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UFC sues Randy Couture

By Zach Arnold | January 15, 2008

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According to The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Zuffa LLC (the parent company of UFC) filed a lawsuit on Monday against Randy Couture in Clark County District Court.

UFC claims that Couture’s statements about the company last year caused ‘irreparable damage’ and that he breached his UFC contract.

This is alluding to the fact that Couture now has a camp-based team in the IFL. (Nothing seems to anger Dana more than the IFL, does it?)

If anyone can provide me with the case number of this civil suit, please let me know (as I would be interested in keeping track of legal developments).

Topics: IFL, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 62 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

62 Responses to “UFC sues Randy Couture”

  1. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The case is 08-A-555208-C

    Don Campbell is the attorney for Zuffa and the judge is Jennifer Togliatti.

  2. Preach says:

    Interesting tidbit of the day: NBC tests their “American Gladiators” for steroids!

  3. JP says:

    I disagree cbout “Captain America is not keeping his word” Steve Rogers always keeps his word. Randy, on the other hand, is getting what he deserves.

    He signed the contract, and if he didn’t have the sence to read it over, than he is a big goof for all his whining.

    They set the Nog fight up for him, Randy checkend out, knowing that he will lose and no big payday in Japan for the Fedor fight.

    Silvia deserves his rematch as he put Randy over for the UFC and fought injured.

    Be a man Randy and give Silvia his rematch!!!!


  4. D.Capitated says:

    Hahahaha, good luck on Dana successfully suing a guy because he “retired”. No way that goes anywhere.

  5. Body_Shots says:

    According to Randy, he’s not retired.

    Who the hell didn’t see this coming?

  6. Depends on how the judge interprets the terms of the contract, I suppose, but I can actually see Zuffa coming out on top in this one.

  7. D.Capitated says:

    According to Randy, he’s not retired.

    He stated that he’s stepping down and wants to wait for his contract to run out, but if the contract ends up being iron clad, they can’t force him to fight. Right now, all they’ve got is that he’s said he wants to fight Fedor in October. Hasn’t happened yet. Unless his contract prevents him from appearing on any TV that isn’t Zuffa approved (I bet it doesn’t), this is open and shut. Randy may not ever fight again, but he certainly can’t be forced to compete or be sued on that basis.

  8. Body_Shots says:

    They’re not trying to force him to fight, we’re well past that point now. Basically, they don’t want him to use his name (that they were instrumental in creating) to compete against them at ANY point in the near future (were talking ’08 and ’09). Which Randy undoubtably wants to do, who can blame him the payday would be huge.

    I think the UFC would just be fine with that.

  9. Body_Shots says:

    Randy may not ever fight again, but…

    I think the UFC would be just fine with that.

  10. el feo says:

    Judge Togliatti bears a resemblance to Dr. Melfi…

  11. Dave2 says:

    “Basically, they don’t want him to use his name (that they were instrumental in creating) to compete against them at ANY point in the near future (were talking ‘08 and ‘09).”

    That’s pretty much it. Dana White is very Vince McMahon-like in his business conduct. Like Vince McMahon, he has an obsession with saying, “WE CREATED YOU!” to his star talent.

    Make no mistake, I don’t feel sorry for a guy who makes over $1 million per fight like Randy Couture. If he’s smart, he probably would be able to ensure his family’s financial security post-retirement unless he blew his money ala MC Hammer. But that doesn’t mean that I believe Dana White should be worshiped over the fighters. When I watch MMA, I watch for the fighters. Not Dana White, Gary Shaw, Mark Cuban, Takada or any one of these guys. And Dana White’s cocky “I’m the savior of MMA” attitude is annoying. This guy is a non-fighter who wants to be some sort of superstar. He should stop stealing the limelight from his fighters and stop saying “I created them, blah blah blah” all the time to satisfy his ego. I’ve tired of his Vince McMahon-esque antics.

    Yes, Dana, we get that you and the Fertittas helped build MMA’s popularity in America. But you guys didn’t do it alone and I never paid a dime to see you on television so do what a president does best and stick with being more low-key. Just do the usual for a company president: press conferences, management, writing checks. Stop using the media for stealing the spotlight of the fighters, ego-stroking and cussing like an immature teenager.

  12. David M says:

    The judge might throw the contract out due to some language that could be deemed unconscionable (like the clause saying he automatically has to re-sign with them after completion of his current contract with no raise), while at the same time there are probably clauses in there that allow Zuffa to terminate him at any time. The judge may find these terms to be “shocking to the conscience” and nullify either the clauses in question or the entire contract.

    Fuck Zuffa.

  13. Ultimo Santa says:

    Dave2, you hit the nail on the head. Dana White runs UFC almost exactly like McMahon runs the WWE. The parallels are frightening.

    I’m sure Randy Couture is not alone in thinking he’s underpaid, under-appreciated, and has been lied to by Dana White (and if he gets $1M a fight, imagine how the rest of the roster feels!) The greed – and lack of humility – is appalling.

    I would have to do some math to confirm this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Floyd Mayweather, in just one of his 2007 fights, made more than every single UFC fighter combined during the year.

    Cue Kevin ‘Huddle 45’ Iole to jump in and defend Dana White’s honor in 3…2…1…

  14. ilostmydog says:

    Fuck Zuffa for suing Randy Couture for not fulfilling/breaching the terms of a contract that he freely signed. Those bastards.

  15. Zack says:

    I’d be curious to see if Couture’s contract prevents anything with his likeness being used. For instance, what if he isn’t coaching that IFL team, and it’s Jay Hieron coaching Team Xtreme Couture?

  16. If the case moves into the realm of determing if the contract is enforceable, unconscionability will be the word most relevant here.

    I’ve written a few article regarding the defenses Couture could use, but in a nutshell, unconscionability is his best defense. The problem is that he must prove to the judge that the contract clauses are “shocking” and should not be enforced.

    I highly doubt he can do that.

  17. Captain says:

    “I’d be curious to see if Couture’s contract prevents anything with his likeness being used. For instance, what if he isn’t coaching that IFL team, and it’s Jay Hieron coaching Team Xtreme Couture?”

    Depending on how the non-compete was drafted, I think his ownership interest in Xtreme Couture would be more than enough to be considered “competing.”

  18. Mike David (Euthyphro) says:

    Keep in mind also that Dana White is a 10% owner of the UFC. There are 2 45% owners out there, the Fertittas, who have been masterful in escaping public scorn for their actions, which assuredly have more to do with setting the direction of the UFC, since they have the actual business acumen. Then again, the scorn of a few people on the internet doesn’t really matter all that much when you’re the heads of a multi-million dollar casino empire.

    Also, to Dave2:

    Dana White, Gary Shaw, Mark Cuban, Takada

    “…one of these things is not like the other. One of these things just does not belong…”

    Takada is even more of a figurehead than is Dana White.

  19. Mike David (Euthyphro) says:

    I’d be curious to see if Couture’s contract prevents anything with his likeness being used. For instance, what if he isn’t coaching that IFL team, and it’s Jay Hieron coaching Team Xtreme Couture?

    Shawn Tompkins is coaching the team for the IFL events.

  20. Dave2 says:

    Dana White without a doubt is a bit of a puppet to his Fertitta friends since they have 90% of the pie and he has only 10%. Even if he didn’t want to fuck with Randy Couture, the Fertittas certainly will. So yes, he doesn’t have as much control over the business side of things as the internet expects. But I doubt the Fertittas are telling Dana White to be an egotistical maniac, talk shit about just about everybody (including his employees) and to curse like an immature sixth-grader. The Fertittas are without a doubt more shady than Dana but Dana could at least be less of a dick in public and with fighters.

  21. Mike David (Euthyphro) says:

    So Dana has a pottymouth. What does it actually matter? Would you rather he be Gary Bettman? Completely incompetent?

  22. Jim Allcorn says:

    As a rabid fan of the UFC in particular & the sport of MMA overall since UFC2 ( I skipped the inaugural event because I wasn’t sure of it’s authenticity at the time & elected to spend my $19.95 on a night out drinking instead … ), I’ve long had respect for what Dana & the boys have done for MMA since buying out the UFC in 2000.
    So, despite all his “tough guy” posturing & his obvious need to be seen by the public as being a “star” equal to or above the athletes that he promotes, I’ve been able to basically “laugh it off” up ’til now.

    But, this latest bit is just too much for me to keep quiet about.
    Not that Randy Couture doesn’t have his share of culpability in this matter ( because he obviously does ), but it’s ironic how the individual who made so much noise about the UFC being “a sport for the next generation” & for those sick of the endless contract disputes in team sports & the dirty politics of pro boxing etc. …
    Now, White is taking things right down those dark back alleyways
    s & into those bitter boardroom meetings that plague every other major sport. Smiling as he talks about how much respect he has for Couture & how he still considers him to be his dear friend, while at the same time he’s knifing Randy in the short ribs with one hand & lifting his wallet with the other …
    So much for the UFC being a “family” like Dana was once so fond of claiming.

    Like Dave2 so astutely alluded to, the UFC may, indeed, be run on a family business model, The McMahon Family business model that is.
    To me, it’s almost comical how closely Dana has come to emulate Vince, whether White is even aware of it or not.

    Even to the point of trying to get in on the combative aspect of it by challenging Tito Ortiz to a boxing match. Something that he actually had the audacity to have filmed for the purposes of a 90 minutes ego stroke … er, “documentary”. To demonstrate just how much of a tough guy he really is!
    Fuck, even though ol’ Vince has had the writing staff create various situations over the past decade or so in which he’s “won” most of the WWE’s titles & held them for short stints, at least McMahon, even in his advancing years, has had the integrity to go out there & mix it up with the talent at full speed in the process. The crazy old dude has taken the big bumps during the course of these matches & has actually proven himself to be a pretty good worker in the process.

    While what Dana did, was akin to McMahon selling us a 90 minute show devoted to showing Vince prepare for a match & then his scheduled opponent not having enough respect for him to just show up & go through the motions with him in the end.

    And, I STILL find it rather comically ironic that Dana chose his supposed grudge match with Tito to be a boxing match. An exhibition contest in the very sport that he loves to denegrate as “near death” every chance he gets.

    Yeah, I know that’s where White’s athletic background lies, in boxing training & in teaching “Boxercise” classes, but still …

    Speaking of which, for all his claims of having been “a former amateur fighter whose dreams of turning pro didn’t pan out once he realized his limitations”, has anyone, anywhere ever found an amateur record for him or a single recorded sanctioned fight in which he participated?
    Yeah, on that Spike special Dana showed some decent skills in the gym & while sparring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he ever actually fought. There are all sorts of fellows who frequent gyms around the country (or the world for that matter ) every day who look like old pros while they’re working out, but who have never actually been in the ring for real.
    I’m wondering if Dana happens to be one of those guys?

  23. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    It’s nothing special about IFL, Zuffa has in the past and will in the future continue to aggressively litigate in defense of what they regard as their contractual rights and IPs.

    Couture has active contracts as both a fighter and a representative of UFC. It’s not his fighting contract that is most likely the issue, but his representation and image.

    And if you think that the payout from IFL is going to be significant, I think you need to reconsider. There are valid reasons for Team Couture to hook up with IFL, but they’re all about getting competitive matches for their lower tier fighters in lieu of smokers. Those reasons most likely don’t involve Randy Couture getting a significant cut of anything of value.

    Here, the Name is the Game though.

    There doesn’t have to be a grudge here for there to be a legitimate contract dispute. The right place to settle these things is in court or before an arbitrator when you have two parties that are likely not to see eye to eye.

    Not everything is personal. Dana White is not the UFC, the UFC is not (all of) Zuffa, and sometimes a contract dispute is a contract dispute instead of a spitting contest.

  24. Shane says:

    Brock Lesnar successfully escaped his no complete cause when he decided to leave WWE – it wouldn’t surprise me if Randy Couture will be able to as well.

  25. Chuck says:

    “The problem is that he must prove to the judge that the contract clauses are “shocking” and should not be enforced.

    I highly doubt he can do that.”

    So let me get this straight. You don’t believe that Couture can prove that the clause stating that he MUST re-sign if he is still champion and/or is on an unbeaten streak is shocking? You’re out of your GODDAM mind if you think this. And as Shane mentioned (I was thinking of this too before I read his comment) that Lesnar got out of his WWE contract and that ridiculous 10 YEAR no compete clause he was under scrutiny to.

    With a god lawyer he can get out of this.

  26. Zack says:

    Brock’s was also for 10 years which seems unreasonable. However, with the “Championship Clause” being indefinite, I wonder if that will be deemed unreasonable too.

  27. Spencer Fern says:

    I wonder how the judge will react when she gets to the “pound of flesh” clause.

    My impression (at least in California) is that generally judges are fairly comfortable with throwing out any clause that will prevent someone from making a living.

    Non-compete clauses are pretty worthless. The fact that Randy quit confounds things somewhat, but he’ll come back with the “I’m an old man, I’ve had X surgeries, I’m afraid to die, etc.”

    Then, as soon as he wins the case, he’ll go fight the most dangerous man on earth.

  28. Spencer Fern says:

    Another thing, don’t start saying “Zuffa will crush him with their financial resources, he’ll lose even if he is right.”

    Randy is celebrity. Celebrities get ace lawyers pro bono all the time.

    The Sherrif here in Orange County recently resigned. He has been on trial for corruption for a while. The reason he finally quit was so that he could receive free legal representation from a top law firm, which he could not get as a public official.

    I think this is another bone-headed move by Zuffa.

  29. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    They can throw out the clauses that automatically extend the contract without invalidating the issue at hand though.

    His base contract period is still in effect.

  30. Michaelthebox says:

    I think Randy is going to go down, and go down hard.

    Ultimo Santa, what Randy feels is completely irrelevant, as is any (misguided) perception that the UFC is underpaying the fighters.

    The key issue, as said by others on here, is if the contract is unconscionable. But even if Randy’s contract is found to be unconscionable, that won’t make it unenforceable, unless Randy can prove that he was forced into the contract by the superior bargaining position of the UFC.

    Remember how Bodog supposedly offered 3 million to Randy to fight Fedor before he signed to fight Fedor? If the UFC shows that Randy could have signed to fight Fedor, and instead chose to sign to fight Sylvia, Randy is screwed.

  31. Spencer Fern says:

    My understanding is that the contract states that a fighter who retires can have their contract extended indefinitely.

    This seems to be, ipso facto, a non-compete clause of infinity years.

    As I stated previously non-compete clauses are weak.

    I think the best the UFC can get is their signing bonus back.

  32. cyphron says:

    The shizznick is about to hit the fan. I won’t be like other armchair lawyers here pretending to know anything about the law because I obviously don’t. If there are lawyers here, then please chime in.

    One thing I do know is this: Randy won’t be fighting until this case clears. And by then, he’ll be so out of shape and too old that Cro Cop would knock his head off.

    Randy, why didn’t you just take the easy money? I know Big Nog is a bad match up, but no one would say anything if you lose. Unfortunately, now you’re out of commission for 2 years not making any money. Your fame is tattered, all the casual fans will forget about you. Furthermore, you are losing money paying lawyers to defend an iffy case in the first place. So what if you win? Then what? You’re 47 and out of shape!

  33. Spencer Fern says:

    I may be an armchair lawyer here, but, IMO, real lawyers don’t know how this case will go either.

    This is pretty much analogous to reserve clauses that used to exist in other sports. These clauses have not been tested in court in like 50 years.

    MLB, NFL, NBA…they voluntarily gave up these kind of contracts in the 70s, and subsequently player salaries have gone up six-fold.

    Why would those leagues voluntarily give up hundreds of millions of dollars? Because they knew that reserve clauses were losers in the current legal environment.

    As far as the rest of your argument…I take Randy at his word. He only wants the Fedor fight.

  34. Jeremy says:


    Not sure what lawyers you know that work for free.

    Some might agree to charge nothing in return for a large percentage of a settlement, but celebrities pay for their representation.

  35. The Gaijin says:

    Jeremy that’s not necessarily true.

    Many firms will do work “pro bono” in order to take advantage of the perceived PR/press exposure that a case with high notoriety will bring for the firm. That being said, usually those type of cases deal with someone who doesn’t have the ability to pay (i.e. constitutional or criminal matters), so this doesn’t really look like the type of case (re: millionaire athlete) that that kind of rationale usually applies.

  36. 45 Huddle says:

    I have seen a lot of negative posts on multiple forums because Zuffa is sueing Randy Couture. I honestly don’t understand where this negativity is coming from. Whether Zuffa is right or wrong, they have no choice but to sue him.

    If he breaches a contract (in their eyes) and they don’t try and sue him, they will have a hard time getting recourse with any fighter in the future who breaks the contract. It is really simple in my eyes as to why this is happening.

    Now, as to who will win… That is anybodies guess.

  37. Dave2 says:

    “So Dana has a pottymouth. What does it actually matter? Would you rather he be Gary Bettman? Completely incompetent?”

    Gary Bettman is an incompetent idiot but just because Dana White isn’t the worst sports corporation figurehead in the world doesn’t mean that his behavior isn’t inappropriate. Dana White should not only be conducting himself in a more professional manner but he should also be more diplomatic and civil. He’s 38 ffs. Gosh, the Dana shills are so defensive of the man.

  38. klown says:

    In my expert legal opinion GO RANDY GO!

  39. Mike David (Euthyphro) says:

    Gary Bettman is an incompetent idiot but just because Dana White isn’t the worst sports corporation figurehead in the world doesn’t mean that his behavior isn’t inappropriate. Dana White should not only be conducting himself in a more professional manner but he should also be more diplomatic and civil. He’s 38 ffs. Gosh, the Dana shills are so defensive of the man.

    Thanks for that characterization, Dave2. I might frame this one and put it up on my wall. The problem is, your analysis of Dana White’s professionalism is completely off point. At best, he controls 10 percent of the company.

    What you need to realize is that Dana’s obsessions have very little to do with how Zuffa runs its business. The Fertittas are calling the shots, and they are the ones who recognize that letting Randy Couture go has no upside for their company. Similarly, copromoting a bout with M-1 Global has no upside for them.

    People expect a company that has sunk tens of millions of dollars into building the sport of MMA in the US, Canada, and Europe to agree to an arrangement that helps a fighter (whom they argue, for what it’s worth, that they have paid very well) and an upstart rival promotion while hurting the company itself. And then, when they refuse to do it, internet fans are baffled, and decide to lash out at the company’s figurehead president.

    Keep it up Dave2, another few posts like these and you might get Dana to write an open letter to you on the Underground.

  40. The Gaijin says:

    This case really is one that could go either way imho. There’s elements of both contract and labour law here and not being an expert on labour law (and a minimal amount of US law) but having taken a courses – I feel like this is a really good “exam question”.

    I can reasonably see that Couture signed this contract voluntarily and the need for protection of interests of being able to rely on the performance of contracts, especially in a performance industry.

    But at the same time there’s much to be said about the unconscionability of a “no-compete” clause that last for a period of infinity years, as well a provision that would require a fighter to remain in the employ of a company in perpetuity. I think there’d also be a question of enforceability of the no-compete clause etc. were he to fight in say Japan or Russia. In the case of someone having a “no compete” clause 6-12 months following the completion of a contract, I think in many cases that could be considered a commercially reasonable length of time.

    Even in the case of the judge finding unconscionability in some of the terms of the contracts (i.e. “no competes”, “renewal terms”) there is no doubt a clause which deals with severability, in which case the remainder of the contract would stand regardless of the unenforceability of the disputed provisions.

    So the result might be that he must in the least honour the remaining months and/or fights on the contract even where the rest of the disputed provisions are not enforceable.

    But I know for a fact there’s a pretty famous case that’s still “good law” in the US about a studio actress (Faye Wray I believe) who quit working for one studio and wanted to work for another but they attempted to enforce clauses in the contract which would never allow her to work for anyone but that studio. Since they were in a line of work that had limited employers and was quite specialized (analagous to MMA)- where the court struck down the contract (basically along the lines of not good public policy to force someone to work for someone against there will and bar them from earning a living in their field of choice).

  41. The Gaijin says:

    And now having actually read a few of the articles (mainly Adam Swift’s) it appears my rambling was for nothing.

    It seems that Zuffa has filed not with respect to his actual “fight contract” but with respect to the “employment contract” itself (re: outside of the ring capacities). They are operating under the assumption in the SoC that the “fight contract” is valid and attacking him for his IFL connections etc.

    This is pretty smart b/c they’re going after him on another matter while not running the risks of having their standard fighter contracts subject to a ruling of unenforceability.

  42. Dave2 says:

    “The problem is, your analysis of Dana White’s professionalism is completely off point. At best, he controls 10 percent of the company.”

    It doesn’t matter if he controls only 10% of the company. His public behavior is atrocious as a spokesman for the UFC. He needs to keep his professionalism and his ego in check. It’s one thing to be a potty mouth but the way he talks about his employees, the fans, the internet mma media, agents and just about everyone and everything else is very sleazy. Dana White is a 12 year old boy in a 38 year old man’s body with the fits he throws. The fact that he is only a 10% owner is irrelevant when pointing out his unprofessional and immature conduct as the company president.

  43. Ivan Trembow says:

    It’s hard to say how this case is going to turn out, but I’d expect that Randy Couture would defintely be bound to Zuffa until October 2008, and that the one-year no-compete clause after that would also probably hold up in court because no-compete clauses of one year or less usually do hold up in court.

    So, at that point it would be October of 2009 and Couture would be 46 years old. The obvious question at that point is, “What could Couture possibly accomplish in MMA when he’s 46 years old?” but then again Couture defied the odds at 43 years old to win the UFC Heavyweight Title and then successfully defended it when he was 44 years old, so who knows?

    The issue goes beyond October of 2009, however, as Zuffa is essentially trying to make Randy Couture their property for life with these clauses regarding contracts being able to be “extended indefinitely” if a fighter is unable to accept a fight for any reason whatsoever (whether it’s injury, resigning from the company, or anything else). That amounts to a no-compete clause for all of time, and there’s no way that is legal or would hold up in court. No-compete clauses lasting more than one year have a horrible track record of holding up in court.

    Heck, the UFC wouldn’t have been able to sign their latest headliner, Brock Lesnar, if not for the fact that WWE was basically getting their ass kicked in court when they tried to enforce the six-year no-compete clause that Brock Lesnar signed (as part of the WWE contract from which Lesnar quit just months after signing due to the stress of being on the road in WWE).

    In addition, the so-called “champion’s clause,” where the UFC tries to essentially claim ownership of a fighter if he is one of their champions, is not likely to hold up in court. In a previous case where BJ Penn won a UFC title on the last fight of his UFC contract and then went to fight for more money in K-1 Hero’s shortly thereafter, Zuffa sued him on the grounds that the “champion’s clause” in the contract that he signed should have made him bound to Zuffa even though his title victory over Hughes was the last fight on Penn’s contract. As with Lesnar and WWE, that was not going well for Zuffa in court and just as with Lesnar it led to a rather one-sided settlement that very much favored the individual (Lesnar, Penn) over the corporation (WWE, Zuffa).

    The IFL thing would be a fairly blatant violation of Couture’s no-compete clause if he was actually the coach of that team in the IFL, but he’s not, nor was he ever scheduled to be. Shawn Tompkins is. The only potential issue there is the fact that the word “Couture” is in the name of the gym that Shawn Tompkins coaches out of (ie, “Team Xtreme Couture”). This could be a non-issue by tomorrow if they just change the name of the IFL team to “Team Tompkins,” with the same coach that it was always going to have: Shawn Tompkins.

    So, basically, Zuffa would obviously have an air-tight case when it comes to their contract with Randy Couture through October 2008, and would probably have a good case when it comes to the one-year no-compete clause if indeed there is such a clause in the contract with very clear language detailing it, so that would lock Couture up contracually through October 2009, but beyond that, I think they have a very weak case as far as their efforts to lock Couture up contractually for the rest of his life.

  44. Dave2 says:

    If Randy Couture is frozen out until October 2009, that’s going to suck. If Randy was unhappy with Zuffa, his best bet was to decide to bite the bullet and defend the UFC belt vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in February (too late for that now of course) and then fight one last time in the UFC in summer 2008. Between Nogueira and another challenger (Sylvia maybe), Couture probably would have lost at least once so he wouldn’t be stuck with an extension due to the champion’s clause right?

    Then he’d be free to sign with M-1 Global to take the Fedor fight October 2008 and then he can finally retire at 45. This plan would have worked unless there’s something about the Champion’s clause that I’m missing.

  45. The Gaijin says:

    Well one would think that plan would lose a lot of the appeal and drawing power of “settling the best HW mma fighter in the world” if Couture lost to someone in the UFC.

  46. Dave2 says:

    That’s true but I don’t see how else Couture is gonna get out of this. This court battle could take a long while and he could be iced out until October 2009, when he will be 46 years old as Zach said. He’d be out of action for over 2 years.

    If there is one good thing that will likely come out of this court case, it’s that Zuffa will be exposed for having such ridiculous contract clauses and this will set a precedent for less one-sided fighter contracts in the future. These contract terms are going to make the UFC minor league and not be taken seriously by the mainstream media. It’s bad enough that you have mainstream newspapers criticizing the UFC payscale (particularly the lower to mid end of it). As Trembow said before, this kind of stuff makes the UFC look bush league to outsiders of the mma world. The mainstream media will continue to liken the UFC as more of a WWE offshoot than a legitimate sport if they don’t clean up the practices over there.

  47. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    The most recent of the rulings about reserve type clauses and restriction of player employment was Bosman, but that was in the EU.

    That lead to the elimination of intra-EU roster nationality restrictions and essentially brought free agency to soccer.

    Someday there will likely be an equivalent court test for an MMA contract, but this isn’t it.

  48. Dave2 says:

    Well of course the Randy Couture case won’t be analogous to the Bosman ruling, the Bosman case was a huge landmark in FIFA and the case went on for a long time.

    As a soccer fan, I’m quite familiar with the Bosman ruling. Jean-Marc Bosman was being totally worked by his club. I can’t believe that they had such ridiculous contracts in FIFA all the way up until the early 90s. What happened was Bosman’s contract expired in 1990 and a French team offered a transfer fee ( to his club to buy the player. His club rejected the offer as they felt it was not enough and the player was not allowed to be let go despite having an expired contract. They then reduced his wage by 60% because he no longer was a starter for the team. Five years after his contract expired, they finally came up with this ruling. Bosman later received $1 million in damages. He damn well deserved it considering how badly he was being played.


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