Exclusive: Jon Fitch’s Strong Opinions on UFC’s Class-Action Lawsuit: ‘They Belong In Prison’

Fitch highlights details surrounding the UFC scandal and more.

Fitch Ufc
(via @jonfitchsmash - Instagram)

Jon Fitch isn’t done talking about the UFC’s class-action lawsuit… he’s just getting started. 

Pushing For Change

The MMA world leader is in some hot water as a class certification has been approved by federal judge Richard F. Boulware. This means that 1,200 fighters could collectively sue the UFC for alleged unfair business practices. The lawsuit was first filed in 2014, but took until this August to finally pick up some steam in the legal system.

There’s a possibility that the UFC could pay up to $1.6B to the fighters involved, including former UFC title challenger Jon Fitch, who has not been quiet about the subject.

“Still riding high off of this judge’s decision over the class certification,” Fitch told Middle Easy. “We’re just continually pushing, waiting, hoping that senator Mark Wayne Mullen will reintroduce the Muhammad Ali Act, and we can start getting after that again.”

Fitch Tells All

For those new to the story, Fitch tries to explain what exactly is going on.

“Originally, me, Cung Le and the other guys, six of us filed suit against the UFC to say, hey, we have all been damaged, and we’re saying that we were damaged in the same way as all these other guys,” Fitch continued. “1,214 people were all damaged the same way. So, the first part of the case in the trial was the judge deciding whether or not we were actually a class if we were all damaged in the same way with the same practices. We had two lawsuits going at the same time. One was the identity class, one was the bout class.

“The identity class covered sponsors, merchandising agreements, video game agreements, that stuff the judge declined that we were damaged the same way, so that class got thrown out… which I have a problem with because if you don’t have the bout class monopoly, you can’t get the other one. You can’t have one without the other. So, I am upset with that. It’s kind of garbage, but whatever.

“The other one, the bout class, is saying that our the fights, the bouts that we actually competed in, the contracts were illegal, and that we were manipulated and exploited, and we were saying we’re all damaged the same way the judge agreed with that.”

Fitch added on.

“I’ll read you what the judge said about the contracts: “The courts find that the plaintiffs have established that the defendant willfully engaged in anti-competitive conduct to maintain or increase their market power. This was mainly accomplished in three ways. First, through the enforcement of exclusionary contracts, which kept fighters locked up in the anti-competitive manner. Second, through extra contractual methods to make fighters, contracts affect effectively perpetual. Third, through acquisition of shutting down rivals’ competition…” 10 years ago [the UFC] bought up all the competition.”

“The judge said that the contracts were anti-competitive and coercive. So a coercive contract is illegal, so the contracts are null and void, and that’s, that’s what we’re trying to prove that they had stolen from us. We need to reclaim the money stolen from us and damages.”

The Wait

With the lawsuit being filed almost a decade ago, Fitch reveals why he thinks it took so long to move ahead.

“It’s the American legal system,” Fitch said regarding the nine-year wait for the class certification for the lawsuit. “You can pay to stall things as long as possible. I think that’s one of the things UFC has done. Going public I think is one of the things too. They drew it out. Let’s go way back, word gets out that the class action lawsuit’s coming, so the Fertitta’s and everybody, they start prepping. They start realizing, ‘Hey, we can’t do this forever. We’re breaking the law. Somebody’s gonna crack down us eventually’. So what do they do? They start prepping and making everything look great so they can sell it off to some other sucker who’s gonna have to take the wrap for the lawsuits.

“They do that to WME and then WME’s like, ‘oh crap. We don’t wanna have to take all this pay and, and be responsible for it. Let’s go public and get investors to come in’. So they’re gonna end up leasing the investors, who are buying into this. You know, they’re gonna pass the buck over, over to somebody else. Nobody’s actually gonna step up and, and take responsibility for their illegal actions.”

‘They’re Criminals Who Stole From People’

Fitch had some not-so-nice things to say about those involved in the UFC scandal. 

“They’re breaking the law,” Fitch stated. “The UFC did not come to prominence because they’re hard workers and they did a great job. They cheated. They’re criminals who stole from people. I believe they belong in prison.”

‘I Wanna Be Able To Watch A Sport I Enjoy, Again’

The 45 year-old has had quite the career inside and outside of the Octagon. Fitch fell short of UFC and Bellator gold, but he holds an impressive record of 32-8-2. 

Fitch, who started fighting in 2002, has always had a love for the sport… that is, until it changed with the UFC’s rise to ‘prominence’.

“I love fighting. I love the sport of fighting, but I hate what it’s become,” Fitch explained. “I don’t like pro wrestling. I fricking hate it. I think it’s gross, right? When I was a little kid, I loved it and then I went to my first wrestling practice. I had a bunch of those WWE rubber dolls. I went to my first wrestling practice and I realized pro wrestling’s fake. I went home, I was so pissed. I cut all the dicks off of those pro wrestlers, threw ’em away. I was done with it. Gross, a bunch of fake weenies, acting like you’re tough guys. I hated it. I still hate it, right?

“So, I love fighting because it was the realest thing. There was a free market before the UFC started taking things over in like 2010 when our case began, because you had multiple organizations that you could go to and they paid similarly. But most importantly, the contracts were short. Most contracts were 1-3 fights.That gave you a lot of mobility to travel and leave around. BJ Penn, left UFC, went and fought on ‘Rumble On The Rock’ cause they could pay him more. That was a thing that was possible back then. But then as the UFC started getting more money and gaining more prominence they started buying out other people. And around that time, you know, 2008, 2009, 2010, they really started changing.”

Fitch continued his rant.

“Like the way they treated the athletes, the way they behaved. Everything just got like icky. I was like, this ain’t right. Something’s off, something’s wrong. So, I want to be able to watch something I enjoy again without being disgusted.I have to watch the fights now with the volume off because it sounds like a boxing video game and it has canned things that the announcers just say all the time and they just replace in your name. That’s what it sounds like to me today. It’s gross. They say the exact same things. They push the same guys. It’s so obvious, like who they’re pushing, who they want to win. I can’t stand it. So like, I wanna be able to watch a sport I enjoy, again. That’s one thing.

“Two, I’ve got so many friends and colleagues that I respect who are jacked up, their lives are jacked up, their body’s jacked up. They sacrifice their long-term health to put on a show and compete for belts and compete for ranks. And they’ve got nothing to take care of themselves. Now, they had a large amount of money stolen from them, straight up stolen from them. They did the work, but they didn’t get paid for their work. So that really bothers me that I have UFC guys out here. I remember Mark Coleman years ago had to crowdfund in order to get like money for a hip replacement surgery or something. The UFC still pushes him around and uses his image and sells his videos and, and uses him on (UFC) Fight Pass to make money. They’re still making money off his back, but he’s got no long-term care at all situations like that.

“Phil Baroni is rotting in a Mexican prison right now. I think if Phil would’ve been taking care of early on in his career, he wouldn’t have gone down that rabbit hole, down that spiral. Stephan Bonnar, what happened with Stephan Bonner in his career, in his life. A lot of those things, because of the actions of the UFC and guys not making the money they should have made, like their whole lives are screwed up and all those guys have earned their money. They earned their money already. This is back pay. This is money that’s owed to them. I think they need to have it.”

Time will tell if fighters like Jon Fitch will be paid their dues with this class-action lawsuit against the UFC. But one thing is for sure, he’s not happy with the state of things in MMA.

Published on September 8, 2023 at 2:19 pm
Stay up-to-date with the latest MMA news, rumors, and updates by following the RED Monster on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Also, don't forget to add MiddleEasy to your Google News feed Follow us on Google News for even more coverage.


Leave a Comment