SBD/Issue 49/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

UFC Fighter Signs Marketing Deal After Being Cut For Refusal

Fitch Says White Was Not
Professional During Negotiations
UFC fighter Jon Fitch has agreed to sign the company's "much-maligned video game licensing agreement," less than 24 hours after "being reportedly ousted from the UFC" in a dispute over the deal, according to Chad Dundas of Fitch spoke with UFC co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta and "managed to clear the air" after disapproving of how he was treated by UFC President Dana White "during attempts to negotiate a deal involving rights to his name and likeness for the upcoming 'UFC Undisputed 2009' video game." Fitch, who has yet to speak with White since the incident, said, "It was never even about the agreement or the contract. It was the approach that we felt Dana was being a little bit hot-headed and was threatening us right off the bat. It didn't seem like a professional way of doing things" (, 11/20).

FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST:'s Josh Gross reported UFC on Wednesday cut ties with Fitch and several American Kickboxing Academy teammates for originally not signing the rights agreement. After originally refusing to sign the deal, Fitch "said he was told 'either you're in if you sign this, or you're getting cut.'" Fitch on Wednesday said, "We thought that was kind of crazy. Why would you sign anything away for your lifetime?" Fitch: "This sport is definitely not about fighting anymore. It used to be about finding out who the best guy was, what the best style was. It's not about that anymore. It's about the top company making the most money." Zinkin Entertainment Manager Bob Cook said of Fitch, "He doesn't want to just sign blankly away, and be endorsing a product he might not believe in. He's got his beliefs, and some of the other guys, they want to be in charge of their own deals" (, 11/20). More from Fitch prior to signing the deal: "We tried to negotiate five- or 10-year deals with them, but it wasn't good enough. It was all or nothing. [White] wanted our lifetime. He wanted our souls forever." Fitch added that he "simply didn't understand the need to sign a lifetime contract, particularly since it would not pay his family in the event of his death." (, 11/19).

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