You knew it was only a matter of time before Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White responded to anti-UFC comments made by former UFC fighters Jon Fitch and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson.
During the World Series of Fighting: “Fitch vs. Burkman” media call on Thursday, Fitch made it clear that there were more hard feelings between him and his former employer than we originally thought. Jon complained about being mistreated by the world premier Mixed Martial Arts Organization:
“From very early on I was fighting for my job every single fight. They made it clear to me that they didn’t like me or want me around. It’s awesome to have people working with me instead of against me.”
“I’m proud of my history, I’m proud of what I’ve done. I’m even more proud of what I’ve done under the circumstances. It’s not easy to be successful in a hostile work environment. 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.”
The 35-year-old detailed multiple scenarios where he felt he was being mistreated and also claimed he was also threatened with a lesser paying contract in the event he lost another fight inside the octagon.
If true, Fitch’s comments are quite sobering of what could be going on behind-the-scenes, however, White adamantly denied the claims and retorted by listing out all the opportunities and over $300,000 in additional financial bonuses the American Kickboxing Academy product was given during his nearly eight-year, 18-fight stint with his organization:
“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 BJ 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?
“He was prominently featured on tons of UFC pay-per-view events. GSP vs. Penn was the main event at UFC 94, and Jon Fitch was on that fight card against Akihiro Gono. He was on UFC 100 vs. Paulo Thiago. He was on UFC 111 against Ben Saunders, and GSP and Dan Hardy were the main event of that one. UFC 117 agaisnt Thiago Alves? That was Anderson Silva vs. Cheal Sonnen in the main event. He’s fought on all the most prominent cards. When he had a baby, we sent him an awesome baby basket. Do you do that to somebody you don’t give a s–t about? He’s 35 years old, and since 2011, he’s gone 1-2-1.”
Beyond the fact White feels Fitch’s claims were unfair and inaccurate, he is confused why the former welterweight contender is trying to make the situation personal:
“He was given multiple opportunities and couldn’t win the big fight. He’s trying to make it personal. It’s the furthest f—ing thing from personal.”
As for ‘Rampage,’ the UFC president is happy the man he used to share a very close personal relationship with was able to find a situation where he can make money and perform with his current skill set:
“Rampage’ comes out and says he’s so happy – he’s the happiest he’s ever been. Why wouldn’t he be happy? ‘Rampage’ himself, and I’m quoting ‘Rampage,’ came out and said, ‘I don’t have what it takes to compete with the best in the world anymore.’ That’s a quote from ‘Rampage.’ Now you’re fighting in (TNA) where the outcomes are predetermined. You can start winning again.
“He lost his love of fighting a long time ago. He wanted to be a movie star. The movie star thing didn’t work out, so fighting is where he makes his money. Unfortunately, he’s unhappy about that. That’s not my fault.”