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Jon Fitch Needs Better Representation; Update: Fitch Says Management Told Him to Sign

I think the topic of whether the UFC's deal is morally deficient has been discussed to death.  Personally, I feel it is unnecessarily heavy handed.  However, the real issue for Fitch and other AKA fighters is their representation.  It's mind-boggling to me that anyone would advise a fighter not to sign away video game rights when it could cost them their entire MMA career.

To be honest, losing one fight in the UFC will cost Fitch more than he will ever make in a video game.  He made over $250,000 for his fight against GSP when you include sponsors, and $169,000 from the UFC alone.  How much is he going to make off video game rights?  Not to mention the contract is highly questionable and likely unenforceable anyway.

If the merchandise rights were exclusive, then I'd definitely advise any client against signing that deal.  But that is not the case.  The exclusivity deal is for the THQ game.

In the end, Dana White called the agency's bluff, which is why they're back talking today.  I believe that within a few weeks Fitch will be back in the UFC and probably in the video game.  This whole ordeal raises a number of issues about the future of MMA in a UFC-only world, but if his representatives were really looking out for his best interests, they would have him sign the deal and move on.  They probably never thought Dana would cut Fitch, and now that it happened they are back to figuring out a way to salvage the situation.  I have no idea why they thought they could play hardball given their negotiating position, but they did, and they got called on it.

Update:  Jon Fitch says he made the decision not to sign against the wishes of his management:

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.”

This basically renders my whole post above moot, but I'll keep it here just so people can bash me for it in the future.