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The Fitch Saga Continues…

Written by Tom Ngo
November 20th, 2008

Jon Fitch is responding to UFC president Dana White’s take on what happened during their negotiations last night, which ultimately led to Fitch’s release.  Fitch is not fond of White’s negotiating tactics, and claims that White isn’t telling the entire story regarding fellow American Kickboxing Academy teammate Mike Swick’s agreement to work with the UFC.  Fitch claims that when dealing with White and the UFC, there is no such thing as negotiating. He says that the UFC uses strong-arm tactics to bully fighters into corners where they feel they have no choice but to do what they say.

“It’s 100 percent a power play,” Fitch told Mauro Ranallo on Thursday’s Fight Network Radio show. “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.”

Sherdog.com is reporting that as of Thursday afternoon, Bob Cook and Zinkin Entertainment, who manage Fitch and other fighters from AKA, have reopened talks with the UFC to try and resolve this issue.  However Fitch emphasized that AKA will continue to stand together as one united group.

“They are coming out and they are trying to break us,” Fitch stated. “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.”

Shortly after Fitch’s surprising release from the organization late last night, White stated that he was no longer willing to work with AKA or any fighters that are associated with the San Jose based camp. Fitch joins Marcus Aurelio and Christian Wellisch as AKA fighters that have been recently released from the UFC.

However, White stated that Swick reached out to him to let him know that he wanted to personally work with the UFC, without the assistance of AKA, to make sure his status with the organization wasn’t affected.

Fitch says that is only half of the story.

“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.”

According to Fitch, White, who has been known to be very aggressive when it comes to negotiations, left Fitch and Co. with a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. He claims that the UFC tried to bully them into agreeing to terms that they felt weren’t in their best interests.

“(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.”

Also, White has professed that his issues aren’t with Fitch, they are in fact with AKA and the management team there. However Fitch was adamant about the fact that it was him, not his management team, that decided not to sign the UFC’s contract, strictly based upon how he was approached about the situation.

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

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