quickly decided to join the lawsuit. We have several named plaintiffs in the case but we are representing all ufc fighters from 2010 to now in the suit.
JPF: The Ali Act will prevent promoters from monopolizing the sport. It will end coercive contracts. Create sanctioning bodies to control the titles and rank will be handled by 3rd parties instead of the promoters. It will also guarantee that the champion will fight the #1 contender once every 12 months. They can help by contacting their congressmen and asking them to support HR 44.
MDW: Not many fighters have a black belt in gorilla Jiu Jitsu. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
JPF: GJJ is Dave Camarillo’s style of BJJ. It is an aggressive dominating style of bjj that focuses on finishing instead of scoring.
MDW: We noticed you were featured on myth-busters. Please tell us is it really possible to punch your way out of a coffin?
JPF: Yes, it is actually possible.
MDW: When can we expect you to step in the ring for your third title defense?
JPF: Well, because of the fact that we don’t have sanctioning bodies in mma i was stripped of my title when the WSOF got new investors and changed their name. Another reason for the implementation of the Ali Act.
MDW: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans? Or projects you would like to promote?
JPF: Check out my Instagram @Fitch_SMASH you can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel OfficialJonFitch. Buy my shirt/gear at my spread-shirt store FitchSMASH. Don’t forget to check out my services available at my FitchSMASH Facebook account.
(Jon Fitch Smash Shirt)