Posted on: November 20, 2008 7:29 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2008 7:36 pm
In a follow-up to the story on the UFC's falling-out with American Kickboxing Academy fighters over their refusal to sign over the lifetime rights to their names and likenesses for video games, both Jon Fitch and Christian Wellisch were re-hired Thursday, according to a report by MMARated.com.
Fitch reportedly contacted UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta directly and agreed to sign the rights agreement after all, and was subsequently re-hired. His fight at UFC 94 with Akihiro Gono is back on.
Wellisch, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter, had agreed all along to sign the rights agreement, but was fired anyway when UFC president Dana White had a falling out with manager DeWayne Zinkin, who represents many UFC fighters both independently and in cooperation with Bob Cook at AKA. Wellisch also got his job back today.
Meltzer reports that the other fighters in question -- which include Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez, along with possible others -- due to the rights agreement issue are still in negotiations.
Posted on: November 20, 2008 10:35 am
Edited on: November 20, 2008 10:49 am
The UFC has cut top welterweight Jon Fitch from his contract over a dispute regarding the rights to his name and likeness, several outlets reported on Wednesday. Christian Wellisch has also been cut by the UFC, reportedly over the same issue.
The dispute began over the UFC's attempt to get its fighters to sign over the lifetime rights to their names and likenesses for use in video games as the UFC saw fit -- a deal AKA management, under Bob Cook, advised its fighters not to sign.
Fitch appeared on Hardcore Sports Radio's 'Road Rage' on Wednesday to give his side of the story. In a story posted on Sherdog.com on Wednesday, Fitch was quoted as telling the radio show that the UFC cut fellow AKA fighter Wellisch first, "I think as kind of a scare for me and (Josh) Koscheck and Cain (Velasquez)."
Fitch believes both Koscheck and Velasquez will be cut over the rights dispute as well, but since both are on winning streaks -- and since Koscheck recently bailed out the organization by fighting Thiago Alves on less than two weeks' notice, and is slated to headline against Yoshiyuki Yoshida on Dec. 10 -- neither can be cut immediately.
“I guess Cain Velasquez wouldn't sign under his contract and they were saying that after his fight he was done and they weren't going to re-up his contract," Fitch said, as quoted by Sherdog. "I think the same thing goes for Koscheck. I think they would drop him right now too, if he wasn't fighting on the 10th, if he wasn't headlining that show -- so they can't drop him."
Fitch had no problem with signing over his likeness for the game, but the details -- the fact that it was a lifetime deal, that the fighters got no compensation at all for the deal outside of the exposure of having their character in the video game -- were too great to overlook. Fitch recently turned in his signed bout agreement to the UFC for a fight with Akihiro Gono at UFC 94. But since he would not agree to the licensing deal, the UFC terminated that bout agreement, along with his UFC deal, Fitch said.
"They basically kicked the door open, guns blazing, pointed it in our face and said, 'Sign this or you're going to pay,'" Fitch said.
In a story published by Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday, UFC president Dana White said he was done working with the AKA.
"We're looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I'm just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it's not even funny," White said. "Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren't partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them."
White further explained to USA Today's Sergio Non that the problem isn't with Fitch, or any individual fighter, but with the AKA management itself.
"They knew exactly where this was going, and now they want to run around and cry and say, 'Oh, these guys are bullying us,' or whatever their claim is out there. ... Those idiots know exactly what happened and exactly why we're in this position right now," White said, as quoted by Non.
White added that one AKA fighter -- Mike Swick -- personally contacted him to pledge allegiance to the UFC in light of the dispute with AKA.
"Any of the fighters can come and talk to me one-on-one. ... Mike Swick called me 10 minutes after it happened and said, 'I'm with you.' "
CBSSports.com has requested to speak with White numerous times within the past two months, but has received no response from UFC officials.
Fitch was on an eight-fight win streak in the UFC leading up to his five-round decision loss to Georges St. Pierre in a welterweight title fight at UFC 87 on Aug. 9. The streak was a UFC record.
Now, one of the UFC's recent success stories finds himself looking for work.
"I never wanted anything more than to fight in the UFC and be a UFC champ," Fitch said on Hardcore Sports Radio. "I put a lot of blood and guts and sweat and tears into this. This is my reward, I guess."
Posted on: September 7, 2008 12:13 am
Edited on: September 7, 2008 10:05 am
The main event pits Chuck Liddell against the undefeated Rashad Evans. If Liddell wins this one, his next fight is probably going to be a blockbuster.
Round 1: Evans is throwing jabs and Liddell is pressing forward. Liddell tags him with a right. They continue circling. Evans with an overhand. Evans with a body kick. He follows with a left hand. Evans is sticking and moving, landing a jab. Evans is also switching his stance frequently. Liddell connected with an overhand. Evans throws another kick. Liddell corners Evans and throws an uppercut but Evans gets out of harm's way. The round ends with Liddell cut on his right cheekbone. I give the round to Liddell 10-9 based on aggressiveness.
Round 2: They exchange blows, with Evans landing several nice punches. Evans catches Liddell with a pair of left-right combinations. He's got some fast hands. Huge right hand by Evans knocks Chuck Liddell out cold. Wow. That was absolutely unexpected.
Liddell was throwing an uppercut at the same time, and Evans just leveled him.
Winner: Rashad Evans defeats Chuck Liddell via KO at 1:51 of Round 2.
Evans said after the fight that he avoided wrestling Liddell because he feared that could spell his doom.
"The strategy was going straight for the horns," Evans said. "I could take him down all day (but) that's the way to get knocked out (and) that's a way to get tired."
If you want to make a name for yourself at light heavyweight in the UFC, knocking out Chuck Liddell like that is the way to do it. Incredible stuff.