According to legal documents obtained by Adam Swift of Payout.com, the Mark Cuban owned HDNet Fights has entered into fight contract with Randy Couture; which is set to take effect as soon as his Couture’s contract with Zuffa expires. After which time the company will seek to reach an agreement with M-1 Global and Fedor Emelianenko to promote a fight between he and Couture.
According to Swift, the contract between Couture and HDNet Fights is what will allow the company to bring a lawsuit against Zuffa in Texas. Zuffa has stated that the terms of their agreement with Couture allow them to hold on to the fighter indefinitely according to their “retirement clause”, which doesn’t allow a fighter to retire as a UFC champion. Couture claims that the contract expires in July and now he has a powerful ally with deep pockets, in Mark Cuban, to help him assert his position.
“Zuffa’s position regarding Couture is both illegal and involves critical timing,” HDNet Fights stated in their court filing. “First, like all fighters, Couture’s ability to fight at a championship level will diminish as he ages. Through their actions, Zuffa seeks to ensure that Couture is prevented from gainful employment and practicing his craft until he cannot be an elite fighter. Importantly, the law in Texas is clear that indefinite employment restrictions such as Zuffa claims to be enforcing are per se illegal and against public policy.”
Regardless of the outcome both sides agree that Couture’s non-compete clause will hold up the fighter from competing until October 12, so that would be the earliest date that Couture could face Emelianenko.
For much more on this story, head over to Sherdog.com