Last night at WSOF 30, Jon Fitch finally captured that elusive, big promotion title that has eluded him his entire career. He did it in typical Jon Fitch fashion, playing it safe on the feet, and going to work when he could take the fight to the mat. It wasn’t a “lay n’ pray” fight, thanks in part to opponent Joao Zeferino being a leg lock specialist and very active from his back, but it wasn’t a barn burner either.

That’s fine. Welcome to the sport of MMA, key word: sport. Not every fight needs to be a barn burner. Effective styles that aren’t crowd pleasers are still effective styles. Maybe the crowd needs a little more education on why they’re beautiful — because by the end of his welterweight title fight at WSOF 30, Fitch had score some solid damage points, and the fight was anything but boring.

That brings us to Jared Rosholt. The Big Show, with apologies to the WWE’s Big Show, who really does have the better claim to the name. Rosholt’s fight with Roy “Big Country” Nelson was a battle of the Bigs that actually was boring, though not for Nelson’s lack of trying. Roy absolutely wanted to make it an exciting fight, but Rosholt, clearly aware he couldn’t handle Nelson’s power or likely crack Nelson’s granite chin, basically circled, back-tracked, and jogged away for three rounds. Nelson got the win, Rosholt got a pink slip despite being 3-1 in his last four following the loss, and 6-2 in the promotion overall.

The UFC, you see, has a history of this. Ask Fitch, Jake Shields, Yushin Okami — all men punished for finding a road to victory that worked for them, yet wasn’t fan pleasing.

Yes, MMA is a business, as I’ve rightfully pointed out several times. However, part of that business is taking some acceptable risks, and in a thin heavyweight division, Rosholt is an acceptable risk. So the fans boo the guy for playing it safe. While he’s had some dull fights, he has won them, managed to sneak up as high as 12th in the UFC rankings, and really just had the one truly terrible bout. The UFC, with the heavyweight division as thin as it is, would have been wise to keep him around for another fight or two.

Now, Bellator needs to make the UFC’s loss their gain. Bellator is no stranger to unfriendly fight styles, look no further than former welterweight champion Ben Askren, practically exiled to ONE FC due to his wrestling heavy approach. Yet Askren was a legit talent, and it was a bad decision (and perhaps one that got a little too personal) on the part of former CEO Bjorn Rebney. The current man in charge, Scott Coker, needs to go the opposite route, and land Rosholt. Having just signed Matt Mitrione, a top 15 heavyweight in the UFC, Bellator needs to firm up their ranks. Former contender Blagoi Ivanov is currently the WSOF heavyweight champ, Vitaly Minakov hasn’t defended his Bellator title in years, Alexander Volkov, the former Bellator champ, was cut, and things seem so desperate that Joey Beltran is heading back to heavyweight to take on former Titan FC champion Chase Gormley.

Essentially, Bellator has Cheick Kongo, Bobby Lashley, Matt Mitrione, Sergei Kharitonov, Justin Wren, Vinicius Spartan, James Thompson, and a handful of other guys propping up the division. Only the first few are legitimate draws at this point. Rosholt, if nothing else, is a name to pad the ranks – and as he said in the wake of his UFC release, he’s not interested in dropping back to the regional scene. He’s looking to get paid, and be a company guy.

Make him one. He’s a great test for a guy like Lashley or Wren at this point. And heavyweight’s, especially ones that can win consistently in top promotions, are hard to come by, regardless of their style. No one should be passing one up. Not the UFC, and certainly not Bellator.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.

  • Douglas Hill

    I think it all comes down to a conversation with Rosholt and his management. If he is committed to working on his stand-up, I say sign him. If he thinks his style is fine I would pass. What is the sense of having him under contract when his reputation is that of a lackluster boring fighter?