Fitch: It is not about the money

Monday, June 10, 2013

In Feb the UFC released 16 fighters, including Jacob Volkmann, Vladimir Matyushenko, and Jon Fitch. Many fans were surprised at the release of Fitch, as, despite going 1-2-1 his previous four fights, he was ranked #9 in the UFC’s top 10 list.

Fitch ended up at World Series of Fighting, and during a recent media call to promote his main event fight vs. Josh Burkman on June 14, Fitch expressed reflected negatively on his experience with the UFC.

“It’s not easy to be successful in a hostile work environment,” said Fitch. “Anyone who’s worked in any profession that had to go through that knows that for a fact. I feel like I have double the wins because of the circumstances that I fought against.”

UFC president Dana White took exception to the remarks, noting among other things that Fitch was paid $300,000+ in excess his contracted payouts.

“Everything that Jon Fitch said is complete and total bulls—,” said White.

“He was complaining about what he had to go through here, about people saying stuff under their breath to him and all this bulls—. Jon Fitch is so full of s—. He’s f—ing delusional. First of all, he had every opportunity that anyone else had. After Georges St-Pierre beat the living s— out of him, did we treat him differently or anything?

“Just to lay it out with facts, Jon Fitch lost to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 87. He had an opportunity to fight for the title, and he got destroyed in that fight. He fought to a draw with B.J. Penn in a top contender fight. Then he gets a chance to be a No. 1 contender again and gets knocked f—ing dead in the first round by Johny Hendricks. What f—ing opportunities has he not been given.”

“In business, you’re going to butt heads every now and then. But I’ve said publicly many times that I have no grudge with Jon Fitch. That whole thing is overplayed.”

Now Fitch has published a video in which he says his complaints were not about money.

“There’s been some talk about some money matters involving me and some bonuses I’ve made over my career with the UFC,” said Fitch. “So I wanted to shine some more light on my financial matters to give fans a better idea of the type of money a fighter like me actually makes.

“In my 18 fights with the UFC, I was paid $1,020,000. That was show money and win money.  I also made about $300,000 in bonuses. Two of those bonuses were Fight of the Night bonuses. One was Georges St-Pierre, a $60,000 Fight of the Night, and then Erick Silva fight, that was a $70,000 bonus.  So in total I made $1,322,000.”

“Sounds like a lot of money, but lets look at that a little bit closer. Out of the 18 fights out of that $1,020,000, I paid 20-percent of that to management and the gym.  So if you take that number, $1,322,000, divided by seven and a half years, I was roughly making just over $176,000 a year. Now remember, that’s before management and gym fees. You also have other expenses you have to pay for, equipment, stuff like that.”

Fitch did not provide an estimate on what sponsorships he received. He then goes on to estimate what he called an “extreme lowball” figure on the money the UFC was making on shows he fought on, noting most fighters did not make as much money as he did, and adding he did not know how much UFC sponsors were paying, among other ancillary revenue.

“I was one of the fighters who was on the medium to high pay grade, because I won – I won conistently. When you win consistently, your pay bumps up. If you lose, you get stuck at the same pay scale. So it’s important to win. It’s important in order to win to make money.

“Most fighters didn’t make as much money as me. That’s a fact.

“I want to state again that I’ve never complained about money, I’ve always loved the money that I made from fighting with the UFC, and organizations before I fought with the UFC. I never even complained when I fought for $250 or $500. I didn’t even complain when I fought in an 8-man tournament in Mexico for $1,500. Money was never important to me – that’s not why I fight… I want to fight the best in the world and prove that I’m the best in the world.”

“I don’t know why money always gets brought back up, with them.  It’s not important to me. But I thought it was important for the fans to know what the numbers actually are.”