Exclusive: Jon Fitch Says PED Issues ‘Seem Like a Million Years Ago’

Dave Mandel for USA TODAY Sports
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Jon Fitch will challenge Rory MacDonald for the welterweight title in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., April 27, 2019) Bellator 220.

The first round of Bellator’s Welterweight Grand Prix will culminate when MacDonald and Fitch meet inside the SAP Center in San Jose, California. While it is no doubt a big fight, Fitch shared the Octagon with Georges St. Pierre during “GSP’s” prime. He has fought at the top level of MMA for quite some time.

That being said, this is a big fight for the former UFC title challenger. But as Fitch recently told LowkickMMA, every fight is big.

“They’re all big honestly”, Fitch said. “I guess in terms of size and scope and people seeing it, it [the GSP fight] was probably the biggest. But this is a very big fight also. It’s different, but it’s big also. I’m just happy to be in this position and I’m excited to fight for another title.”

Fitch will make just his second appearance inside the Bellator cage this weekend, yet he will be fighting for the title. That’s partly because of the Grand Prix format and partly because Fitch’s resume speaks for itself. Either way, Fitch is grateful to be fighting in a promotion he respects. He thinks the Grand Prix has been impressive so far as well.

“The fights have been good,” Fitch said of the Welterweight Grand Prix. “Fans have been acting really well to it. I like the meritocracy of it. I like 50 Cent getting involved and throwing money out for it, I like the title being up for grabs. It’s just a good event.”

Indeed, Bellator 220 is a solid offering on paper. However, there is always that extra bit of fight build-up that seems to accompany any big fight night card, both in Bellator and the UFC. So when MacDonald’s longtime coach Firas Zhabi took a shot at Fitch’s past PED use on social media last week, some people viewed it as hype, and others as bad taste.

For his part, Fitch is rather indifferent.

“It just seems weird to bring up now, that was 2014. A lot has changed, I’ve gone through a lot. And I’ve been pretty open on my shake breaks on my live streams with things. So for me, I kind of vented through and explained a lot of things to a lot of people and answered a lot of questions over the year, year-and-a-half I’ve been doing that.”

“It feels like old news to me it was so long ago. I’ve cleaned up so much outside of fighting, I’ve had so much stuff go on personally that it seems like a million years ago.”

One thing that has stayed the same through Fitch’s entire MMA career has been his grappling-centric style of fighting. Fans got to see Fitch’s ground and pound style on full display during his beatdown of Paul Daley during his Bellator debut.

Still, he knows how good MacDonald is, but more importantly, Fitch knows he can only worry about himself.

“I always focus on me,” Fitch explained. “I know he is tough, he’s got good stand up, decent wrestling, decent ground. But I don’t sit around and wait and think about all the things my opponent is going to be doing or trying to be doing. Im more concerned about getting my game plan initiated and forcing my will upon him.”

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