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Randy Couture suffers another legal defeat

Sherdog.com is reporting that current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture has suffered another legal setback in his quest to win his contractual freedom from the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.

Dallas Mavericks and HDNet owner Mark Cuban, acting on Couture’s behalf, had been trying to arrange for a motion for a summary judgment declaring Couture’s contractual status and for it to be heard in a Texas court and away from Zuffa’s home state of Nevada.

Zuffa had filed for a motion to be granted a stay from having the matter ruled on outside of Nevada, which is where the contract had been executed. On Friday, that motion was granted and pending an appeal, Cuban will not be able to have a ruling made on Couture’s current status decided by a Texas court.

The matter is still not closed though, as Cuban is expected to appeal the court’s decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

According to Sherdog, the legal dispute between Zuffa and Couture will now shift back to Las Vegas. The site indicates that arbitration hearings have commenced to try and bring forth a resolution that will end the nine months of contentious relations between the two parties. It is unclear if a settlement of some kind could be a realistic possibility.

Couture’s fight contract with the promotion expired on July 19. When the five-time UFC champion initially handed in his resignation last October, it was his position that he would be eligible to fight for another organization once his fight contract expired. However, Zuffa maintains that in order for Couture to satisfy the contract, he must not only meet the requirements of the duration of the agreement, but also the number of fights. Couture still has two fights remaining on his current UFC contract.

Couture is also subject to a one-year non-compete clause as a result of an employment agreement he signed with the UFC in order to serve as a commentator and ambassador for the promotion. The non-compete will expire on Oct. 11.

An additional wrinkle is that to date Couture has never been stripped of the UFC heavyweight title in spite of his attempt to resign from the organization. It is believed that the UFC continues to recognize him as its heavyweight champion because he could be subject to an extended contractual obligation to them through a “champions” clause that prevents him from becoming a free agent so long as he is a title holder.

FiveOuncesOfPain.com contacted Couture’s agent, Matt Walker, via e-mail for comment. As of press time, he had not responded to our request.

22 COMMENTS
  • batnter says:

    Thanks for the breakdown. The sherdog write up was poorly written and I wasn’t 100% sure what it meant until I read this.

  • Nolan says:

    Hey no fair, i want the case argued in the city where I can buy the decision, not you.

  • Jo says:

    How long can they drag this thing out? Hopefully we will have a resolution soon and we will be able to see the FIGHT.

  • Justin B says:

    Sounds like the UFC has couture by the balls. Especially with that champions clause on top of having two fights left on his contract. I hope Couture wins his case and we see Fedor vs Couture in another promotion besides the UFC. I think it would be good for the sport to have a super fight like this to help solidify another promotion. I like the UFC but they need some serious competition to help this sport move forward

  • Jackyl says:

    It may have been a bad decision to drag things out in this manner. He could have just fought his last two fights by now and be ready to go elsewhere. I realize it may have been about principle but with him being in the twilight of his career he needs to do all he can to get the fights he wants and then get out.

  • Justin B says:

    Yeah he needs to get fighting because fighters can get old in between rounds.

  • kirby says:

    On Inside MMA Randy said all he wants to do is to fight Fedor and he would even do it in the UFC. That statement makes me wonder if he thinks that he is going to loose the court case. I think he’s probably just tired of the whole thing but still it could be the start of a change of heart.

  • mike wolfe says:

    The Texas lawsuit was an interesting move, but UFC filed first in Nevada where the contract was signed. It’s fairly common for contracts to state that the a particular state court in a particular county is the location where any dispute has to be filed. I have no idea whether the UFC agreements have those kinds of clauses, but they’re very common, and they’re usually enforced. I’m not surprised the Texas court said “no thanks.” Courts don’t appreciate transparent attempts to shop for a more favorable location. It sort of insults them by suggesting they’re predisposed to rule for one party rather than listening with an open mind.

  • mike wolfe says:

    So keep watching the blogs. I would expect some announcement that the parties are planning a settlement conference or a mediation, which is pretty close to the same thing. There’s too much at stake for both sides to fool around with more expensive litigation, which could take years and bales of cash with possible appeals.

  • BlazeHoliday says:

    Why did 5oz use a stupid name for this headline???? It’s not a defeat… all the judge did was uphold the current judgement. It might be a moral defeat seeing all the UFC is trying to do now is let this thing ride out in courts till Randy is to old to compete.

    Randy should just wait till Oct 11th then fight Fedor ASAP and let them try to come after him for it. If the contract is that clear then he can fight and win against them… And then take them to civil court and wins some money! LOL

  • Jeremy says:

    Blaze,
    It is a defeat for Randy as he wants the Texas courts to decide things, not the Nevada courts.

    The decision is what Zuffa wanted: For Texas courts to pretty much defer to the Nevada courts.

    Cuban and Couture were hoping for a fast track in Texas.

    As Wolf surmised, Zuffa and Couture are currently in arbitration.

  • stevefiji says:

    Randy vs. Fedor in the UFC July 4th 2009…. At the Rose Bowl….Book it!

    Randy will lose against Zuffa in court. Fedor will take out the winner of AA vs. Barnett. The Slayer/Megadeath/Metallica/Ozzy reunion tours will all be used up by Affliction II, III and IV as well as any remaining investor cash reserves (and admit it, don’t we all KNOW that The Donald has never and will never invest a penny of his own money in this fiasco).

    Dana will have his day, WAMMA will be PHI SLAMMA JAMMA IN THE TRASH CANNA! and the world WILL have unified and recognized champions for the next 10 years or more… and that is what’s best for MMA.

    The more equitable distribution of money will surely come for the fighters, they will have their day, but MMA absolutely MUST avoid the crap that took down boxing and one belt and one collective brand is the best path.

  • clinton says:

    It’s crap that the UFC are doing this to Randy, let the guy use his talent instead of wasting his time Dana…

  • Voridor says:

    Let this be a lesson to us all. Never wear a goofy looking hat and suit coat to a press release to the media. Terrible photo.

  • scott says:

    What was Randy thinking. Did he not have lawyers read and expalain the contract he signed with Zuffa to him? Why didn’t he ride the contract out, then go else where. I like Randy, but the UFC has done nothing contractually wrong. Randy used his heart rather than his head to react to what he felt was mistreatment by the UFC (Dana) and now he is paying for it.

  • Ken says:

    these guys need to figure this out in arbitration, and get on with it. seems like Zuffa has the upper hand here. maybe Randy needs to buck up and just go back to the UFC for now. hopefully in arbitration, Randy can get more money, or at least a part of what he wants. the fact that Zuffa is entering arbitration is indicative of their willingness to give up something.

  • Chunk_33 says:

    From what i can see -Randy owes the UFC. hate to say it. – white/zuffa don’t care about what’s good for mma, just want to control it and make bank. -i read somewhere Fedor said he will NOT fight in a cage but not why. don’t know if it’s true. probably doesn’t want to be dana’s errand boy. – Randy can train all he wants but he needs real matches to stay at his best.

  • Kyle says:

    It would be easier if Randy just finish his contract, he is really dragging this out. I honestly think if he is afraid of fighting Noguiera and finishing his contract. A loss in either of those two contracted fights kills any build-up or momentum with his fight against Fedor.

  • Simon says:

    Randy asked for and received everything his contract stated. If I remember correctly, He drew it up hisself. Randy caught the hollywood bug sometime last year and bit the hand that fed him. Randy is a God in this sport but when you start acting like your shit dont stink you lose a little bit of your credibility.

  • Ken says:

    P.S.

    Dear Randy,

    Samuel Jackson called. Wants the hat back.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Ken:

    If Samuel L. Jackson really called, he’d say he wanted the mother****ing hat back, mother****er.

  • Ken says:

    Mike:

    more likely:

    ” i want my f ‘ing mother****ing hat back, u f ‘ ing mother****er.”

    at least if he was in pulp fiction mode.

    he really did call.

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