UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta has been talking a bit and when the king speaks, it behooves us to listen. First in the LA Times he talks Fedor:
"Right now, Fedor's completely irrelevant to the public," Fertitta said. "His pay-per-view numbers have been 12,000, 30,000, and now Affliction is saying he'll get 100,000 [against Josh Barnett]. I'll take the under-70,000. We average 500,000 buys and we expect 1 million for this one.
"Fedor wants to use UFC for a fight to be relevant, and then leave and do his own thing. That's not our business model."
"We spend more money for marketing than anyone has ever spent on Fedor," Fertitta said. "If I bring in Fedor, we'll make him the most recognizable face in MMA, but we also want to recoup on our investment. You wouldn't sign Tom Brady for one game. So why do I want to sign this guy for one fight?"
And Five Ounces of Pain reports he talked about teammates vs teammate fights and how they're not optional:
"At the end of the day, we are here to see fighters and we are here to see fights," Fertitta said when asked about the potential of teammate vs. teammate match-ups.
"If teammates don’t want to fight, then they are just going to have to go somewhere else," he continued. "We don’t put up with that stuff.
"That’s just the way it is. You step up. You’re a UFC fighter and I don’t care who it is, you have to fight."
Looks like Jon Fitch is bucking the company line again, per Zach Arnold:
"We train as a team. If two people from our team were to fight each other, who trains with what training partner? Who trains with what trainer? Who gets to use the gym and when? It just doesn’t add up. We’d have to tear our team apart and split our camp in half in order to make one fight happen. It’s not worth it. We’ve worked very hard the last seven, eight years to build up AKA and we’re not going to throw it away for one fight."
As much as I'd love to see Fitch vs either of his American Kickboxing Academy teammates Josh Koscheck or Mike Swick, I can see where he's coming from. Stephan Bonner basically got exiled from Xtreme Couture because Mark Coleman came in to train there and clearly his performance suffered.
Regardless, Fitch probably will have to back down again. Fertitta after all is a man who could afford to turn down a $1.2 billion offer for the UFC.