The UFC yesterday released #3 ranked welterweight contender Jon Fitch for failing to sign a document that gives lifetime rights to his likeness in any future video games. The story, first broken by MMA Mania, is developing very quickly. Apparently, Christian Wellisch has also been cut and fellow AKA treammates Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez are also on the chopping block following their upcoming fights.
Fitch, who was defeated in a 5 round war with champion Georges St. Pierre in his last turn in the octagon, was completely taken by surprise by this move. According to MMAWeekly...
“This is like over the course of two days, three days,” Fitch explained about the release. “It had to do with Dana (White) calling my managers and immediately saying, ‘we need to get him to sign this contract’ and ‘it’s a big favor to me.’ Then we asked him, ‘Why do you need this contract signed?’
“Then we finally asked, after reading through the contract, why can’t we negotiate for different terms? Because it asked me for a lifetime contract for the video games, so they would have exclusive rights to use our likeness for these video games and we couldn’t go and do any other video games ever again in our lifetime.”
Before anything was decided, Fitch says his managers tried to re-negotiate a different deal from the lifetime contract, but an ultimatum was soon made.
“So basically we said we weren’t cool with that deal and why can’t we do it for five or 10 years? Why does it have to be a lifetime deal? Their next response was, ‘either you guys are in or you’re out’ and ‘sign this or you’re going to get dropped from the UFC,’” said Fitch. “So we hear that and we didn’t even think they were serious. Why would you want to release fighters at our level over something like that? Doesn’t make any sense.
“Within two phone calls, it got to ‘sign this or you guys are out.’”
Dana White’s response was pretty typical of him. On Yahoo Sports.
“We’re looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I’m just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it’s not even funny. Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren’t partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them…. I’m not a douche bag and I do a lot for these guys, a lot more than any of you will ever know. We’re in a horrible time in the economy now, and every guy with two nickels to rub together is making a run at us. We’ve worked too hard, given too much, to let certain guys come in and [expletive] with that.”
White later toned down thhe rhetoric on the “Carmichael Dave” radio show.
“No, no, no. It has nothing to do with an agreement. It doesn’t have to do with Jon Fitch either. I like Jon Fitch. I’ve never had a bad word with Jon Fitch. The problem is with the idiots that run AKA. I won’t use any names; the idiots know who they are.”
I’m sure there will be a lot more to this story in the upcoming days.