I want to preface what you’re about to read by acknowledging the following:
1. I have never seen a UFC contract with my own eyes. All I know is what I’ve heard second-hand.
2. I have no first-hand knowledge of Randy Couture’s contract. I don’t know if it’s a standard UFC contract or if special considerations were made when he came out of retirement.
3. I’m not an attorney so a lot of what I will be stating are nothing more than assumptions.
If you have ever seen or signed a UFC contract and I have something wrong, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] to correct me.
There is growing speculation that Randy Couture will eventually resume his fighting career and will do so for a promotion outside of the UFC. Unless I’m missing something here, I don’t think that’s entirely possible unless something drastic happens.
Many people are assuming that Couture will be able to fight outside of the UFC after a recent clarification was made that he has not retired from MMA but has in fact resigned from the UFC. Couture’s statement is perplexing because he has two fights remaining on his UFC contract. If he’s not retiring from MMA then how does he plan to compete again if his promotional rights are retained by the UFC?
It’s possible that Couture knows he has no legal way of fighting for another promotion but is phrasing his departure as a resignation as opposed to a retirement so that the blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of UFC management. By saying he is resigning as opposed to retiring, it limits the ability for how the UFC can spin the situation. It seems to me that he’s drawn a line in the sand and rather than take his case to a court of law, he’s taking his case to the public court of opinion. It’s a savy move on his part considering that he’s one of the most beloved figures in the sport. It certainly never hurts to have an outpouring of public support to back your cause.
It’s been said by some that Randy could become a free agent when his contract expires in nine months and that a showdown with Fedor Emelianenko under the M-1 banner is likely. However, based on my limited knowledge of the structure of the UFC’s contracts, a scenario in which Couture becomes a free agent and can compete for another promotion is not possible.
It’s been explained to me that a Zuffa contract contains two provisions when it comes to the length of a contract: the term (time period) of the agreement and the number of bouts. In order for a contract to expire and for a fighter to become able to negotiate with other promotions, a fighter must satisfy both the term and the number of bouts.