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Jon Fitch claims Dana White is not telling the whole story about Mike Swick; accuses the UFC of strong-arm tactics during negotiations

Former UFC welterweight Jon Fitch was a guest during Thursday’s edition of Fight Network Radio with Mauro Ranallo and responded to a series of public comments that UFC president Dana White has made regarding his release from the organization.

When asked if he felt the UFC was making a power play against his trainers and managers, Fitch was clear in stating that he felt that was precisely the case.

“It’s 100 percent a power play,” Fitch told Ranallo. “Our management team is one of the toughest and best management teams out there. Honestly a lot other management teams look to us as far as what we’re doing and what we’re saying about other contracts and he knows that. So his answer is to shut down that management team.”

Fitch was adamant his belief the the UFC is taking punitive action against his trainers and managers at the American Kickboxing Academy and his agents at Zinkin Entertainment.

“They are coming out and they are trying to break us,” Fitch continued. “They are trying to break Zinkin Entertainment and get us to jump off a ship. They are trying to send a message to the rest of the (fighters) out there.”

While White has stated publicly that he has nothing against personal against Fitch and that the decision to release him was a business move against AKA and Zinkin, Fitch feels otherwise.

“It’s 100 percent personal,” the former welterweight title challenger said. “They are making an example of me because I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m the perfect example of what a UFC fighter should be; someone who goes out there ad lays it on the line (and) fights their ass off. I never say anything negative about the company. I always put a positive light on everything and anything that has happened to me. Even the s— (about) getting left at the airport from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter; not being shown on the main cards; (and) not getting some of the best fights…”

Fitch has also heard some of White’s public responses and the former Purdue wrestler feels there are some credibility issues in what the UFC president is saying. He specifically took issue with White’s position that fellow AKA member Mike Swick is siding against his teammates.

“Dana is saying ‘Oh Swick said he doesn’t care what his manager said’ or whatever,” began Fitch. “No Swick has a special deal with the video game agreements and a some of this other stuff. A lot of these guys that he says he doesn’t have a problem with are guys that got special contracts along the way. They don’t have the same contracts as everybody else. They get special things, which is fine, and I’m not even asking for those things… The only thing that we stated and stated over time is that we don’t want to sign lifetime contracts.”

Some of the most telling comments of the interview came when Fitch indicated that he and his management team were the apparent victim of strong-arm tactics during negotiations.

“(Dana White) said in the process of the threats that they were making about us signing this video game agreement,” he said. “He made those threats. ‘What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? Good luck trying to fight somewhere else.’ This was in the process of the negotiating. This is what he was saying to us.”

But Fitch’s most intriguing revelation came when he said that his management actually advised him to sign away his likeness and that it was his decision and his decision alone not to ink the deal.

“He tries to blame this and put this off on management but my management was telling me to sign this video game deal. But out of principle, I didn’t. It’s on me, not on my management.”

Editor’s Note: Five Ounces of Pain would like to thank Fight Network Radio for forwarding audio files of the Fitch interview before it aired. You can listen to Fight Network Radio every Monday through Friday from 3-4 p.m. on Sirius Satellite Radio and Hardcore Sports Radio.

  • Mike C. says:

    He pretty much has no choice but to sign. He can go make next to nothing (when factoring in sponsors) somewhere else until that org he is in dies and he has to start over. Without the exposure the UFC provides there won’t be anything for him after his fighting career is over

    Right now he needs the UFC, the UFC doesn’t need him.

  • JoHn says:

    he better be careful, this doesnt have to go this far, he should just stop[ talking and let this shit blow over and get back to negotiations

  • marc in bc says:

    He’s going to need a lot more fighters, big name fighters, to stand with him on this if he wants to get back in the UFC without signing the likeness agreement.

  • bob mc guillicutty says:

    Have not bought a PPV since the UFC pooped on Randy and Tito

  • ihateemo says:

    My respect for Fitch is at an all time high right now. He’s 100% in the right here, IMO.

    I hope that something gets worked out, he *belongs* in the UFC, but if not I hope he can land on his feet.

  • EJ says:

    Fitch for the sake of your career shut up, what in the hell are you doing?, didn’t you just see what Dana did to Randy and Huerta you have no stroke please stop it. This guy is digging his own grave, someone needs to get in his ear now and get him to take it easy because in the mood that Dana is in an interview like this will equal him being blackballed for the rest of his career by Zuffa.

  • shatner says:

    I love it when people say Fitch shut up stop talking. Don’t you people get it some people other than YOU have a backbone and speak up when things are wrong and not fair and don’t just cave in when someone in power or authority tells them hey this is the way things are going to be like it or not. Some people again besides YOU actually aren’t afraid of the consequences of their actions.They would rather be able to look themselves in the mirror than just eat shit from someone because that persons in power.

  • mattio says:

    If it was only Fitch forcing this issue, why is the entire AKA squad on the outs? Why was Christian Wellisch canned at the same time as Fitch? Dana even said AKA wanted things taken out of Cain Velasquez’s contract too.

    Dana might be telling lies, but it definitely seems Fitch was trying to spin some yarn to save face for his teammates during that interview.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I admire Fitch’s principles, but I question his judgment. For his sake I hope he is diplomatic in his public comments. If White thinks Fitch is being disrespectful, Fitch will pay a heavy price.

  • Stan the Caddy says:

    This battle is going to turn in to a war of words with the truth lying somewhere in between everybody’s stories. In the end, I really don’t care. I just want to watch MMA. As long as the UFC or any other promotion delivers a product I enjoy they’ll be getting my money.

  • portland mma says:

    “While White has stated publicly that he has nothing against personal against Fitch”

  • portland mma says:


  • armingo says:

    fitch talks out of both sides of his mouth. do you really think the IFC gave Swick a sweetheart deal and wouldnt give one to fitch? PAAALLLEEEAASSEE

  • Robby says:

    FUCK DANA WHITE AND THE UFC!!! If this is the way he treats fighters he just lost my 49.99 each month.

  • Robert says:

    armingo if you’re such an authority on the deal offered to Fitch and think he’s “talking out of both sides of his mouth” because you know the details of Dana White’s offer please elaborate or are you talking out of your Ass.

  • matthew says:

    If Fitch, or anyone for that matter, were to join a new organization in the next 5 – 10 years (and there will be others) or in japan, then they may have dramas being marketable within their merchandising campaigns. Hence preventing them substantially from getting paid what they may be worth on contract.

    Dana claims that if fighters leave the UFC why would they put them in a video game or market them in the future? Anyone who believes Dana and the UFC won’t stand in the way of those fighters from being marketed by new or existing organizations (which will directly affect the UFC’s bottom line, small or large) is delusional. No fighter at all, top or bottom tier, should sign lifetime likeness rights. Ever. No matter which organization they join.

    Fitch, good on you. Your career may pay the price for speaking out, but good on you.

  • armingo says:

    robert what would you like to know I have seen the deal firsthand

  • theflyingtsunami says:

    somehow reading this story reminds me of mel gibson in braveheart screaming, “FREEDOM!!” It may sound cliche, but i still believe in having rights whether or not i choose to exercise them or not, or whether or not they may ever materialize. if someone wants to take away those rights, and then threatens my livelihood if i don’t give them away according to the “FAVORS” that i need to comply with, then that seems a bit unethical to me. and before everyone says, “they’re a private co./ don’t work for them, etc. etc….i agree w/ that, but only to a point. saying something like that is only valid if you have another company or organization to go to. otherwise, if you only have pretty much ONE choice, then that option sort of becomes moot and meaningless.

    can i choose then to not be a fighter – sure. but how logical or practical is that? especially in terms of the age, training, money and lifelong dedication spent towards being a pro fighter. which is why i say that………..

    i cannot wait for the day that another promotion is able to truly challenge the ufc so that when they pull their strongarm tactics on the fighters, they can actually say “f*ck u dana” and go elsewhere and really have a place to earn a living. for all the bad crap spoken about the other organizations, it seems they at least didn’t squeeze the lifeblood out of their fighters just so they could earn every red cent from them. to go back to something very relevant that luke thomas posted in one of the many fitchgate stories: he asked several ?’s re: why the contract needed to be exclusive, why is it absolutely nonnegotiable, why cut fitch completely instead of just out of the game & is this more personal w/ zinkin than w/ fitch himself? the truth is, there really are no answers to these questions that can justify the lifetime issue and the nonpayment to the fighter, including upon his death. & it does not matter to me that currently no org. pays their fighters for dvd’s or the like; they should & hopefully will in the future if the fighters get a union or something similar in terms of banding together.

    again, it goes back to freedom and rights. the ufc is categorically trying to take them away, and b/c they are the only real game in town, they can pretty much force the fighter’s hand if they want to eat & continue to live. you can argue all u want that they (the ufc) have the right to do this, and while that may be true, it does not necessarily make it right or fair or ethical.

    i hope ea sports makes a video game and asks fitch to be in it and then let the ufc sue and have their contract declared illegal. that would be the sweetest revenge. i know fitch had to capitulate b/c of monetary reasons b/c there just aren’t too many places to go at this juncture. fitch may never have another video offer, but the fact that he could & now cannot exercise that right is the main crux of the problem for me. the pt. is giving up a right that you have as a person and as an employee of a company and giving up that right due to pressure of not being able to thrive b/c there isn’t enough competition. at some pt. what may seem like a small silly video game can lead to larger issues and rights that slowly are devalued by strongarm tactics.

    so much for freedom of autonomy. as fitch said, swick has a “special” deal for a video game so he’s not affected the same way as fitch is; and who knows how many other fighters are exempt from the ufc’s special brand of “offers they can’t refuse.”

    maybe it’s time for a ufc – vegas tea party……w/ the aka boys leading the way. :-)

  • anomie says:

    Some of the talk here is absolutely crazy. People saying that fighters should sign lifetime rights? No one here would sign a contract with the company that they work for giving up their likeness rights. Here I’ll give you a one year contract, but after that no guarantees. On top of that, if you leave (or I cut you/decide not to resign you) I keep your soul… Good Luck!

    This gives fighters absolutely no right to go to another organization and sign into the same type of merchandising agreements that Zuffa offers or anything that could ever compete with Zuffa. Because Zuffa would not sign the rights away, just to F with the fighters.

    And if anyone has read either Tito or Chuck’s book, they both mention that when Zuffa took over, they were given managers that were friends of Dana. Hey, thats smart, let my personal business interests be determined by someone who is friends with the organization. Who do you think the manager is working for? You or the company?

    Anyone who would do this is an idiot! And anyone who thinks fighters should do the same thing, is also an idiot!

  • Justin Van Hook says:

    By all means Armingo, enlighten us as to why Fitch is wrong in this. If you have seen the deal then why is everyone else wrong? Fitch has clearly seen the deal as well and he didn’t like it so why is he wrong and why are you right? His deal and Swick’s deal are obviously very different, unless you’ve seen them both you don’t know what you are talking about. Please tell us what you know so that we might all know.

    My only questioin to you is this: How do you know Swick does not have special language in his contract that Fitch was not offered? I’m really not trying to start shit I just want you to back up what you are saying and I am genuinely curious as to what the differences in their contracts actually are.

  • William Melan says:

    Dana i fyou ever read this I would loove nothing more than to show these city fucks what a small town redneck that has nothing to lose is all about. Lets fight and lets give a show for the world. Do a “so you think you are a ufc fighter” series….. think about it


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