UFC heavyweight fighter Roy “Big Country” Nelson is currently in a holding pattern while a contract dispute with boxing legend Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions is settled. Square Ring levied suit against Zuffa, LLC (the UFC’s parent company) as well as Nelson individually for allegedly breaching a contract that dates back to Nelson’s appearance on a Square Ring-promoted bout titled March Badness, which took place in 2009. Nelson’s future in the UFC is currently in doubt due to the controversy, but “Big Country” told Ariel Helwani during an appearance on MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour that he expects to compete next year.
“As far as I know, I’m fighting in 2011,” Nelson told Helwani. “That’s my plan.”
Square Ring apparently alleges that Nelson and the UFC violated the “match clause” which was present in their contract with Nelson, allowing them to match any offers he received during a certain period. “Big Country” began his stint on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter after participating in the March Badness event; entering into the TUF house under the assumption that he was no longer under contract with Square Ring.
Speaking with Helwani, Nelson explained that he still doesn’t see how he is under contract with Square Ring considering the promotion has held no events since.
“I guess from a lawyer’s stand point or even a jury’s stand point, I think it’s kind of hard to say if you have any claims if you’ve never put on another MMA event ever in your whole entire life that I know of.”
Nelson was expected to face Shane Carwin at UFC 125 this January, but the bout was scrapped after Carwin withdrew from the fight with a back injury. Carwin and Nelson could potentially make good on the proposed bout, depending on Carwin’s recovery from surgery and Nelson’s status with Square Ring.