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Dana White speaks out about Jon Fitch’s release during emotional radio interview

UFC President Dana White publicly addressed reports of the release of former welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch during an emotional radio interview Wednesday night with sports talk show host Carmichael Dave during “The Carmichael Dave” show on 1140 KHTK in Sacramento.

Within seconds of the interview’s commencement, a distressed White didn’t hold back his feelings on the situation.

“No, no, no. It has nothing to do with an agreement,” White corrected Carmichael when the host began to suggest Fitch was cut amidst reports he wouldn’t sign an agreement that would grant the UFC lifetime rights to his likeness for the purpose of making video games.

“It doesn’t have to do with Jon Fitch either,” continued White. “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.”

But in expressing a big picture concern that extends beyond Fitch, White began to introduce the current state of the economy as a reason why he doesn’t understand why fighters are more agreeable to terms of deals that are being presented.

“The economy is changing by the second. Every day when you wake up tomorrow, bad things are happening,” he said. “Not just in the United States but all over the world. Television networks are in trouble. The sponsors who used to sponsor them are in trouble. Some of them are going out of business and the rest of them are cutting their sponsorships big time.

“Companies that have been around for hundred years are going out of business. It’s crazy. Banks are going under. And I’m in a situation now where I’ve got these guys — 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. No disrespect to Jon Fitch — I like Jon Fitch — (but) like we’re going to be doing the Jon Fitch swim line sometime soon? And then the clothing line.

“It’s insane. What I try to do — is we put together all of these things and we try to make everyone money. That’s the way that it works. But I’ve got these guys from AKA, these idiots, that don’t want to play. Listen, at the end of the day it’s not a big deal. The problem is because when something goes wrong in the UFC all the idiots from the media like to jump out and go, ‘Yeah, there’s something negative with the UFC. Let’s get out there and talk about it!’

“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.”

Later in the interview, Carmichael then began to read a quote by Fitch from a Yahoo! Sports article written by Kevin Iole in which White issued a direct response.

“’I’m more than willing to work with them, but I don’t see why we have to give up our whole lives. Why not a time limit?,'” the host read before being cut off by White.

“What’s with this whole lives?,” White interjected. “Do you know how much Jon Fitch made for the Georges St. Pierre fight? Where the hell else could Jon Fitch go right now and make the money he made? He made $169,000 for that night for that fight. Where’s he going to make that kind of money in one night?”

White would continue with his passionate response but became so angry that the amount of expletives he used exceeded the station’s delay, prompting Carmichael to place the UFC president on hold until the delay could be restarted. When order was restored, White returned and apologized.

However, he wouldn’t remain calm for long as he once again started to verbally assail the media and the state of the economy.

“It’s like all the media wants to jump up and go ‘Oh the UFC! The UFC!” Shut up! Shut up. Every one of you shut your mouth. Mind your business. Here’s the deal: the reality is we’re working our asses off to make this thing bigger and better for everybody. The world is a very dangerous place right now with this economy.”

White also confirmed during the course of the interview that he had been contacted by Mike Swick and indicated that Swick had expressed a desire to handle business on his own and work something out with the UFC. In regards to other fighters affiliated with AKA such as Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez, White didn’t mention them by name but stated he had no desire to work with any fighters that are represented by the San Jose-based fight gym.

  • DK says:

    I think I hate Dana White. Yeah, I do. Without guys like Fitch he’d still be personal trainer living pay check to pay check. Here’s to opening the door to disaster.

  • michael says:

    what’s the big deal? like the ufc is gonna use fitch’s likeness in 5 years when jon fitch is washed up and not fighting anymore. i like jon fitch but he is taking this way too far! it’s not like dana is asking him to do this for nothing, i’m sure fitch is gonna get a ton of money for this and be in a really cool game. i’m with dana, it’s not like jon fitch swim wear is coming out any time soon.

  • Jeff says:

    I think Dana has it right, if the AKA and others want all this big money, how much are they giving the fighter, it will be like a bunch of Don Kingfs in MMA and we all know boxing has gone by the wayside because of people like King. Seems like AKA and others think they own these fighters now. It’s the fighters that are going to wind up being exploited by the camps they “Belong” to! You may hate Dana for whatever reason, but you have to admit, he cleaned it up, is making the fighters better money than they ever made before, and they have some great match ups with the fights. Dana sees the state of the economy and knows what’s going on, people have les money to spend, attendance is going down, PPV proceeds will go down, it takes time money and effort for all this to work and he works on it day in and day out. I’ve been watching MMA since UFC 1 forward, it’s bigger and better now than ever. I enjoy all the fighters, Jon Fitch is one of my favorites, I think Jon would be best to negotiate his own deal, he would make more money for himself. We don’t know what these fighters have agreed to with the camps they are from so they might have contracts that they cannot get out of.

  • Jerry MacWire says:

    Vince MacMahon all over again. Years and years ago when the WWF was growing, MacMahon was ruthless in either buying or crushing all competition.Business is business and that’s his right But is it good for the athletes or sport long term?

    Look at the WWE and all the ruined lives. When you’re the only game in town it doesn’t leave you much in the way of choices. But just like Dana has a right to run his business the way he wants, fighters like Fitch, et al can do as they please.

    Kudos to Fitch for having the balls to stand up to a much larger and more powerful entity than himself. I have a ton more respect for him than White.

    BTW, how much longer are the Fertitas going to let White spout off like a loose cannon, the guy is a pr nightmare.

  • Mar says:

    It was stated on sherdog that Fitch won’t be getting any money for the video game release

  • KMac says:

    I have a feeling that there’s a lot we don’t know. Dana White and the UFC have every right to do this with any of their fighters. It just sucks that Fitch is one getting singled out! I’d be curious of guys like Liddel, Coture, GSP, and BJ signed the same agreement.

    If they did, then it’s just the price of doing business in the biggest league (look into how restrictive and draconian some of the NFL’s policies are on their players). However, if the biggest name fighters were not asked to sign a similar agreement, then it’s a very different story.

    But White is right: Even if Fitch finds a promotion to match what his top payday from the UFC, they will not be able to maintain it over the long haul. Elite XC tried competing with the UFC’s payouts, but their incoming $$ didn’t support it.

  • tHe HEAT says:

    aka are a bunch of losers,i like fitch but his ego must of got in the way,take the good with the bad,i mean if ur boss sez sign this or ur out of a job most ppl would sgn it ,swallow ur pride its a video game ffs,also koschek is a loser,i remeber when he fought gsp,he said gsp aint gonna take me down wat a loser gsp took hmi down wth ease wat a wanker

  • Robert says:

    People who are on Dana White’s side are the reason that one percent of the population controls everything they just fall in line when someone in”authority” or someone with a lot of power tells them this is the way it’s going to be you don’t have to think for yourself we’ll do it for you.People who are on Dana White’s nuts all the time really think that he’s the star of the UFC. I don’t know how you go through life that dumb.

  • JM says:

    if everyone had the balls to stand up and be counted guys like Dana wouldn’t be able to take advantage with the majority of fighters like they do now. Most undercard fighters train for more than 2 months for 1 fight and in some cases only get a $4k-$10k payout for the fight. this is what happens to the majority of guys in UFC. What happens if a guy gets beaten and suspended for 2-3 months after his fight….. that means he has to survive on $4k-$10k for almost 5 months while Dana laughs all the way to the bank.

  • ChrisC says:

    It’s the managers/agents VS UFC president Dana White..
    Dana probably doesn’t want the managers to get a huge cut of the contract money and.. the managers of course feel they are entitled to that money.
    Managers’ livelihood is on the line if fighters sign away all their rights with little compensation in return.

    They are effing with the wrong guy though, if he can cut Jon Fitch.. a top-5 talent.. anybody could be next.

    Everyone wants more money.. UFC,Dana White, fighters, agents and you and me, everyone. It all comes down to money.

  • matthew says:

    1) If this is all started by a game and “rights” etc, was this not discussed before the production of the game was started? Or was this sprung on the fighters after the completion of the game?

    I reiterate the same point on the other stories and one made by others also.

    2) Were other persons (eg. BJ, GSP, Chuck, Rampage) asked to sign the same conditions?If not, there is a serious problem with this and Dana White has been caught out trying to man handle his contracted fighters and is attempting to excuse his behaviour by blaming AKA management. We have already seen Dana White’s reactions to management companies he doesn’t like.

    3) What reasons does Jon Fitch have to make the statement on Yahoo sports apart from being a little upset that negotiations have failed over one term of the agreement? I find it hard to believe he had any intentions of damaging the UFC.

    4) Is the current state of the economy any reason to ask fighters to forfeit portions of monies made from there involvement with UFC merchandise? I think not. Manage your organization better. Is that not what you are there for? Harsh decisions like this are ridiculous. Ask musicians or actors to sign a similar deal and you would probably be laughed at.

    Still many unanswered questions. I appreciate the effort though Sam and know that you will keep us updated.

  • liquidlava says:

    anyone who doesnt agree w/ dana white on this issue is a dipsh*t, hes right!

  • JoHn says:

    dana white is hilarious, entertaining, and very smart and right on this situation, its not like video games have reruns or something like that

  • matthew says:

    Anyone who requires to insult instead of justifying their opinion would be classified as the fool in my book. A few other’s to i would suspect.

  • Carm says:

    WOW! Beginning of the end kiddies. Welcome to professional boxing. Just be glad we got to see the Best fight the Best. From here on out it will be the Best vs the Rest.

    On another note why shouldn’t these guys make money on a video game? Everyone else is. Go play the game as Joe the Garbage Man instead of Jon Fitch & see how fun it is.

  • realmmafan says:

    this is why
    mma is going to fail,
    burn out in a few years,
    and run its mainstream course!!!
    look at some of these comments
    look at what ppl think is ok
    as a fan i just want to see the best fighters fight and that is not what the ufc is doing. fitch is a good guy to have and know they will replace him with some hyped up tuf 1000 season cast member
    the ufc has more top fighters then any organization but there are a lot of top guys out there and that is what ppl want to see is the top guys fight
    so dana white stop giving us fights like ganzaga vs your dirtball brother
    maia vs a guy that you should be cutting (quarry good guy not fighter)
    so all you ppl that think that the ufc is mma listen now!!!!
    the ufc is just a promotion all they want is your money and to make as much as they can
    start reading up on mma as a whole take fighters for what they do in the ring

  • Dave says:

    I’m a little torn here. On the one hand, I can kind of see Fitch’s point. If the deal for the video game wasn’t that great, you probably would just rather not sign it than give away your rights for little payback.

    On the other hand, you gotta look at yourself and where you stand with the UFC. This is not “Mike Tyson’s Punchout” where you have a case for wanting to renegotiate at a certain point. This game might sell 10 million copies, but it’s not like your’e the name behind the game….you’re a character in the game among probalby another 100. It’s unreasonable to expect you’ll get big checks for being 1 out of 100 characters in the game.

    I don’t know. I know people hate the UFC and their hardball tactics, but these fighters need to wise up and know when to say when. The money is, and probalby never will be, made from the UFC. That money will fund other ventures and opportunities…maybe opening a gym, releasing instructionals, clothing line, etc. It’s not the MLB where you can jump to another team. Since the UFC basically built this sport, you’re going to be on the short end of the negotiating stick.

  • TDotted says:

    Fuck Dana!!!

    How much money did he just make last Saturday? And for one nights work….yeah right… not unlike himself fighters put weeks into the gym getting trained before that one nights work. So to say that Jon Fitch made $169, 000 for one night is fucking joke. It would be like Dana saying that he put on UFC 91 in one day. Grow up Dana, its a business and you should act like it, stop running your fat mouth about every business opportunity that doesn’t fall into your lap and keep working on putting on good ppv and Fight nights.

    I understand Fitch might have talked his way out of the UFC through Yahoo! or through his management and that sucks for fans, but Dana should just do his business be done. The UFC will become the a major sport, like the NFL, NBA, MLB or to a much lesser extend the NHL, once Dana White learns to be a little more reserved and not always feel he needs to go on radio or TV and make a headline. Its a business and most intelligent people get it, his actions were great when the sport was “human cockfighting”, but its becoming mainstream and Dana White this interview is very bush league.

  • LE says:

    White is such a prick! He wants to control all these fighters for the rest of their lives.

    Like Jon said, he’d do it, but WHY NOT put a 3yr or 5yr limit on it. Why does the UFC own his image for the rest of his life?

    What if Michael Jordan had signed his name/likeness away to the NBA early in his career? Before he became a star. He would be losing $100s of millions. Michael makes more off his name/likeness than he EVER made playing the game.

  • king mah mah says:

    He still didn’t really answer the question. Why was he cut? Because Dana had a problem with somebody else in his camp!? He talks about Fitch making $169,000. So what! Fitch should make that for fighting for the title. He says “where else can you make that in one night”. Well I guarantee you Fitch worked for a lot more than a day for that fight when you count all of his training, a lot more than a day. Then he actually expects people to believe that he lives on a plane 24-7! Don’t get me started on the economy comments. The UFC isn’t the one asking for a bailout like the big 3. People aren’t losing their pensions in the UFC, but oh yeah, that’s because they never had one to begin with! Meanwhile Dana continues to rake in the cash. Why doesn’t he try living on an average persons salary like $50,000 a year. I bet he couldn’t do it. Well maybe he could considering he doesn’t have a house. He just lives in a plane.

  • Tony Fennen says:

    Dana is basically saying that the fighters are LUCKY TO HAVE A JOB.

    There needs to be a fighters union… Just to protect the fighters from MMA Dictatorships like UFC

  • joey says:

    I completely agree with you Tony. A fighter’s union would be such a smart idea.

  • Lawdawg says:

    Interesting article about what the fighters are being asked to sign:
    May not be the whole story but it does give Fitch’s version of the dispute credence. No lawyer/agent in their right mind would allow their client/fighter to sign this agreement.

  • JJ Docker says:

    I’m not Dana Whites biggest fan but I’ve got to say, he’s right in this situation. And the train of thought that “Jon Fitch has been cut, anyone could be next” is wrong. Fitch is a very talented fighter but how much they are paying him vs. how well known/big of a draw he is as a fighter is unbalanced, and obviously the UFC knows this. In many ways he’s the perfect guy to cut; good enough to scare and warn other fighters about business compliance but not big enough to cost them money in losing a well-known fighter or a fan favourite.

    Dana’s right though, everything he says in this interview is correct. The economys terrible and getting worse, the work he and Lorenzo do for the UFC, in terms of quantity and commitment, is largely unappreciatted by casuals, hardcores, trainers and agents, and new promotions are never going to make it to the level on which they could pay good fighters good money, consistently. People jump on his back because they hate the whole capitalist thing and are pretentiously liberal in their thoughts but crucially not in their actions. The reality of the situation is that the UFC has built the platform on which these guys perform, pay them very well for it (£189,000 for a fight, Fitch, is incredible if you compare it to the salaries 10 years ago) and this means that the fighters get the fame, the fights, the training, whatever it is that they desire most from being an MMA fighter, whilst the UFC businessmen (Lorenzo, White, Silva etc) work their asses off 99% of the year and go unnoticed.

    I’m all against mass capitalism and monopolies in business, where big rich guys sit back while their minions run around making them millions. But this is not the UFC. Their staff list is comparitively low and most of them work hard, legitimately, most of the year. Not just to make themselves profits, which is obviosuly the aim of any business, but to progess the sport of MMA further and further each day.

  • Imbecile says:

    I think a fighters’ union would be an awful idea. I also think it is Dana White’s right to employ who he wants in his organization. Sucks for Fitch, but I can’t get my employer to change their contract terms just for me.

  • ihateemo says:

    @ tHe HEAT

    “i mean if ur boss sez sign this or ur out of a job most ppl would sgn it ”

    Those people are morons if they do. If my boss tries to make me sign something disadvantageous to my future, you can bet your ass I won’t sign it.

    Consider this a third vote for a fighters’ union.

  • ihateemo says:

    @ Imbecile

    “I can’t get my employer to change their contract terms just for me.”

    It depends who you work for doesn’t it? I work in I.T. and my last employer tried to get me to sign a clause that said if I quit their company I couldn’t work for a “similar” company for ten years.

    I told them I wouldn’t sign it and they still hired me. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t at least question the contract that is being presented to them. Lifetime rights for a small sum up front? No royalties paid in perpetuity for family members paid in the event of a fighters’ death? These aren’t unreasonable demands in light of the kind of money these guys make the UFC.

    I am still confused as to the kind of people who sign the first thing that a company offers them. Maybe that’s why so many people hate their jobs.

  • ultmma says:

    who else thinks D White was a spoiled only child? who cried if things didnt go his way?

    How much longer can this guy the face of your company?

    While he’s doing a media interview for a radio station? he wants the media to shut up! shut up!

    Yes media only cover the positives of the UFC. No sport fan would every want to hear anything bad about the company especially in this economy.

    This just in for all your financial quarries turn off MSNBC ( there just part of the media anyway) and just ask D White he’s on a private jet 24/7 so he knows alot about whats going on with the financial crisis.

  • red says:

    At the end of the day all these camps make there living off of the UFC and the UFC wont let them dictate what there terms will be. If Fintch and AKK was fighting in Dream all this time he would have never had the pay day he had when he fought GSP because they can not bring in that type of money. I am sure that that agreement had some sort of benfit to the fighters and eve ryone wants more. Maybe Dana has learned from all he mistakes that boxing made over the years and is willing to not cave for the better of his company. But for all of us it is a short term loss because when its all said and done everyone wants to come back to the big game look at Randy.

  • apapa says:

    here’s the deal…dana white has long expressed admiration for vince mcmahon and how he grew the WWE.

    essentially the UFC does the same thing, pulls in a lot of revenue while appearing to underpay fighters, making money off the fighters names but not including the fighters in the earnings.

    UFC is the top organization and will be the last organization standing in the end Dana knows this, as did Vince McMahon. During the late 90s the WWE’s dominance was “under the gun”, WCW managed to sign a number of top stars (Hogan,Savage,Hart,Nash) and for a brief period defeated the WWE regularly in the Monday night t.v. wars.

    But where is WCW now? Basically, Vince did the same thing Dana is doing…not cave to the demands of fighters, look at the brand as bigger than the fighters and wait (patiently) until your competitors go out of business.

    Does anyone seriously think Affliction is going to last ??? When they go under what option left will fighters have other than going to Japan, whose MMA scene is a far cry from where it was.

    Zuffa knows fighters will come and go, stars will be made, starts will retire
    its the nature of any sport. We all know the UFC has the best fighters but they are far past the point of signing the best fighters….if that was their biggest concern
    Fitch, Fedor, Aoki, Lindland, Barnett etc. would all be employed by Zuffa.
    Zuffa has done a fantastic job of convincing the average/casual MMA fan that any fighter NOT in the UFC isn’t good enough to be there anyway.

    As much what happened to Jon Fitch is unfair and a little ridiculous never lose sight the UFC is a business first.

    I surprised no blogs (including this one) have ever wrote extensively on the parallels between WWE and the UFC. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  • JJ Docker says:

    “who else thinks D White was a spoiled only child? who cried if things didnt go his way?”

    Regardless of whether he was or wasn’t, he’s done a hell of a job in building the UFC into a very profitable organisation in a short space of time.

  • rich says:

    Jon Fitch needs to think about this. He made $169,000 for his last fight. The UFC is the top MMA organization and where is he going to fight. Jon use your head. You are making a big mistake. EliteXC and IFL have went out of business and soon in the present economy others will follow. You are a great fighter, but you need to be a better business man.

  • rich says:

    Jon Fitch needs to think about this. He made $169,000 for his last fight. The UFC is the top MMA organization and where is he going to fight. Jon use your head. You are making a big mistake. EliteXC and IFL have went out of business and soon in the present economy others will follow. You are a great fighter, but you need to be a better business man.

  • skwirrl says:

    Don’t forget the majority of MMA fans will side with Dana White on this. Thats because by and large Ultimate Fighting fans are some of the most ignorant people on the face of the earth. They pay to see the shitty kickboxing that Dana is star of and are stupid cattle that will follow him to the ends of the Earth and couldn’t possibly understand Fitch following his principles and refusing a clause that is a slippery slope for all fighters. WAR FITCH FORM A UNION WITH YOU AS PRESIDENT

  • skwirrl says:

    war run-on sentences

  • Ian says:

    Did Dana drive to this interview in his Ferrari?

  • Nick Merra says:

    ihateemo – you are hot as hell :-)

  • Insansity says:

    @JJ docker and the rest of the mouth breathers.

    Did you read the stipulations in that contract? Are you even remotely aware of the power that grants the UFC over its fighters? They would have absolutely no legal ability to dictate their sports career for the remainder of their lives. Regardless of if they were active in the UFC or not. For any purposes what so ever. They could in theory not even describe themselves “verbally” as a former UFC champion without explicit consent from the UFC.

    There is absolutely no justification for DEMANDING on pain of being banned and publicly besmirched that all fighters sign that.

    UFC wants to be considered a legitimate sport on par with the rest of the professional athletic world. When they are outright strong arming their “athletes” to sell away their rights to every possible marketable aspect of themselves….

    for 10-20% of the profits excluding DVD’s and any form of video game….in highly dubious terms that leaves ample room for them to end up paying out far less than even that…..with no contractual obligation for oversite from the athletes……for the eternity regardless if they currently fight with the UFC…..obligated to make at least 6 public appearances with no form of compensation a year…

    You cannot possibly think this is anything but thinly veiled blackmail.

    You will be BANNED from the UFC if you DARE request any other terms and be made a public example of. Your entire GYM with be blacklisted if they DARE state the very blatant shady nature of the contract. With no regards to the fighters,the sport nor the fans. Taking advantage of a near monopoly to utterly rape your athletes might have worked well with professional wrestling. But for a “sport” striving for recognition and legitimacy its downright pathetic.


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