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Many lessons to be learned from the Jon Fitch crisis

Jon Fitch is back in the UFC after a 24-hour window of free agency and my faith in the sport is restored. That’s correct, I had lost a little faith in MMA after watching a fighter with an 8-1 record inside the Octagon get cut.

I lost a little faith watching a guy disposed of like a piece of trash even though he had been nothing but a professional during his Zuffa tenure.

I lost a little faith seeing a hundred-million dollar company take out their anger towards the American Kickboxing Academy and Zinkin Entertainment on poor old Jon Fitch.

Sports is a business and MMA is no different than professional baseball, football, or basketball. However, the unfortunate situation involving Fitch being let go from the UFC for reasons unrelated to competition served only to momentarily compromise the integrity of sport.

The Fitch firing never should have happened, but it did. The dismissal was too public to take back but given the circumstances, the best scenario as far as a remedy has now transpired. Fitch is back where he belongs and cooler heads have prevailed with both sides talking again in hopes of averting a further crisis.

Despite the situation being worked out, some fans are not happy and I’ve come across e-mails and forum messages blasting Fitch for allegedly comprising his principles. I have a simple response to that line of thought, which is: Are you kidding me?

Let’s remember, the reason why so many fans were upset in the first place was because there wasn’t a strong secondary option for Fitch. What made the cut hurt was that a fighter of Fitch’s caliber wouldn’t be able to continue on a stage that could rival the one that the UFC provides. The uproar over the situation wasn’t about Fitch leaving the UFC; it was about him no longer being in it. So now he’s back and we should all feel a sense of relief.

If there was a strong competitor to the UFC, then Fitch wouldn’t have been released in the first place. If this situation hadn’t been resolved in this manner, Fitch would have continued fighting but would have done so in front of less people and for less money. Fitch didn’t deserve such a fate. This isn’t a Randy Couture or Tito Ortiz situation; are people not forgetting that Fitch didn’t want to leave the UFC in the first place? Fitch was angry but he was angry about no longer being in the UFC. Do people not realize he had the rug pulled out from underneath him? Leaving the UFC was the last thing he wanted so cut the guy a break.

And before anyone suggests Fitch compromised his integrity by rejoining an organization that treated him so poorly, please bear in mind that we do not know what terms he is returning under. For all we know, Fitch may have received financial remuneration in exchange for cooperating with the UFC in order to help make all of the bad press go away. And the licensing deal he initially didn’t want to sign that he has now signed? How do we know that what he supposedly signed yesterday was the original deal he had been offered?

Sadly, we’ll likely never know the true terms that Fitch is returning under. If the UFC made it worth Fitch’s while to take them back, it’s more than likely that all parties have been sworn to secrecy as not to give other agents and managers future leverage.

Fitch is playing ball now and in doing so, he’s supporting the UFC like he always has by allowing this patch of horrible PR to be viewed from a rear view mirror. But while this situation is in the past, the fact that it never should have happened in the first place cannot be overlooked. While the UFC’s frustration in working with AKA and Zinkin had been building for months, the decision to cut Fitch came off like a knee-jerk reaction.

While listening and reading some of UFC president Dana White’s emotionally charged diatribes, I did not get the feeling that what was taking place was calculated. It was madness without any sort of method and that is unacceptable from a company with a market cap as big as the UFC’s. And don’t tell me how other companies in MMA have acted unprofessionally in the past because the UFC has always strived for something better.

White’s tirades coupled with the news that Fitch worked out his UFC issues with Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta instead of White has prompted many to speculate that Dana was solely responsible for the situation. There’s a theory that Fertitta performed damage control yesterday and cleaned up Dana’s mess. While that may be the case, I’m not so sure. Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think a company makes a politically charged decision such as cutting an 8-1 fighter over a management dispute without consulting its majority ownership.

But perhaps I’m not the one who is naive. To suggest that Ferttita had no advanced warning of Fitch’s impending release is a suggestion that defies logic. He had to have known. I don’t buy this notion that White is the sole power broker in the UFC, as my theory has been for quite some time that White is nothing more than attack dog. Dana does all the neccessary dirty work while the Fertittas continue to come off smelling like roses so they can walk the streets of Vegas with their heads held high. If true, it’s an effective strategy and a strategy that must be considered as a possibility when trying to crucify White for what transpired this week. Zuffa utilzied the good cop/bad cop dynamic with Fertitta and White while trying to negotiate the PRIDE buyout so it wouldn’t surprise me if this was yet again the case. To only hold White accountable would be irresponsible.

But I am not making excuses for White. His radio appearance on “The Carmichael Dave Show” earlier this week was not one of his proudest moments. White was angry and stressed out and in no condition to be doing any public speaking. At times, he came across as a man on the verge of losing it. He’s no doubt overworked right now but that’s nobody’s fault but his own.

To hear him complain about the sacrifices he makes on a daily basis with the expectation that his employees should repay him by going along to get along is insulting. Does he not understand that he isn’t the only person in his company making sacrifices? Zuffa is understaffed and everyone in that company that I’ve ever encountered is nothing short of a go-getter. And how can White be so flippant about the sacrifices that a fighter makes on a daily basis? The injuries (short-term and long-term); the toll on a fighter’s personal life brought about by long training camps; weight management and not being able to enjoy food; and the overall lack of security (no health benefits provided by employer, no 401K, no worker’s compensation, etc.) is a lifestyle all successful fighters must endure.

Look, no one has to be a fighter and the life of a fighter is one that individuals choose on their own. But they are making the choice and White has become a multi-millionaire thanks to that choice. White needs to go see a shrink so that he can stop using public forums as a therapy pit because he doesn’t have an exclusivety on hard work and sacrifice. When Dana White travels the world, he does so in a private plan while the rest of us poor schmucks fly coach. Your life isn’t easy Dana but there is no use in venting in public because you’re not going to evoke much sympathy from working class stiffs like us.

In addition to working on stress relief, White also needs to bring in someone to handle talent relations. UFC Vice President Joe Silva has the title, but he is more of a matchmaker and talent scout. When it comes to face-to-face negotiations, it’s White who is at the forefront when it comes to the bigger deals.

From my perspective, a man that is as emotional as White is ill-equipped to handle the role of chief UFC negotiator. The UFC is a business and the daily struggles they encounter are not unique. What is unique is how White oftentimes decides to air his laundry in such a public fashion. Zuffa would be well-advised to dip into the ranks of mainstream sports and find an experienced chief negotiatior that has worked in the NBA, NFL, NHL, or Major League Baseball. These major dustups with the likes of B.J. Penn, Randy Couture, and now Fitch are not helping the sport grow and eventually it could come back to haunt the UFC.

Additionally, the UFC should spend the money to hire Wall Street executives who can tag-team with White in regards to business development. If White learned the art of delegation, he might not actually have to spend so much time away from home and might actually be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The problem is that it’s a matter of trust. White simply doesn’t trust anyone else to perform many of the tasks he’s performing. But this isn’t 2001 anymore; the UFC has arrived. It’s time to run it like a Fortune 500 company and not a niche business.

But as bad as this situation was, there is one silver lining, which is that Fitch is going to be a bigger star because of this. Sadly, he received more exposure over this debacle than he did when he took Georges St. Pierre to a five round decision in what was one of the gutsiest performances I’ve witnessed from a fighter. Who knew that it would take something such as getting fired to help Fitch finally become a household name?

46 COMMENTS
  • obamasaidknockyouout says:

    nice article Sam.

  • Jameel says:

    This article is right on the money, Dana doesn’t have the temperment or the personal skills to be dealing with fighters or their management. He’s got this sense of no one can touch me, because I’ve made the UFC what it is. No one would no who Dana White is, if his two best friends, weren’t multibillionaires, who decided to let him have some say in a company they purchased after some prodding by Dana. It may have been his plan all along, let them pay for it and I’ll make it mine. I think in the future, he’s going to do or say something and the UFC is going to suffer for it.

  • goodguy says:

    Sadly, at least as far as I’m concerned, you are correct in your last statement. I wil be a LOT more interested in Mr. Jon Fitch’s career and stay in the UFC now that all of this has transpired. Damn, before you know it, I will be watching TMZ and subscribing to People!!!

  • Daniel says:

    As soon as I saw that Fertitta swooped in to put out this fire, I thought “tbis is such an obvious case of good cop bad cop”. Sam, you hit the nail on the head. I expect to see a Dana meltdown/implosion some time soon. I think this guy seems to be spinning out of control. He has every right to have an ego, but not at the expense of others. Dude is out of control.

  • Jeff Allen says:

    dead on, Sam. I think White’s persona, initially, was intended to move fans and potential fans to the UFC . . his brashness, contentious relationships with fighters and blue-collar-guy turned millionaire. I supposed it worked; he, too, like Couture and Liddell were and still are UFC icons and attracted a certain demographic. White has become a cartoon of himself, a character in the story that no longer serves a purpose but is rather a marring feature on the UFC as it extends to the mainstream. He shouldn’t be negotiating with fighters, management teams or gyms. This is the job of a rational, articulate, pr-aware, market-atom-splitting professional. Right now, I honestly can’t stop thinking about that ridiculous show that Spike aired that attempted to document the much-ballyhooed sparring match between White and Tito Ortiz. IT made Tito look smart and aware of his occupation: the sacrifices, payoffs, the unexpected injuries,etc. It made Tito look like “President” material. For now, I’m glad John Fitch is back.

  • Stan the Caddy says:

    I’ m usually a pretty big Zuffa and Dana White supporter but from an outsiders prospective looking in, he certainly seemed to have crossed a new boundary. His actions seem like those of a person with a ton of pressure on his shoulders. Maybe business or personal problems are mounting, maybe he’s gone back to hitting the bottle; who knows. Good to see Fertitta pull in the reigns a bit though and get this ugly situation resolved.

  • Ft. Dub says:

    It is an obvious case of good cop, bad cop, but the real question is whether or not Dana was supposed to be this “bad” of a cop in the first place. Fertitta had no place to go but good cop once DW was so over the top.

    Good points Sam, this is a large professional business, or at least it should be. DW is not CEO material, he’s a hustler/promoter. He rags on boxing, but he acts like a fake ass white Don King with more F bombs.

  • Sam, I love your writing, but I’ve got to disagree with you on this one. You say your faith is restored in the business, but what really happened here? A guy was told to sign a lifetime likeness agreement or get fired, he got fired, and now after signing said agreement he’s back on the payroll. A day ago there was talk of the UFC brass (namely Dana White) treating fighters poorly, with little respect and strong-arm tactics to get what they want. How can everything be OK again today? The only thing that happened was that the strong-arm tactics worked out in the end, and that a great fighter is back where he belongs. It wasn’t a case of cooler heads prevailing, it was the man giving in to they were trying to force him to do in the beginning.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was upset for Fitch because not only was he not going to get the fights he deserves, but he’s also losing money out of his pocket (it’s likely nobody else would stamp his meal ticket). I’m VERY happy to see Fitch back in the UFC, and I won’t question him in the least for doing it. The guy is a great talent, and being anywhere else just wouldn’t work, due to the lack of talent. I think this is just another example of the UFC treating someone in a way that they shouldn’t (ie Randy and Tito, although they’ve both got their own issues).

    It’s crazy that a day ago Dana was saying that this wasn’t about a contract, or John Fitch, but that it was the AKA and Zinkin management that he had beef with. Then we find out that after the contract was signed, everything is peachy keen. WAIT A MINUTE, what about AKA and Zinkin? Are they no longer a problem? I don’t recall having seen reports that Fitch parted ways with either group, so I certainly don’t see that as the resolution. Dana has also said in interviews that greed ruined boxing… and just a few days ago, a fighter was thrown to the curb because he wouldn’t sign a lifetime likeness agreement for free. Pot to kettle, pot to kettle.. come in kettle!

  • Brandon says:

    Great Article Sam, actually I think this has been the best one that I’ve read on this site to date.

  • Kuch says:

    Sam – Good read, but I think there is a lot more to this story and the reason(s) it went this far than what we know and/or are privy to. I often wonder if the presumptions made by internet pundits who zealously dive into these stories don’t exacerbate the situation by fueling innuendos/ speculations and putting undue pressure on the parties involved. Dana’s not perfect and I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that, but I also think people are quick to persecute him given the opportunity.

  • truth says:

    Dana is so insincere. He’ll talk up a fighter, how great they are, then flip around in a second. “He made $169,000 for that night for that fight. Where’s he going to make that kind of money in one night?” Yeah, fighting a P4P top fighter GSP for a title. You overpaid him? He therefore deserves getting screwed on a totally separate business deal. “Partners”?

  • mojorisin24 says:

    Fair, level-headed analysis, Sam. Fantastic, keep up the good work

  • JOe K. says:

    The UFC should take a step back and start running this like a sport again. They should stop trying to micromanage everyone if nothing else for a short period of time to give everyone room to breath.

    Pay a reasonable rate, positively build fighters image, express gratitude towards fighters and treat them as commodities as opposed to disposable assets.

    If this keeps going as it is Brock Lesnar will be a WWE champ under the UFC banner.

  • Evadmils says:

    Good article, nice piece of writing.

  • jimbo says:

    The problem could have been averted if fighters were asked to sign the contract before development of the game. Plain and simple. I’m sure there are x amount of fighters in the game If Fitch didn’t want to or was told not to sign they could have just given the opportunity to another fighter.

    I may be playing devils advocate here. It sounds like Fitch’s management was thinking this game is done. His character is finished so we try and squeeze some extra money out of the UFC because if they don’t pay up its going to cost even more to go and remove and replace fitch’s character form the game at this point.

    Unless the deal and what AKA wanted are disclosed we will never know the truth.

    Think about it. Plenty of fighters have signed off on it can it be that bad of a deal?

    No matter what putting it in the public was poor business on both sides.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Sam:

    Hopefully there was some hyperbole in the statement that the outcome restored your faith in the sport. The situation with Fitch was not as dramatic as the year-long dispute between Couture and UFC, and I don’t recall that causing a crisis of faith. And to suggest that White is melting down or spinning out of control is equally melodramatic. White and UFC have Fitch back under contract, and it appears that Fitch signed what UFC demanded. Message sent and received, I’d say. As they say on the mean streets of the big city, “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”

    Editor’s Note: You’re completely overlooking the fact that Couture tried to LEAVE the UFC. The UFC tried to FIRE Fitch. BIG difference.

  • ihateemo says:

    @ Neil

    “The only thing that happened was that the strong-arm tactics worked out in the end, and that a great fighter is back where he belongs. It wasn’t a case of cooler heads prevailing, it was the man giving in to they were trying to force him to do in the beginning.”

    Like Sam says, do you think that Fitch signed the exact agreement White shoved in his face originally just to get back into the UFC? Or do you think the Fertitas sweetened the deal a little bit?

    If the former is the case, then your point stands, but if it’s the latter then Fitch taking a stand may have benefitted him more in the long run.

  • dunlop says:

    I thought it was a good article, but I disagreed with mainly everything with the exception of White should try out some delegation.

  • alkatraz says:

    I DON’T GET IT.THE UFC IS WORTH 2 BILLION DOLLARS AND IT SEEMS THAT DANA DOESN’T WANT TO SHRE THE WEALTH.THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BUILD A BIG BUISSNESS.PEOPLE WANT TO GET PAID. THE FIGHTERS SACRAFICE ALSO.THIS IS THEIR LIFE.DANA WANTS THEM TO SHOW LOYALTY AND JUST LISTEN.BUT HE HAS NO PROBLEM DROPPING THEM FROM THE UFC IN A SECOND.SO THEY HAVE TO DO WHATS BEST FOR THEM AND THEIR FAMILY.SEEMS LIKE WHITE DOESNT WANT THE FIGHTERS TO MAKE MONEY JUST FOR HIMSELF AND THE BIG BOSSES.HE DRIVES AROUND IN PRIVATE JETS AND FANCY CARS AND THE FIGHTERS (WELL SOME OF THEM) HAVE ROOM MATES AND NEED TO FIGHT JUST TO PAY A SMALL BILL.NOT FAIR IN MY BOOK.IT HAS TO BE A LITTLE MORE EVEN.DANA IS THE ONE WHO IS ALWAYS BRAGGING ABOUT HIS PAY-PAR VIEW NUMBERS AND GATE TOTALS.STOP TALKING SHIT ABOUT THE PAYDAYS$

  • Itshisownfault says:

    Few things:

    First the UFC is not a publicly traded company so they have no market capitalization. They are privately held.

    Second, I agree that it’s good for Fitch to be back on the biggest stage. Hopefully this won’t affect his performance.

    Last, one of the mad genius things about Dana’s reign is his ability to get his company media coverage. If the old adage holds true, no press is bad press, then Dana’s doing something right. However, I’m not so sure it’s calculated and agree with you Sam that he’s stressed and with his EMO personality we see that results in some sh!tty things.

  • jj says:

    Great article.

    I’ve thought for a long time now that the Fertita’s need to be reducing White’s role in the company, or at least shuffle him behind the scenes ala Gary Shaw.

    His temper is ridiculous and his language is god awful. I can handle bad language, no problem, but when he’s out there saying “fuck every fighter out there and his grandma” it does nothing but further enforce the bad stereotypes that people associate with competitive fighting. When people see the president of a company act so foolishly I have little doubt that negative image is then projected onto the fighters, which they don’t deserve.

    When has such a large company been run by someone with such a bad temper that it often causes reckless damage? Even Affliction got rid of Crazy Beard. Sure Dana got them this far, but it’s time to retool his role and get him and his egg breaking ways away from the cameras. White is just as obsessed with running the UFC as he is with his own celebrity status, which doesn’t seem to be a good mix.

  • Austin says:

    Sam. I’m beyond pissed at the UFC. I really liked dana white until this. I thought he was hilarious. But I now see the dark side. Any chance you could call up Rear Naked Radio in dallas and talk with BDH about this. I’d be happy to hear this rant on the air.

    Editor’s Note: Austin, funny you should mention that. I will be on RNR tomorrow.

  • Dino says:

    Good article.

    I think it’s time someone took Dana to task. He will run UFC into the ground if he continues to manage in this way. I find him nothing but a foul mouthed control freak who’s position has gone to his head.

    I don’t like the way he handled Tito, I don’t like the way he handled Randy, and now I don’t like the way he handled John Fitch.

    I stayed up and watched a whole 2 or 2 1/2 hour show one night just with the hope of seeing Tito beat Dana to a pulp in a boxing match. Turns out it was just Dana’s propoganda and his attempt to make Tito look like the bad guy so we “could all see what kind of guy Tito really is”. All that showed me was that Dana is just a big baby who is using his position to punish those who don’t agree with him.

    I love the calibre of fighters in the UFC but I just wish these professionals had somewhere else to go and make money so they wouldn’t have to deal with someone as unprofessional as Dana White.

  • Dedwyre says:

    Good article. I think I agree with about everything. Part of me wants to say that Fitch should have just signed the deal right off the bat; it’s unlikely that a contract such as the one that caused all of this conflict could hold up in court, so should the day have come when Fitch would have had reason to breach it, it probably wouldn’t have been hard to do. But I didn’t figure that out right away; I had to have it explained to me. Likewise, I doubt Jon Fitch thought about it when he was asked to sign the thing in the first place. I don’t hold any of this against him.

  • RJA says:

    Good article sam.I will say though if it is a case of good cop bad cop then dana really is a team player rather than a loose canon.Because i think it makes dana look like a fool…one of his best p4p fighters whent over his head because he was being unreasonable.Or maybe your right and he just really doesn’t give a sht how people see him,i guess that wouldn’t suprise me either.

  • RJA says:

    Oh and dino,i understand your frustration on how things seem to be manipulated by dana.But we probally wouldn’t be chating right now if it wasn’t for him.

  • Cathedron says:

    I know everyone wants to think that Dana’s losing it, but I think he did exactly what Lorenzo wanted him to do from the beginning. People have been calling it “bad cop/good cop” and I think that’s exactly right. They grew up together. They’ve worked together for decades. I really think they know what they are doing. Lorenzo uses Dana like a blunt instrument to say and do the outrageous things he wants said and done but without taking the heat for it.

    Dino: True, White was just trying to make Tito look bad with that Bad Blood special, but remember that White used to train boxing. Not only that, Dana used to spar (boxing only) with Tito and Chuck back when he managed them. Multiple people have said that Dana routinely beat Tito when they sparred. Tito’s boxing has improved, but it’s still the weakest aspect of his game. I think Dana would have beaten him, but either way, Tito did the smart thing by pulling out. Tito would have looked extremely bad by A) showing how weak his boxing is or B) beating up someone who isn’t a professional fighter (and possibly both could have happened). It was a no-win situation for Tito. Dana talking shit about him is nothing new, so nothing was changed by Tito pulling out. Why Tito challenged Dana is beyond me. There was no way for him to come out of it looking good.

  • cormac says:

    Great piece , spot on Sam. Im just lost for words on the whole situation , i think the UFC needs some serious changes in its organisation structure.

  • matthew says:

    My issue never was that he was out of the UFC as i believe he would survive without them. Sure, he may have to go to japan or take a pay cut, fight in smaller shows and train other fighters. But he would survive. Only that the UFC asked for something they were not entitled to. Lifetime Likeness Rights. As a result of not getting that, they fired Fitch. The UFC got what they wanted. Fitch may have recieved some type of financial compensation for it, but still compromised. Until further reports clarify the new deal (which i speculate is the same one offered, with a few more dollars thrown in, but still lifetime likeness rights) I will still believe there has been a compromise and the UFC strong arm tactics prevailed. Like others have said, we probably won’t ever see that contract so all comments are speculative. Mine included.

    As you say though, Fitch is back in the UFC and that is a great thing for MMA and for Fitch.

    But realistically, this whole thing was a disgraceful mess.
    Well done Dana and Lorenzo. Credibility -1. (IMO) John Fitch credibility -1. The Fans respect for the UFC – 100. Thank you all for blemishing a great sport with predominantly great people in it with your stupid antics. Now release the terms of the deal you fools. So that we may see who’s credibility really needs to take a -1.

  • EJ says:

    I’m surprised that people still don’t get Dana and Lorenzo’s relationship after all this time, remember back to the Randy mess who was there when the UFC exposed Couture about lying about his pay?.

    Dana and Lorenzo are basically the same person while White is loud and brash, Lorenzo is more laid back both but of them are cutthroat businessmen. Dana while powerful doesn’t have the stroke to just release fighters without getting the ok from his bosses, he didn’t just decide to release the AKA fighters overnight it was all a plan to send a message. Which is exacly what they did, do you think there is one guy or camp that won’t sign the deal now?, and just like that Zuffa once again shows that it’s their way or the highway. Fitch ended up signing the exact same deal that he supposedly didn’t want to sign and was embarrased in front of the mma masses.

    Call it good cop, bad cop or just smart business tactics but Dana and Lorenzo don’t make moves without the others backing they’ve proven that before with the Tito situation. The idea that the UFC has to change their business model is silly and stupid when they just pulled off another example of why their way is very succesful and that won’t change because a couple of internet bloggers got emotional over it.

  • Mike says:

    The issue I still have is in the “strong arm tactics” that were used. Whether the Fertittas sweetened the deal for Fitch or not, this can only draw into Dana’s ego in the long run. These tactics and the good/bad cop situation can only get you so far. After a while, someone is going to break the cycle. You can push all you want but in the end you will start getting pushed back.

    Personally, I believe this is the beginning of the break. You could tell by the way Dana sounded. He went from bad cop to insane cop in a heart beat. That’s not good for anyone. As far as I was concerned, Dana pushed it a bit too far this time which is what initially upset me the most.

    One of these days, when one of these issues floats up to the surface again, Dana is going to push the wrong button. This isn’t a relief and a sign of restored faith. As far as I can tell, this is where the break starts. Dana White or the Fertittas need to look in the mirror and stop the bleeding before it gets worse. Step back, collect your thoughts and figure out a way to go about business before you really start to damage the image of this fine sport.

  • stevefiji says:

    Sometimes Sam, you really nail it, sometimes you write total garbage…I finally figured out the Sam Caplan article predictor. If you write about fighters on a personal level, actual fights and the breakdown of what transpired or about the databases of fighters and possible scenarios involving organizations and/or match-ups, you shine and you have few industry peers. If/when you write about macro event implications and particularly business management editorials you seriously come off well below amateurish. This diatribe about what the UFC should do would not even make my poo poo stick to it as its printed value would be less than that of toilet paper.

    The UFC should do this and that…Dana should do this or that…. Dana is not appropriate….hahahaha!

    Dude, Dana built a 500 million dollar business from a 3 million dollar tomato can with a cauliflower ear. Sure he had Zuffa money but he did it. Sam, what did you do, except build a website that has 99.9% of its readers ONLY because of what Dana did? That fact is just hilarious if we look at this in the proper perspective. Should Dana tell you to stop writing idiot business management editorials and stick to technical and fighter roll call type articles?

    Fitch got bitchslapped, made an example of and then he put his tail between his legs and signed the next day. T-shirt guy and ever future wannabe learned a lot this week. That they are NOT relevant and that the UFC dictates. Fighters learned with Randy and now with Fitch, if you wanna play, we play hardball and until expansion and universal legislation and greater economic security have been achieved, be damn grateful that you can kick someone’s as and be paid well for it instead of going to jail or go fight on Affliction 3 or 4 if they ever happen :-)

    Sure Dana is emotional; sure he does some things w/o enough forethought… but name a person who went up against him who beat him? Name a faster growing major sports franchise ……ever? Dana is the sum total of his parts and they have good and bad but they are supremely effective and he has some of the most amazing instincts I have ever seen and have help to give us an amazing new sport that is going into the stratosphere.

    Everyone wants to be more, but we all need to know our strengths. Golberg should 100% stay away from the color commentary and Sam Caplan should stick with technical and roster-based MMA reporting before attempting anymore high comedy.

    Cheers Mates

    p.s. This site is so badly in need of an editorial position contrary to the existing core contributors. It’s like a bunch of whiny Democrats when Reagan was ‘takin names and kickin ass’ and so they had to nitpick on little stuff and try and make an issue (and no I am not Republican) but I am able to discern ‘when it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

  • Ray C says:

    I have been reading this website for over a year now, it is awesome! I have never commented on anything, BUT I had to speak up about this article. I agree with everything in here! Except Sams comparisons to NFL, NHL, NBA , MLB. The big difference there, is they all have a union! MMA/UFC or whatever you want to call it needs a union NOW!!! Or sooner than later. THAT is the only way they can try and oppose the Dana Whites, AND the Vince McMahons, that try and extort the fighters/entertainers we all love!

    Are we as guilty as them for buying their PPVS???

    Someone…ie Randy Coture…Please step up and unionize these boyz…if not not for the money (like Dana) but for the love of the game!!!

  • RJA says:

    I guess stevefigi would just assume everybody kiss dana’s behind and praise him for the great job he’s done.Well i agree that he’s done a great job and think every educated MMA fan realizes that.But when you see someone loose there cool like dana clealy did,of course people are going to nitpic about his business ethics.And steve that is the point of these websites,to discuss these topics.So maybe you should go to another site.Or better yet start your own blog since you seem to know it all.

  • stevefiji says:

    RJA “kiss Dana’s ass”? I said we should back off and worry about more important stuff other than Dana’s hardball stance and that’s kissing ass???…in what language??? when the well schooled and experienecd conglomerate consultant in business policy author says we are better served replacing him? a guy who daily seems to end up with a TKO in every arena he competes????

    And I should go to another blog..because I don’t want to ‘nitpick’ with the boys as u so eloquently put it. Hahahaha. It seems RJA that you feel that an opinion that is drawn from facts has no relevancy here in these comments… And that those like yours and the author’s which convey flawed thinking are not opened to be challenged? Good one buddy! That will make you a smarter person at the end of the day to listen only to one critically distorted side of things,

    These forums are all great…call Dana out and you get accolades, point out where the naysayers have no basis and they all say to post on Sherdog or somewhere else. Hahahaha! Not one commenter that agreed with Sam truly realizes that Dana is doin it his way, more sucessfully than any of them could ever do and that this forum ONLY exists today because of his talents and they are idiots to think he’s going anywhere because some board poster is mad at Dana throwing his weight around. Its MMA guys, survival of the fittest.and Dana fights more often and still has a better reord than Fedor. That is not kissing ass, show me where he got beat while making his company grow 165times larger then when he bought it, then challenge his tactics. Deep thinkers this lot, eh?

  • Mark Gellegan says:

    Very Good Article.

    Thank you Sam.

  • RJA says:

    steve it was your p.s statement that i thought was a little uncalled for.i’ts one thing putting in your 2 cents,but your comments were very argumentitive.And i gather from what you say thats what you enjoy doing,and thats fine.But can you please shorten your arguments.Just make them short and sweet,i get board easily.

    p.s you must be canadian eh?

  • king mah mah says:

    I think stevefiji is Dana Whites screen name.

  • king mah mah says:

    P.S. great article Sam.

  • RJA says:

    No sht you might be right king…..but how do you explain the eh?Just trying to through us off i bet.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Sam:

    The situtation involving UFC and Couture was different in the sense that it was much more significant. Couture is one of the most beloved fighters of all time, a repeat champion, and the current heavyweight champion when he tried to leave. Like Fitch, he felt he wasn’t being treated fairly under his contracts and went public. Unlike the situation with Fitch, Couture didn’t resolve his dispute for a year, and there were some criticisms back and forth and a lot of bad pr for White and UFC. Despite that, UFC and MMA continued to flourish. The situation with Fitch wasn’t even close to that level of significance. Even if Fitch hadn’t signed a contract, the sport would have been fine.

  • DamonO says:

    Sorry, a little off topic and more of a reply to another’s comments.

    Personally, I believe that the whole situation with Couture leaving the UFC and coming back was for marketing purposes. I may be wrong but hear me out. Look how everything worked out. Couture comes back to the UFC in time for a big payout. Yea he signed a three fight contract but all the hype behind him leaving and coming back built an even larger fan base for him and the UFC. Couture is smart and knows where the money is. Even if he retires again without ever fighting Fedor, he will still have a home with the UFC doing something, commentary etc. Not that he needs it as he is a pretty good business man as it is. Besides, why would he want to fight for an organization in Affliction when they honestly won’t make the cut. Yea he may make one big paycheck before they go under but that’s not worth it when you can fight for the UFC again multiple times. I don’t think that the UFC ever did him wrong. I believe that there’s a lot more going on behind the MMA scene than any of us know. I have one word for you MARKETING.

  • DamonO says:

    Also, Dana White has a lot more to do than peruse open forums. Do you honestly think that he would come on here and look for posts that are against him? He doesn’t need to explain himself about all of his antics. He’s a businessman and that is what he does. He’s successful for a reason and a huge asset to not only the UFC but MMA all around the world.

  • Lyle Howard Seave says:

    >and my faith in the sport is restored.

    Excellent article except for this part above.

    Why was it restored? Nothing has changed.
    Most of the MMA sites had no guts and called it business as usual at least you called it like it is. I just dont see why your faith is restored. Everything is in place for this to replay itself over and over again.

    Everyone one of these events reminds us that Fedor is not wrong for not signing with the UFC anything past one fight. Why should he? He fought the best of his period (except Barnett), he is rich and can still make a few bucks, he has lots of leverage, he is revered in his home and loved in Asia.
    Why would he give away all the leverage he has? For the glory of having a UFC belt even though its HW division is pathetic and the only fighter worth a damn is Nog (when did he last fight? Last year?)

    The Ali Act should apply to MMA as well, let’s hope someone is taking this all down.
    There is no reason why it shouldnt be forced to use rules which were in place to protect athletes.

    Blaming Fitch isnt fair because he isnt an international name, therefore he can only fight in the US. He has no choice.

    As for the nauseating nuthuggers, youre like the douchebags who wear your 40$ Nike hats. You are label seekers. It makes you feel better to wear, eat, listen or own something taht is popular. The UFC is popular, therefore youre McDonalds dayjob is forgottena adn you fell validation.
    Im sure you go to casinos and trash talk the losers: “Yeah bitch, dealer oooooowns your ass, suckah. The house rulez!!!”

  • mike wolfe says:

    Your’re right, Lyle. The UFC stinks, everybody who likes it stinks, and everybody who ever disagreed with you stinks. Now go back to porn sites or something.

  • MMA SKOOL™ says:

    Good article Sam.

    But the title or headline of the article should be “Fitch Reinstated. Lessons Learned.” Or something like that. The way its currently titled, you almost have to already know he was brought back.

    This is about the only MMA site I have time to read, and with the new format I like to skim over the front page at all the stories. (Also, I’m only stopping by about every other day.) Just like CNN.com, SI.com, or another magazine/news site, titles of stories are important.

    Thanks!

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