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Total Horseshit: Jon Fitch Dropped From UFC Over Video Game Licensing


(Photo courtesy of ryanmcfadden.com)

Yeah, about that Fitch/Gono fight: It’s not going to happen because Jon Fitch, the UFC’s former #1 welterweight contender, and one of only three fighters to ever achieve eight consecutive wins inside the Octagon (the other two being Royce Gracie and Anderson Silva), has been fired. MMA Mania breaks it:

Jon Fitch was today handed his walking papers for refusing to sign an agreement that would give the promotion exclusive lifetime video game rights to his name and likeness…

Christian Wellisch — who also didn’t ink the paperwork — was also released. Others who do not sign the agreement could also be let go in the future…

Fitch was apparently approached about the issue when he turned in his signed bout agreement to fight Akihiro Gono at UFC 94: “St. Pierre vs. Penn 2? on January 31. And when he and his representatives attempted to negotiate the video game deal it was all or nothing. He didn’t sign it and was terminated shortly therefafter.

Give us the exclusive right to use you in video games forever, or you’re fired. Let that sink in for a moment. Wellisch may not have been going anywhere in the UFC’s heavyweight division, but Fitch is a top-five welterweight — an enormous asset for any MMA organization — and to drop him over something so ultimately trivial is pure insanity.

Kevin Iole adds that Dana White no longer wants to work with American Kickboxing Academy fighters or anyone represented by DeWayne Zinkin and Bob Cook, which includes Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez:

“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,” White said from Honolulu, where he flew Wednesday from Toronto to hold a news conference to announce the B.J. Penn-Georges St. Pierre fight for UFC 94 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.

“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.”

[Cain] Velasquez, one of the sport’s rising stars, clearly is on the outs with White. White said Zinkin wanted standard language that is part of every UFC fighter’s contract removed from Velasquez’s deal.

“Can you believe that?” White said. “Chuck Liddell has that language in his contract. Randy Couture has it. Anderson Silva has it. And Cain [expletive] Velasquez, with two [expletive] fights, wants us to change it for him? That’s [expletive] nuts. He can get the [expletive] out.

“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.”

While he acknowledges that it’s unlikely another company would want to put him in a video game in the future, Jon Fitch didn’t feel comfortable with signing away the rights to his likeness forever:

“Working for free and selling our rights away for lifetime, that’s a little different. We tried to negotiate five- or 10-year deals with them, but it wasn’t good enough. It was all or nothing. He wanted our lifetime. He wanted our souls forever…

He wanted us to sign [a previous] merchandising agreement, and it was not a very good agreement. There was not really a reason for us to sign it. The first thing they brought to us was for us to sign all of our rights away for everything forever. It was for very small compensation, and there was no compensation for family members if we were to die. We could die and they could make memorial figurines and stuff and make thousands, millions of dollars, and our families wouldn’t see a penny of it. The way they bring the contracts and stuff to us, I don’t know, it’s just not how business is done.”

Fitch added that the UFC “has taken care of me and you’ve never heard me complain about money. This is a respect thing…I’d only like a little bit of respect for the blood I shed for this company.”

Respect — the same concept that led to Randy Couture’s year-long exodus from the sport. It seems that it’s still in short supply in the UFC, though Dana White still places the blame for this fiasco solely on the AKA fighters’ management. As he said last night on The Carmichael Dave Show in Sacaramento:

“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 trying to run a business — bro, I live on a plane 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s all I do is fly everywhere to try to build this company. And these guys think this thing is so big and these guys start negotiating all this stupid stuff like they’re Mel Gibson…

Listen, this is just like any other job. You don’t want to work for me? They’re plenty of other opportunities out there. The t-shirt guys are trying to start their own business. Get in business with them. Do it with somebody else. If you don’t want to be in business with me? Then you don’t have to be in business with me. It’s simple as that.”

Now is not the best time for a fighter to be unemployed and on the outs with Zuffa. Will this kind of exploitative pressure be standard operating procedure for the UFC as their competition continues to die out? Bad, bad times. We’ll keep you posted…

Cagepotato Comments

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thisWriterSucks- February 26, 2013 at 6:15 am
Whoever wrote this article is a retard. 1 Fitch did NOT get cut because he wouldnt sign the video game deal. He got cut because 1. His career is going DOWNHILL and 2. He is a boring fighter. He goes out and plays it safe. Whens the last time you saw him knock someone out? Exactly.
This article, aside from telling the writers personal opinion and utter bullshit lies, doesnt even accurately represent when this dousche wrote this article. Quick tip jabroni, you ALWAYS post the DATE at the TOP OF THE ARTICLE of when you wrote it.
True fighters are Dan Hardy, Rory McDonald, JDS. Those guys go out and try to knock their opponent out. They dont clinch with them, take them to the ground, then sit on them for 3 minutes and slap them in the face. They take the risk of getting knocked out themselves to try and knock their opponent out and put on the best fight possible.
If you guys wanna check out the REAL reason why Fitch and several more fighters were cut, check out the link below:

http://www.mmaweekly.com/dana-white-explains-jon-fitch-firing-the-blood-has-not-all-been-spilled-yet-ufc-157-video
clonewolf- June 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm
This story is about 4 years old. Yawn Fitch was released for not cooperating on the game, then reinstated, then released a couple months ago for accidentally falling asleep on top of each of the last 3 guys he fought. He might be narcoleptic, or maybe I am, every time I am forced to watch a Yawn Fitch fight.
beef austin texas- February 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm
Give credit where credit is due.
Anonymous- February 2, 2009 at 3:12 am
if jon fitch doesnt like it he shud fuck rite off. hes the only fighter to complain out of 80 and hes probably one of the least wanted on the game anyway
James Jankowski- January 30, 2009 at 11:11 pm
Umm ... hey genius ... its spelled employee. I'll be nice and just leave you with that tip for now ... but you should really work on your grammar if you want to talk shit to all of these "clowns".
Anonymous- January 29, 2009 at 9:22 am
This is very reminiscient of the early days of pro sports unions, just take a look at the creation of NHL players union. It was started by a few of the star players due to unfair labor practices by the owners.

As a small business owner, I understand what it takes on a day to day basis to run a business, but what Dana White is doing is flat out wrong. If you respect your employees, they will work even harder for you. Consent is a much more powerful tool, than coercion.

All I can say is that Dana White is treading on dangerous ground, as the next logical step in the UFC's evolution could very well be a fighter's union. History (NHL, NFL, MLB) has a way of repeating itself.

Dana do what is right before it is too late!

samurai59- December 7, 2008 at 7:46 pm
Yea maybe Dana is being desrespectful but u have to look at the economy right now, and out of all the mma company ufc seem to be the best out there and when and only when there are other big names out there u should try to negotiate with him. Also dana is kind of a dick but u have to deal w/ it
Dana Wright- November 26, 2008 at 9:23 pm
Relax keyboard warriors. The merchandising deal on the table was very similar to what NFL rookies sign every year. It doesn't pay a fortune, but it's not like Topps or Fleer or Hasbro is going to strike a separate deal with Jon Fitch. The deal is made between the toy/card/videogame company and the UFC, so the UFC tries to get everyone on board. Just like the NFL.

Stop whining. Fitch got bad advice. Maybe he'd only make $25,000 for the UFC licensing deal, but he'll make $0 for any non-UFC licensing deal.
Trevor- November 22, 2008 at 8:21 pm
Wow, what's with the personal attacks ... think it makes your point any stronger?

What happened to taking accountability and excericising your right to have a choice.

If you don't like it, get the fack out and start your own organization.

He (or she) who holds the gold, makes the rules!

You ever check the records of those from TUF? Forest Griffin was already a well known up and comer prior to them adding his to the show, same as everyone else they ask to join. ... they arn't picking these guys up off the streets.

Everyone wants a hand out and everything given to them.

Instead of whining and complaining about how "the man" has done you wrong and blaming everyone but yourself for your lack of creativity and ability to be self-sufficient, think of a solution as opposed to magnifying the problem.

Get a job, pay some taxes and get the fuck off the welfare.
Anonymous- November 22, 2008 at 8:14 pm
Wow, what's with the personal attacks ... think it makes your point any stronger?

What happened to taking accountability and excericising your right to have a choice.

If you don't like it, get the fack out and start your own organization.

He (or she) who holds the gold, makes the rules!

You ever check the records of those from TUF? Forest Griffin was already a well known up and comer prior to them adding his to the show, same as everyone else they ask to join. ... they arn't picking these guys up off the streets.

Everyone wants a hand out and everything given to them.

Instead of whining and complaining about how "the man" has done you wrong and blaming everyone but yourself for your lack of creativity and ability to be self-sufficient, think of a solution as opposed to magnifying the problem.

Get a job, pay some taxes and get the fuck off the welfare.
cr_trinity- November 22, 2008 at 4:44 am
And of course people will watch "The Replacements". Why do you think TUF was created? To lower the standards and expectations of the New fanbase ZUFFA intended to share with the WWE.
cr_trinity- November 22, 2008 at 4:39 am
Amazing how many of you grey hair fucks will support this fascist system right up to the point the Machine rampages to your door, and starts to chew through everything you have... Fucking scum. And WWE wrestlers don't complain coz they'r doped off of their heads on meds, like you moron. And the fact there is noone to complain to with any authority to do anything, because assclowns like you support this Totalitarian shit.
Trevor- November 22, 2008 at 4:30 am
Any one of you guys run your own businesses? Do you know the costs to operate and the risks of global expansion? ... Probably not.

There's a reason PRIDE no longer exists, WEC and IFC got bought out and Elite XC and it's assets are up for sale ... UFC fighters should be so lucky to have Zuffa replicate the WWE system, I don't see any professional wrestlers complaining ... I just see movie and merchandizing deals come along for them and if they are smart create thier own intellectual property opportunities in opening up gyms and providing instructional videos and manuals.

Those who take the risks reap the rewards ... nothings stopping the fighters from creating own brands (Extreme Couture, Miletich Martial Arts, Tap Out, etc.).

It's nice to get in, get paid and get out but that doesn't exist when you are a business owner.

The fighters should either unionize like all other major sports organizations or find an alternative ... they have the choice ... there's no way Dana White could not sign unionized fighters if they truly are the best ... you think people want to pay and watch "The Replacements".

When it comes to $$$ Ortiz and Couture have both disputed their UFC contracts yet still come back, why? The UFC and its owners made them who they are and know nobody else can provide them the same consistency and security ... unless you don't perform (Ortiz).
justin- November 22, 2008 at 2:13 am
dana white is a fucking idiot! i did not know people could be so stupid. !
justin- November 22, 2008 at 2:05 am
dana white is a fucking idiot! i did not know people could be so stupid.
FAN- November 20, 2008 at 4:31 pm
UFC PPV FITCH VS. WHITE!!!!!!!
brydon- November 20, 2008 at 4:30 pm
UFC 94 FITCH VS. WHITE!!!!!!!!!
UFC fan- November 19, 2008 at 11:43 pm
Some guy wants my take on it another jackoff thinks I am tuf gay, wow that hurts.
My take on this is : I was gonna buy the game.......now? fuck that dana can kiss my ass, all this shit over a video game? thats crazy shit DW, and I want no part of it.
NOW you dumb fuck (DW), now you feed the monster known as affliction, and maybe you just gave it a reason to stay alive, cause NOW, if John fights for them, I am going to watch it dumbfuck white.
I still think UFC is the best, but this move needs to be overturned by the fertita's.
none of these forum assclowns could ever embarrass me the way Dana just did.
thebusinesman- November 19, 2008 at 10:52 pm
Fuckin dictator - Dana, you can kiss away my $45 bucks each month and go fuck yourself.

You lost all respect, you retard!!
Lodz- November 19, 2008 at 8:39 pm
This is too far. I have always respected what Dana has done for the sport, but this is strongarm bullying tactics and nothing else. It is 100% reasonable for fighters to raise concerns like these.
LILPO0TS- November 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm
dana white is the biggest idiot on the face of the planet. he's see potential in a few guys in certain weight classes and everyone else is expendable. anytime you have "forever" in a contract..it bogus. that means they arent trying to get enough out of the deal to pay for the over head and make some dough. they are tryin to make all the dough. i will be glad when a fighter actually breaks loose on dana and he gets his head smashed in. he riding on brock lesnar, gsp, and anderson silva. all of which are gonna be handed losses soon.
actually all of them have embarassing losses. gsp to serra, brock to mir, and silva to chonan and about to be liddel. anyone who says dana white has done good for the sport is totally insane. yah he did good for the sport by strong arming other organizations so we have nothing left to watch but ufc? and he cant even pull a network deal? spike..CSI and UFC forevah! dana has failed all of us..and now there is no entertainment aymore except matches that should have happened years ago.
fuck DW and the ufc.
michael huerta- November 19, 2008 at 7:38 pm
wow. just .....wow. i like dana because or his no nonsense attitude but shit. this time......its just not right. dana you are one soulless mother fucker. if all the best fighters like fitch go to affliction then im buying their PPVs.
Sweep the Leg- November 19, 2008 at 7:14 pm
@Chris
Thanks for the link. Although I wish that the actual document was available, if the author has represented it accurately, then it is as we assumed...completely and utterly ridiculous. I'm an attorney, too (like the author), and let me say that THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I would ever let any client sign that thing. Nor should any agent or management team allow their clients to do so either. In fact, I would be scared about facing a future malpractice suit from any client that I DID let sign it. It has to be one of the most one-sided agreements I've ever heard of.

We'll probably never know what kind of negotiations/conversations/discussions were actually had between White and the representatives of the AKA fighters. But, assuming that they weren't being completely ridiculous, and that it was mainly White saying "sign this as it's written or you can go fuck yourselves" (not a stretch, given...oh, every single quote I've ever watched, read, or heard from White), then I think that clearly Dana White, the Fertittas, and the UFC are the ones with the massive reasonableness problem here.

And let me say, that if more prominent guys than Fitch (GSP, Penn, Silva, Lesnar, etc.) have already signed this ridiculous thing, then good God. They better have asked for a TON more money than I've ever heard about them getting, or they need to seriously consider firing their own agents/attorneys/management teams. Because they effectively have signed their professional lives (outside the cage) away forever.
Meohfumado- November 19, 2008 at 6:47 pm
Video game money is a big deal these days it seems (look at the retired NFL players vs EA lawsuit).

Dana keeps up these strong arm tactics, and he's going to get the last thing he wants: A Fighter's Union.

You think negotiating contracts suck, try collective bargaining Dana. Whole 'nother headache there, and UFC is just getting big enough for them to start talking about one.
cr_trinity- November 19, 2008 at 6:47 pm
Thanks Cage Potato: I was starting to think you were not going to report on this in this manner. As for Dana, his natural Zionist Inclinations are coming out for all with eyes to see. And I hope many of you now realise why TUF was created. The Fertittas and their ass puppet Dana Fucking White knew that this was going to eventually occur; they're not as stupid as the Common Herd, and they essentially took the WWE Tough Enough concept and merged it with a Survivor concept to incrementally create a new fanbase that isn't really interested in good fights, but are brand obsessed. You "Hardcore" MMA fans better realise, like I have that your time is over. For any with a brain, go to www.fightsport.com and look up the Z Files. You'll see an interesting perspective on the background of the Fertittas...
walrus- November 19, 2008 at 6:31 pm
TUF GUY and UFC Fan are the same person -- I'm absolutely sure now.

They are both huge, meatheaded UFC fanboys, to the highest degree. They're both greatly delusioned. And their only insults to all the people who rip on them involve homosexual activity.
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