During this week’s edition of ESPN.com’s MMA Live, Franklin McNeil of the NewarK Star-Ledger stated that UFC welterweight Josh Koscheck has not signed the infamous merchandising and licensing agreement that was one of the contributing factors for Jon Fitch’s brief release from the UFC last month.
Koscheck is a teammate of Fitch’s at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose and is also represented by the same management company, Zinkin Entertainment. The former NCAA wrestling standout is set to face Yoshiyuki Yoshida at “UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fight for the Troops” on Dec. 10 in Fayatteville, North Carolina.
McNeil expressed uncertainty as to whether Koscheck will continue fighting for the UFC following the bout’s conclusion.
“If he loses – and even if he wins – this may the last fight he has in the UFC,” said McNeil. “As far as I know, he hasn’t signed the licensing agreement and has no intention of signing it.”
At the time of Fitch’s release, UFC President Dana White denied reports that he was released for his refusal to sign a contract with the UFC that would grant the company lifetime rights to his likeness for the purpose of future video game releases. Instead, White indicated the release was the result of strained relations with Fitch’s camp.
“(The release) doesn’t have to do with Jon Fitch either,” White said during a Nov. 19 interview on “The Carmichael Dave Show” on KHTK radio in Sacramento. “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.”
During an exclusive interview with CBSSports.com last month, Koscheck refused to respond to questions pertaining to the controversy between his camp and the UFC.
“I don’t think I’m really going to comment on it too much so that’s pretty much all I’ve got to say on the whole thing,” Koscheck began to respond when asked about the highly-publicised spat. “I’m not focused on the problems of contracts or the whole AKA and Zinkin Entertainment vs. the UFC thing. I’m focused on Yoshida on Dec. 10 and that’s where my priorities are right now.”
The day after Fitch’s release, reports surfaced that the former welterweight title challenger had contacted UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and had opted to sign the video game licensing agreement. At the time, the reports also indicated that communication between the UFC and AKA/Zinkin had resumed in hopes of coming to a resolution regarding Koscheck and undefeated heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez.
Velasquez reportedly has said he has every intention of remaining with the UFC, however, McNeil’s recent comments cast a shadow of doubt regarding Koscheck’s future with the promotion.