I read today that Jon Fitch has been dropped from the UFC because of his refusal to give up his name and likeness rights for a lifetime.
From GameSpot :
Thanks to a reported dispute over an upcoming THQ game, a group of Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters are about to discover if the only thing tougher than going into the Octagon is being locked out of it.
According to Yahoo! Sports and Sports Illustrated, welterweight contender Jon Fitch was cut from the mixed martial arts organization yesterday, and UFC president Dana White wants nothing more to do with the fighter or his fellow American Kickboxing Academy members. The dispute reportedly centered on licensing agreements for the upcoming UFC game published by THQ.
According to Yahoo, Fitch said he didn’t want to sign away his name and likeness rights in a lifetime contract for the game. He said he tried to negotiate a shorter term agreement, but the UFC refused to change its terms.
“I’m more than willing to work with them, but I don’t see why we have to give up our whole lives for this,” Fitch said. “Why not a time limit? If we did a 10-year deal with them, is that that unreasonable? I don’t understand how this happened, honestly. It’s tough.”
As of press time, a THQ representative had not returned a request for comment.
I agree 100% with Jon Fitch’s refusal. It’s crazy for them to ask for his name and image rights for the rest of his life. I’m actually surprised he’s the only one causing a fuss about this.
What happens if a fighter signs away his name and image rights and then leaves the UFC in say 5 years time. If they went to a different organisation to fight (for example K1), their name and image likeness would still be owned by the UFC and I doubt they would just hand it over for free.
I have nothing but respect for what Dana White and what he has done for the UFC. The UFC was fading away and was going bankrupt when he took it over and is unrecognisable from what it is today. But this kind of thing is disgraceful. It’s the kind of thing Vince McMahon from the WWE would do (and has done).
Hopefully they reinstate Fitch as it would be crazy to lose a great figher over this.