Jon Fitch Responds to Firas Zahabi Calling Him a Cheater Ahead of Rory MacDonald Fight

Jon Fitch responds to the accusations from Rory MacDonald’s head coach saying he’s a cheater and that has led to his success in mixed martial arts.

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Jon Fitch
Image Credit: Bellator

Jon Fitch won’t deny that he was a cheater.

In the days leading up to his fight against Rory MacDonald in Bellator, Fitch heard some strong words from his opponent’s head coach where he was accused of continuous performance enhancing drug use that led to his recent resurgence with five consecutive wins.

“There’s no question about it. Jon Fitch tested positive for illegal substances, PEDS, performance-enhancing drugs, he’s had a major resurgence in his career,” Firas Zahabi told DAZN ahead of the fight this weekend.

“The truth of the matter is he’s not as good as people think he is. He’s really just a cheater.”

Back in 2015, Fitch failed a drug test in the state of California ahead of his fight against Rousimar Palhares in World Series of Fighting and he was ultimately suspended for nine months.

Rather than claim he was the victim of a contaminated supplement or just denying that he ever cheated in the first place, Fitch faced the situation head on by admitting his wrongdoing and the reasons behind his use of synthetic testosterone.

“I did, I cheated,” Fitch said ahead of his fight with MacDonald. “There’s no hiding from that. I talk about it all the time in my live streams on my YouTube channel every morning at 9:30 and I talk about the situation, what went through my head to rationalize it, the experience of it.

“People can go through it, there’s plenty of audio and stuff they can listen to see what was going on in my mind and why I thought it was a good idea at the time.”

While it’s not everyday that a combat sports athlete admits to wrongdoing of this magnitude, Fitch says he wanted to address his misdeeds while also hoping to serve as an example for future fighters coming up in the sport.

“Part of it was a lot of young fighters probably experienced the same type of pressure that maybe I was going through. I was struggling financially, we were just exiting the period of TRT where people could get therapeutic exemptions to use testosterone,” Fitch explained. “I found out that there were guys I fought who were on legal testosterone and that bothered me. Because I got released from the UFC, I was making 70-percent less money and there are guys who I know were on legal TRT are still competing in the UFC, still competing at a high level and making way more money than me.

“I’m thinking to myself why am I holding myself back from making money when all these guys are cheating, everybody is turning a blind eye to them, why don’t I do what they do? I’m fighting a guy who’s known for cheating in multiple different ways. I rationalized the experience and it was a horrible experience. It was the stupidest thing ever. I’m kind of embarrassed.”

Fitch says he was admittedly the worst cheater in the world but not because he was taking copious amounts of illegal substances. Instead, Fitch says he had absolutely no idea what he was doing and his lone experience attempting to cheat was an unmitigated disaster.

“I’ve talked about how clumsily and dumb it was to try and inject myself,” Fitch said. “It took like a half-hour to get a f—king needle in my ass. I’d be sweating from my armpit and there’d be times where I would sweat on the needle and I’d have to throw it out because I was afraid I would give myself a staph infection because I got sweat on the needle. My ass was so sore I couldn’t even grapple. I didn’t grapple live that entire training camp cause my ass was so sore.

“I was the worst. I’m on the internet forums trying to figure out where to put the needle. It was stupid. It was so stupid, it was comedy. I deserved to lose so badly.”

As far as Zahabi’s accusations that Fitch has continued to cheat, the former UFC title contender denies that he’s done anything wrong since the massive mistake he made four years ago and if anything, MacDonald’s coach is just making excuses before the fight even happens.

“It sounds like a little built in excuse,” Fitch said.

While the accusations may take some of the attention away from an otherwise compelling fight, Fitch says he’s happy to serve as a cautionary tale to other fighters in hopes that they would never endure the same mistakes as him.

“I hope talking about it openly will discourage other guys,” Fitch said. “Because I’ve said this before, it’s not helpful in a weight class sport. I really don’t. The recovery isn’t anything to be noted. You can eat garbage food and look great but I didn’t see any type of benefit from it.”