Thoughts by the MMA Blaster
UPDATE- Looks like Fitch is back with the organization. I'm guessing that he signed his likeness away to the UFC.
It is being widely reported that the UFC will be cutting Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Cain Valesquez, and various other star fighters from American Kickboxing Academy(AKA). The move has come over a contractual dispute regarding fighter likeness in video games.
Apparently, the UFC came to the fighters and requested that they sign away all rights to their likeness for life to the UFC. If they didn't sign, the existing contracts would be ripped up and the fighters cut. Fitch explained that the would sign away for five years or ten years, but not for life.
Dana White, not pleased with the fighters actions, decided to cut the fighters rather than negotiate.
I find that the move represents a unilateral action by the UFC that will only benefit private shareholders of the organization. The video games, DVD's, and clip shows will continue to make money in perpetuity forever. The fighters will not see a dime of that money under the deal Dana wants to force on them. That deal hardly seems to provide any consideration to the fighters.
Dana's main counter was that Jon Fitch made $169,000 from the title fight with Georges St. Pierre, and that Fitch couldn't get that type of money elsewhere. I think Dana is missing the boat with this argument. It isn't about pay for a fight, it is about the UFC being able to make money over the likeness of a fighter for no compensation.
In video games for the NFL, NBA, and MLB, the players association collects a sum of money from the league for use of the likeness and distribute the money. EA recently had to pay former stars of the NFL over 20 million dollars for using their likeness in video games. In the games, former stars names weren't listed, but the exact height, weight, and number were used.
I believe that fighters that appear in the video games should be paid accordingly. It is simply unfair to allow the UFC to unilaterally collect all the revenue for the game. You aren't fighting in the game with a Dana White character.
(Jon Fitch pictured)