Todd Martin at MMA Payout takes a look at the shaping MMA landscape and offers some advice to both the UFC and it’s fighters on how to make the most of a UFC dictatorship over the next few years:
-UFC: Don’t Count on Future Fighter Goodwill
Fitch is an ideal employee. He trains hard, focuses on improving himself, and goes about his job with a workmanlike attitude and without complaint. When finally presented with a title shot, he demonstrated tremendous heart and fought through unbelievable punishment.
To cut Fitch prior to his next fight over a licensing dispute is not something that fighters will overlook. Many fighters are likely to question just how much loyalty they have from the UFC if UFC would treat someone like Jon Fitch in the way that they did.
UFC ultimately won the battle with Fitch. He signed the agreement as the UFC desired and was brought back into the fold. In the short term, the company holds so much leverage over fighters that they are likely to win similar contractual battles. However, UFC also has to be aware that at some point a legitimate challenger to their MMA hegemony may come along. At that point, many fighters aren’t going to listen to arguments about loyalty. They will reciprocate the UFC’s cold attitude.
Another point of Martin’s was not to play contractual chicken with UFC management a la Jon Fitch and AKA. But if the company keeps playing chicken with lifetime agreements, then they don’t exactly need future fighter goodwill, do they? Ask Randy Couture whether it was good will or contracts that led him back to the UFC, and see what he has to say about that.