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.