Nothing fires me up more than when the UFC uses their leverage over fighters in unethical ways. What did they do now? They cut several fighters, including top five welterweight Jon Fitch, for not signing away their LIFETIME video game rights to their name and likeness.
Former number one UFC welterweight contender 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, MMAmania.com can exclusively confirm.
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.
While the full details are a little murky at this time, 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 thereafter.
There’s no better argument for there being legitimate competition and/or a fighter’s union than situations like this. Until either of those happens, the UFC has all the leverage. It’s really a sad situation because the fighters literally have no options for a stable working environment where they’ll be treated fairly.
Obviously, a guy like Jon Fitch deserves to be competing with the rest of the top welterweights in the world. Just so happens they all reside in the UFC, with the exception of Jake Shields. Now he can’t do that, and his professional career suffers because he wasn’t willing to sign away his rights forever?!?! That’s bullshit, and whoever’s pulling the strings knows it.
How you can take advantage of people and still sleep at night is beyond me.
So far, Fitch and Wellisch are the only two names named so far, but it sounds like there could be more. Possibly fighters from the same camp, same management, etc. We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, here’s a refresher on the UFC merchandising agreement, which is where this is likely stemming from.