Thursday, November 20, 2008
by Greg Savage
Jon Fitch's exile from the Ultimate Fighting Championship lasted less than 24 hours. Bob Cook, Fitch’s representative from Zinkin Entertainment, has informed Sherdog.com that the welterweight contender is back in the good graces of the world’s top MMA promoter.
“We just spent an hour on the phone with Lorenzo [Fertitta],” said Cook, “and cooler heads have prevailed.”
When asked about the negotiations, Cook stated that Fertitta and UFC President Dana White were “on the same page” when it came to their goals but that their approaches were as different as night and day.
In the end, Fitch ended up signing a licensing agreement that will allow the UFC to feature him in their upcoming video game release. Throughout the media offensive he waged since being informed of his release, the former Purdue wrestling captain made it clear he had no problem signing the deal but did not appreciate what he viewed as White’s “strong-arm tactics.”
White repeatedly said his decision to cut ties with Fitch were driven by an inability on Fitch’s management’s part to work with him and not because he didn’t sign the video game licensing agreement. In an expletive-laden interview with Yahoo.com, White called out nearly everyone at American Kickboxing Academy and Zinkin Entertainment, Fitch’s gym and management company.
Cook, who was singled out by White as part of the problem, stated Fertitta assured him the working relationship between their camp and White was salvageable.
As for the fates of welterweight contender Josh Koscheck and heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez -- both of whom were rumored to be next on the chopping block -- as well as heavyweight Christian Wellisch, who was cut along with Fitch on Wednesday, Cook stated that all of the fighters have worked out agreements to remain with the UFC.