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Ruling on Randy Couture’s “free agency” looming

The possibility of a potential Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko bout became a bit more real yesterday. reports that Zuffa‘s bid to have Mark Cuban‘s HDNet Fights challenge of Couture’s promotional contract stayed, delayed or dismissed has been denied. Couture’s promotional contract deals with the alleged two fights Zuffa claims the UFC heavyweight champion still owes the UFC.

What does this all mean? Well I’ll let Sherdog’s Jake Rossen tell you.

The decision opens doors for the court to hear HDNet’s motion for a summary judgment on June 2, a date that could conceivably offer resolution on Couture’s standing as a free agent. Couture contends his promotional contract will expire in July, once the agreement reaches its 16-month conclusion.

All parties agree that Couture’s one-year non-compete clause in his employment contract expires in October 2008. Should the Texas court rule in favor of HDNet on June 2, the hypothetical bout between Couture and Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko could materialize before year’s end.

In the meantime, Couture still has to deal with a breach of contract lawsuit in Nevada surrounding his employment contract (filed on January 14th by Zuffa) arising from the use of Couture’s name to advertise a rival promotion (the IFL). Along with that there is also the allegations that Couture made “false claims” which damaged the company.

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  • Evan says:

    The shine has worn off this one for me. My interest is mild at best now I am so sick of Randy. If he had just honored his contract and then worked on Fedor I would be cheering.

  • Eric says:

    This has dragged on too long. I couldn’t agree more Evan.

  • MJC_123 says:

    Im hoping this bout when and if it ever happens ends in Double K.O with Dana as ref.
    Who cares anymore, this match is only relevant for MMA nut huggers the casual fan does not care, they would rather see Kimbo v Tito Ortiz.

  • yuushi says:

    What Evan says is true. If he just honored his contract, the likelihood that Fedor would sign with the UFC would have increased.

    Still, I hope the fight still happens. I don’t care where at this point.

  • ctownhood says:

    The only reason I want this contract dispute to end sooner than later is so Randy can fight Fedor, and get smashed (which he will), and go away quietly.

  • Evan says:

    “the likelihood that Fedor would sign with the UFC would have increased.”

    Yeah and even if it didn’t happen in the UFC it could have happened elsewhere and I would have been excited.

    To me this is like when TO was wanting more money in Phili or Chad Johnson in Cincin.

  • ultmma says:

    why is everyone acting like pouting two year olds? Randy left in October of 2007 its now May 2008.

    Its been 7 months, how has the luster of this fight worn off already?

    What other big heavyweight would you rather see? i don’t know about you but Lesnar vs Colman, Kmbo vs. Thompson, or Big Nog vs. Mir….doesn’t get my blood boiling like a possible

    Couture vs. Fedor match up

    what would you choose?

  • People Who Bash Randy are Hypocrits says:

    Randy Couture, first and foremost, is a business man, just like Tito or any other star out there. Their priorities are to take care of themselves and their families. If he fought twice, and lost against Nog, the Fedor fight would have been a bust and probably would have never happened.

    Honor his contract? He is honoring his contract, and depending on what the court’s decision is, he will honor that. The contract is ambiguous at best, and the court’s ruling will ultimately define the contract.

    Also, he is pretty old, and only has one or two fights left in him. Is it so bad that he wants to go out fighting the best. Face it, Fedor was NOT going to sign with the UFC and Randy, AA, Tito, and Sylvia are all going to make a KILLING, paywise, rather than being sat on the bench or put on a non televised undercard due to petty disagreements with Dana for the UFC. Face it, the UFC DOES NOT have ALL the best fighters, specially HWs. Nog vs Mir and Lesnar vs Coleman are your top featured HW bouts? Mir goes for the title after beating 1-0 Brock Lesnar and previously losing to Pe De Pano and AA.

    So I guess no one out there has quit their job to find a better one if they get treated better and get paid more? No, you guys want Randy to honor his contract, just to satisfy his petty and childish fans who admire him like a GOD and say he is the UFC and an American Hero, and now you are SICK of him and the fight has lost its luster. GIVE ME A BREAK. Fedor vs Randy would still be an INCREDIBLE match and EVERYONE would watch.

    Like I told everyone before, the UFC is not a sport, but Sports Entertainment, just like WWE and PRIDE.

  • People Who Bash Randy are Hypocrits says:

    ^^^ *Correction*

    After Mir lost to Vera and Cruz, not AA.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Couple of points. The court in Texas won’t grant summary judgment if there’s a factual dispute–who said or did what, when, etc. Only if the evidence is undisputed can the court grant such a motion. Even if the evidence is undisputed, the court doesn’t necessarily agree with the moving party, and can deny the motion, grant it in part only, or even grant summary judgment to the other party. Even if the motion is granted, appeals are frequent, and those usually take a year or two to move through the appellate court system.

    Meanwhile, the Nevada action is still pending, and if the Nevada court’s disposition is in conflict with whatever the Texas court does, there will be an appeal of one or both decisions.

    Unless the parties settle this amongst themselves, this could take years to sort out.

  • Evan says:

    “Its been 7 months, how has the luster of this fight worn off already?”

    Athletes signing contracts then crying about how it isn’t fair gets old fast.

  • Evan says:

    Thanks for that “look ahead” Mike!

  • king mah mah says:

    Randy agreed to his contract and signed it. Now he wants out of it. That’s his own damn fault! He’s lucky the ufc still signs senior citizens! He needs to pay money back to the ufc for breech of contract and be put in jail!

  • Kuch says:

    I like Randy and I am a fan of his; I’m not ashamed to admit it. But his handling of this process was wrong. He stated he felt like he spent his career in the UFC swimming upstream. Then why re-sign with them after his retirement? Why not try and fight Fedor immediately?

    Instead, the UFC signs Randy (a guy who has lost twice at LHW via KO) and put him in there with their champ (and people get mad when other non-#1 contenders get a title shot) and he wins. Of course it is a feel-good story. Then Randy goes on to defend the title against Gonzaga and beats him too.

    This is the crazy part – The UFC couldn’t sign Fedor. Who knows or cares why not, but it didn’t happen. So, in protest (I guess) Randy quits. And he wants out of his contract…the contract he signed less than a year earlier. And people are surprised the UFC didn’t want to release him?

    The UFC had just spent a lot of time and money building him (at the expense of Sylvia and others I imagine) as their #1 guy, and now they were just supposed to let him walk away and fight elsewhere? Who did Randy think he was kidding? I couldn’t ever see that happening anywhere else in the business world.

    People who think Randy should be allowed out of his contract because “he only has 1 or 2 fights left” shouldn’t be bashing the UFC; they should be bashing Randy.


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