World Series of Fighting welterweight contender Jon Fitch was supposed to fight for the WSOF 170-pound title on July 5, but champion Rousimar Palhares withdrew from the scheduled fight to tend to his ailing mother. Now Fitch can only wish he were fighting for the belt.
“I wish it was for the title. I wish Palhares would have manned up and showed up to fight,” said Fitch during a promotional press conference for the event on Friday (see video here).
The 36-year-old Fitch believes Palhares should have taken the fight, calling Palhares withdrawal “unprofessional.”
“We all have problems. My dad’s sick too. He’s going to have a heart procedure the week of the fight,” said Fitch. “This is a big fight on NBC. He’s the titleholder. You have a responsibility as a titleholder to defend your damn title. It’s unprofessional. I hope his mom is well. I wish him the best and I’ll pray for him, but you do your job. We’re professionals. You do your job.”
The organization had a hard time maintaining an opponent for the welterweight contender after Palhares dropped out of the fight. Newly signed Jake Shields stepped in as Palhares’ replacement, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. A trilogy fight with Josh Burkman was put together, but quickly fell apart when Burkman suffered an elbow injury. Fitch now faces veteran mixed martial artist Dennis Hallman on the NBC-televised fight card.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Dennis Hallman. He’s a real fighter. Real fighters fight. It doesn’t matter where. It doesn’t matter who. You get a date, you show up and you fight. That’s what real fighters do,” said former UFC title contender.