President of the UFC, Dana White, was asked about the current situation
with some of the UFC fighters that are being released from their
contracts. Furiously, he stated that he never wants to deal with the San Jose,
California academy, AKA (American Kickboxing Academy) . White wants
absolutely no relationship with them, the people who run it (Bob Cook
and DeWayne Zinkin) nor its fighters. So far, welterweight fighter Jon Fitch and heavyweight contender Wellisch have been released from their contract, while Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez may be next:
“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.
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…There are a lot of
guys who help us and work with us and are great
partners with us, and they’re the ones we’re going to remember and take
care of…Do these guys understand what is going on in this world? I’ll
this economy is [expletive] up. It’s totally [expletive] up. It’s bad,
real, real bad. The [television] networks are in trouble and don’t have
money. The sponsors are in trouble, and they have no money. If they
don’t have money, they go out of business…It’s a whole other world
out there, believe me, and let these guys go out there and see what
On Tuesday, Jon Fitch had signed a contract to fight Japanese MMA fighter Akihiro "Magic Man" Gono on the UFC 94 fight card. Apparently, the UFC has decided to change their mind by officially releasing the welterweight contender because of a "video game agreement." Fitch had two fights remaining on his contract, but according to UFC terms, a fighter could be dropped from the organization whenever they lose:
“I had two fights left on my contract, but they always put a clause in
the contract that if you lose a fight, they’re able to release you at
any time after a loss That’s pretty standard with any organization, but it’s pretty
incredible that they’d go to those lengths for something like this,
over a video game.”
Fitch lost to Georges "Rush" St. Pierre at UFC 87: Seek and Destroy this past August. A win over St. Pierre would have beaten Royce Gracie’s record for most consecutive wins in the UFC and he would have acquired the UFC welterweight title. However, Fitch was schooled in a 5-round unanimous decision loss. Prior to his fight with St. Pierre, Fitch had was 8-0 in the UFC and had an overall MMA record of 15-0.
Fitch talked to sherdog and mmaweekly about the situation. He explains that the UFC wanted him to sign a lifetime video game agreement. Inking the deal would help him gain free publicity, but the fact that it was a lifetime deal bothered him the most:
"We get free publicity and promotion from the game, which is great, no
problem. The problem is it’s a lifetime exclusive contract. That means
we would never ever be able to work with any video game companies other
than the one the UFC provides…They basically kicked the door open, guns blazing, pointed it in our face and said, ‘Sign this or you’re going to pay…This is like over the course of two days, three days…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.’…So basically we said we weren’t cool with that deal and why can’t we do it for 5 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 your going to get dropped from the UFC…So we hear that and we didn’t even think they were serious. Why would you want to release fighters at our level over like that? Doesn’t make sense. Especially me? Just because I lost, it sure as hell wasn’t because of lack of effort or poor performance…we got the bout agreement (Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono) returned today and then later tonight they released me from my promotional contract. So at the moment, I’m no longer with the UFC. I don’t even know what to think right now, I’m still kind of in shock."