John Fitch joined Gabriel Morency on SIRIUS 98,
Hardcore Sports Radio and talked about his surprising release from the UFC.
According to Fitch, the UFC has cut him over a dispute concerning the
lifetime ancillary rights of Fitch's likeness in videogames.
"This all transpired over about two or three days, Dana called my management and tried to get us on board for this video game agreement, we returned with our offer and they responded with you need to accept this or else," he said.
According to Fitch he had two fights left on his contract but was cut because "they put a clause in my contract that if you lose a fight, we can release you at any time." Fitch is coming off an entertaining and hard fought loss to Georges St. Pierre in a title fight and despite the loss, it appeared that his future in the division was still bright. Apparently his 8-1 UFC record was not enough for the UFC to keep him around.
"That's what's crazy is that there's no money involved in this whatsoever, it has absolutely zero to do with any money whatsoever, said Fitch. The agreement that they wanted us to sign is that we get free publicity. The problem is that it's a lifetime contract and you cannot work with any other video game company."
Fitch even had a bout agreement signed but had his fight against Akihiro Gona revoked over the dispute. "I had a bout agreement that I turned in yesterday for January 31st and earlier today they recanted that and my contract was terminated early tonight."
Despite the recent turn of events, it is unlikely that he will be without a home for too much longer, despite not being one of the UFCs posterboys his success in the Octagon has wielded victories over top contenders such as Thiago Alves, and Diego Sanchez. He also gave GSP one of the toughest fights of his career and despite his loss gained the respect of the fans. While it would seem to early to speculate where he will go, considering the deep rooted animocity between the UFC and Affliction, his new home could be in the upstart MMA company that recently joined forces with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Productions.
The next Affliction event is on January 24th, which would have been only a one week earlier than his scheduled bout with Gono on January 31. "I know that I'm welcome in other places, and we've got to talk prices. The big hit is the money on sponsorship, and you're losing about 75 to 80 percent of your contract right there"
"Right now, myself and Christian Wellisch have had our bout agreements scrapped and our promotional agreements terminated. Christian was actually going to sign the agreement because he didn't really care. They cut him first, I think as a scare for me, Koscheck and Cain (Valaszuez). Cain Velasquez has got one fight on his contract and they're saying that after his fight he's done and they're not going to re-up his contract. I think the same thing goes for Koscheck. I think they would drop him right now if he wasn't fighting on (December) 10th, if he wasn't headlining that show.
Aaron Bronsteter contributed to this report.