Randy Couture. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After months of being tossed around in his separate lawsuits with UFC parent company Zuffa, Randy Couture, the promotion’s current heavyweight champion, will now find out whether or not he can pursue a showdown against top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko later this year.
Dallas, Texas District Court ruled yesterday to deny three motions by Zuffa to dismiss or delay Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights’ request for a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to his promotional contract (the deal that dictates where Couture can fight) according to Sherdog.com.
Judgment will now be made in Texas court on June 2nd, a date that could either make Couture a free agent after his current deal with the UFC expires this summer or force him to fight two more times inside the confines of the Las Vegas-based organization.
HDNet Fights reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with Couture back in February, thus the request for a decision on Couture’s contractual status. Zuffa originally filed to remove HDNet’s request back in March. The move was made because the suit was not filed in Nevada, where Zuffa is based. However HDNet MMA 2008, the name Cuban filed suit under, is a Nevada limited liability company. Zuffa also alleged that HDNet’s Nevada address was an attempt to manipulate the court’s jurisdiction, but the accusation fell on deaf ears.
Even if he is granted free agency, Couture will still have to contend with a defamation suit Zuffa filed against him in January. The lawsuit cites that Couture made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management. They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the employment contract he signed with the company.
The accusations stem from the International Fight League’s attempts to field a team using the Xtreme Couture gym name. The lawsuit, which will now go ahead in court, will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent him from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.
“Redbelt”, the latest movie to be based off of the world of mixed martial arts, was released in theatres nationwide earlier today. Unlike “Never Back Down”, which was released earlier this year, the cast of the film has some more notable names - Tim Allen and Chiwetel Ejiofor for starters.
MMA fans will be pleased to find that a wealth of major players in the sport are featured in the flick as well. Those who see the film may enjoy the presence of UFC commentator Mike Goldberg, grappling wizard Jean Jacques Machado, radio host Scott Ferrall, and longtime veteran Enson Inoue. However the biggest part played by an MMA presence is that of current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, who plays the role of Dylan Flynn.
I haven’t seen the movie just yet, (I plan to this weekend and will give a full report afterwards) but early reports suggest that while the film may be lacking in action/fight scenes, it’s still a decent movie. James Brydon of Rogers Sportsnet gives his must-read take here.
Terry Martin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Terry Martin was victorious in his professional boxing debut this past weekend, knocking out opponent Ricardo Upchurch in the first round. Martin revealed last week that he would be trying his hand at boxing before his participation at Combat Fighting Championships’ May 17th event at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
TUF 8 Hopefuls Move On
This time around it’s the mainstream media that is breaking news when it comes to possible participants for the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, current TKO heavyweight champion Krzysztof Soszynski was informed over the weekend that he was one of 50 finalists picked to fly out to Las Vegas for a four-day training camp at the UFC’s training facility. The Boston Herald reports that Woody Weatherby will also be attending the camp.
Couture Won’t Rule Out Return to UFC
MMARated.com‘s Ariel Helwani conducted a must-read interview with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture recently. Couture touches on a bunch of different questions that MMA media and fans alike have been curious about since the whole ordeal between him and Dana White and company began.
Most interesting is the fact that despite all of the lawsuits and harsh words, Couture still won’t rule out the possibility of returning to the UFC one day:
I think if this whole thing has pointed out one thing to me it’s that I have an opportunity to control my own destiny a little bit and, potentially, through this process, change the way the fighters are paid and the way things are done in MMA and those are important things for me as a fighter. There are a lot of guys that are still scratching out a living and all the cards are held by the promotions. And, certainly, the most powerful promotion in the landscape is the UFC. So, would I say “never will I fight for the UFC,” well, I am not going to say “never” because there are circumstances where things could change but that’s the way I feel right now.
Hong-Man Choi Headed to the Army
According to Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion, Hong-Man Choi will head to the South Korean army training center later this month due to a mandatory requirement to serve his country. Because of his size, Choi won’t serve in battle, but is expected to be out of MMA action for at least three years. More here.
Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
It’s been almost a month since Kurt Angle starting telling everyone that he was “fighting” Randy Couture and although we all know that the two are interested in a grappling match, Couture isn’t going to wait around for something that might not happen, kind of like Angle’s promised MMA debut.
From MMA Weekly:
“I’m not too worried about it either way,” said Couture. “When it is signed on the dotted line and it can really be a reality then I will definitely start training and getting myself into top grappling shape, sharpening all those tools for a match with him.”
Couture also went on to say that he’d likely have to wait for an official ruling on his contract with the UFC. Remember that the last submission-grappling match he competed in against “Jacare” in November 2006 was during his brief retirement from the sport.
However what is more concerning is Angle’s continual exaggeration of his status when it comes to MMA. Nevermind that he’s still saying that he’s actually fighting Couture in interviews, now he’s flat out stating a match with Couture is signed when it’s really not even close.
Dana White speaks at a press conference for UFC 70: Nations Collide. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Mark Cuban and HDNet netted a minor legal victory over Zuffa earlier this week when U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted HDNet their motion to move Zuffa’s current lawsuit against Cuban and his mixed martial arts promotion to Texas State Court.
HDNet Fights reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture back in February. The deal will have the promotion attempt to set up a showdown between Couture and top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko later this year.
The deal was also involved in an attempt to garner an official court ruling on a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to his promotional contract (the deal that dictates where Couture can fight). Zuffa claims that although Couture resigned from the UFC, he must live up to the remainder of his current contract.
Last month, Zuffa filed to remove HDNet’s declaratory judgment action brought against the company. The move was made because the suit was not filed in Nevada, where Zuffa is based. However HDNet MMA 2008, the name Cuban filed suit under, is a Nevada limited liability company.
Zuffa alleged that HDNet’s Nevada address was an attempt to manipulate the court’s jurisdiction, but a move of the lawsuit to Texas is believed to be a blow to the owners of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, who were rumored to have some pull in Nevada.
Photo courtesy of FedorMMA.com.
With Fedor Emelianenko’s summer showdown with Tim Sylvia hopefully all but set in stone, it’s refreshing to see the popular Russian taking on an opponent that is highly ranked in the eyes of just about everyone.
Emelianenko’s last true challenge came against Mirko Filipovic in PRIDE almost three years ago (or against Mark Hunt if you had him ranked high enough) and MMA media and fans alike have spouted constant criticism ever since.
The Fedor-Sylvia matchup brings along with it many potential positives. Along with the fact that one of mixed martial arts’ hypothetical dream bouts is about to be signed, sealed, and delivered, fans longing for a promotion to become a viable alternative to the two Zuffa-owned organizations may finally have a prospect in Affliction Clothing and those working with them.
The rumored roster alone gives them at least an outside chance.
However the appearance of initial success also has the possibility of ending badly for some, possibly for all who were irked at the situation surrounding the world’s top heavyweight. Is it possible that Fedor’s next fight could cause history to repeat itself?
Photo courtesy of ProElite.
Three days since a Las Vegas judge denied UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s requests to dismiss parts of the lawsuit Zuffa filed against him in January, new information has already come to light regarding Dana White and company’s suit as well as an attempt to potential declaratory judgment for HDNet Fights.
Similar to Mark Cuban’s attempt to find out the contractual status between Couture and the UFC, Zuffa has filed for arbitration on Couture’s promotional contract, seeking to get a definitive answer on Couture’s grievances as well as Cuban’s declaratory judgment.
At the same time, Zuffa has also filed to remove HDNet’s declaratory judgment action brought against the company in Texas district court last month. The move was made because the suit was not filed in Nevada, where Zuffa is based.
However it matters not - HDNet MMA 2008, the name Cuban filed suit under, is a Nevada limited liability company. Zuffa alleges that HDNet’s Nevada address is an attempt to “manipulate the court’s jurisdiction.” according to Swift.
HDNet has now filed a motion to move the case to a Texas court, which the court granted. Zuffa has until March 28th to respond to the move.
On a side note, it seems that the preliminary injunction Judge Jennifer Togliatti granted Zuffa against Couture last month still allows Couture to corner his fighters when they are competing in other organizations.
RawVegas’ Dave Farra reports outside of the Clark County Courthouse in Las Vegas in the above video. Earlier today a judge denied UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s requests to dismiss parts of the lawsuit Zuffa filed against him in January.
The lawsuit cites that Couture made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management. They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the employment contract he signed with the company.
The accusations stem from the International Fight League’s attempts to field a team using the Xtreme Couture gym name.
The lawsuit, which will now go ahead in court, will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent him from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.
A suit filed by HDNet Fights owner and popular billionaire Mark Cuban, made in hopes of earning a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture with the UFC, has not yet been heard in court.
Gary Shaw (center) speaks at an Elite Xtreme Combat press conference. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Among those fielding answers on Tuesday’s conference call for next weekend’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” event included EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw.
When it comes to the drama involving Randy Couture and his desire to fight the world’s top heavyweight in Fedor Emelianenko, Shaw has been relatively conservative in his answers. With the Ultimate Fighting Championship handing lawsuits out like candy these days, it’s no surprise.
Neither was Shaw’s answer when asked why his name and promotion were not being linked to rumors about a potential home for a showdown between the two legends of the sport by Chris Fries of The Lights Out Show, a member of the TAGG Radio network.
“I won’t do anything until Randy Couture is absolutely out of his contract with the UFC,” Shaw said. “Everybody knows me and my reputation. I do not tortuously interfere with anybody’s contract with any fighter. I respect the fighter, I respect the contract, and believe it or not, I respect the UFC. I don’t deny that I have had talks with Fedor, but I have not approached Couture and I can’t approach Randy until I know he is out of everything with the UFC.”
However pretending that all of the smoke had cleared and both fighters were free men, Shaw’s answer to playing host to a fight between the two was loud and clear.
“I would sign it in less than a heartbeat,” said Shaw.
The prospects of a fight between Couture and Emelianenko happening under the EliteXC banner would be absolutely huge for the promotion. The chances of it happening also increased recently when Couture stated in a recent interview that he didn’t have a preference where the fight took place, as long as it didn’t take place in the UFC.
“I don’t care where it happens as long as it doesn’t happen in the UFC,” Couture said in the interview. “Outside of that, I don’t care where it happens as long as it does happen.”
Among the many organizations lining up to bid for the Russian’s services, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Emelianenko’s management team have both confirmed that they are interested in speaking with each other once again in hopes of striking a deal.
While negotiations between the two sides ended badly last time around, one has to assume that Emelianenko may be looking for a solid home after his dilemma with M-1 Global. EliteXC officials will be praying that he doesn’t choose the house of Dana White and company.
The Lights Out Show is part of the TAGG Radio Network and is hosted by Chris Fries and The JDH. Be sure to visit TAGGRadio.com, TheLightsOutShow.com or iTunes to be able to listen to their most recent show as well as past shows in the archives. The Lights Out Show airs live every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 8 PM ET exclusively on TAGGRadio.com.
From Phil Sharp. on Flickr.
Mar 20 7:00 AM: The FightWorks Podcast has informed us that Professional Submission League is currently in talks with both fighters regarding a potential submission grappling match. The PSL is the same organization where Couture grappled Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in November 2006. Like I said before, Angle was a little overzealous with his remarks.
I’m not making this up but I’d take it with a grain of salt.
During a recent audio interview with Between the Ropes, an affiliate of ESPN 1080 in Orlando, Kurt Angle revealed that has signed on to fight current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture later this year.
“I’ve signed with an organization, I can’t tell you who it is, but we’ve both signed on to do it, me and Randy Couture,” Angle said during the interview. “It’s probably going to happen in late summer or late fall. I started my training for it last week.”
Angle also went to say that he would never go into a fight against Couture without being ready, attempting to dispel a rumor that started to float around earlier this week concerning recent comments he made according to the former Olympic wrestler.
He also discussed how the UFC was the only promotion to actually offer him enough money to fight but he didn’t take the deal since Dana White wanted him to quit wrestling with TNA.
I have to be honest, when I first started listening to the interview, I really didn’t think it was Angle. It sounds sort of like him, but not really. However after doing a little searching and finding that Angle sounds exactly the same in his interviews with our friends at Jarry Park, I’m assuming that it’s him.
Now as for whether or not his comments are legit remains to be seen. Angle has always been known to be a bit of an exaggerator and I highly doubt that Couture would have and will sign anything until his contract with the UFC is all figured out.
However if this turns out to actually be something, could it be Golden Boy Promotions that is making a bigger splash than we actually realize?
Something tells me that will probably turn out to be nothing more than a submission grappling match.
Turns out this news comes out the same day that Zach Arnold finds that Angle may also be fighting in a “mixed martial arts-type” of match against Naoya Ogawa and Josh Barnett. Sounds more like a pro wrestling shoot match courtesy of the brains of Antonio Inoki to me. Then again, this Angle-Couture thing could be something similar.
Touch of gloves to reader “Humpzilla” for the assist.