Randy Couture. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The seemingly never-ending battle between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and it’s estranged heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, will now officially move back to Las Vegas after a Dallas, Texas appeals court blocked a separate Texas court from hearing Mark Cuban’s request for a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to the UFC on Friday.
Cuban is expected to appeal the ruling to the Texas Supreme Court next week. His HDNet Fights promotion reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with Couture back in February, thus the request for a decision on Couture’s contractual status. UFC parent company Zuffa originally filed to remove HDNet’s request back in March. The move was made because the suit was not filed in Nevada, where the company 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. Now that Zuffa has the court battle back on their home turf, they have began to have closed-door arbitration hearings in an attempt to finally solve the battle that has now been ongoing for almost eight months now.
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.
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 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.
From jdlasica on Flickr.
It’s been rumored that the McMahon family has been itching to become involved with mixed martial arts in some form for quite a while now. Those same rumors were similar for popular billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The only difference between the two sides at this point is that Cuban actually did enter the game by way of his fledgling HDNet Fights promotion last year.
In a recent interview with Jonathan Huntington of The Edmonton Sun, Cuban revealed his intentions to partner up with the first family of professional wrestling when asked if he was planning on building a promotion that would rival the UFC along with Vince and company.
“We are looking to partner where we can, do our own promotions where it makes sense,” Cuban said in the interview. “We think the future is built around the fighters and their personalities. No one else has this focus and partnership approach. We think it’s a winner.”
If there were any doubts as to whether or not pro wrestling and MMA would be able to interact and benefit from each other, one needs to look no further than Brock Lesnar’s debut at UFC 81: Breaking Point earlier this month. The event generated close to 650,000 PPV buys according to Dave Meltzer, the third highest total in UFC history.
So is a relationship between Cuban and the McMahons good or bad for the sport? It could turn out to be both.
From jdlasica on Flickr.
I kid you not, Mark Cuban has filed a lawsuit against Dana White and company.
Cuban and his HDNet Fights promotion filed suit in a Dallas, Texas district court in hopes of earning a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture when it comes to his employment contract (the deal that dictates where Couture can fight).
The declaratory judgement will hopefully provide Cuban with an exact date as to when Couture’s contract expires with the UFC, if it expires at all.
If you haven’t already caught the feeling of what’s going on, the judge’s ruling may possibly give Couture and mixed martial fans around the world good news, that a potential date with Fedor Emelianenko could become a strong possibility.
Clearing up some confusion that occurred on this site earlier, it is actually Couture’s employment contract and its one-year non-compete clause that is at the center of Zuffa’s suit, and not his promotional contract that came when he agreed to be part of the announce team along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan according to Swift.
A positive outcome for Cuban would be a huge for his HDNet Fights promotion to say the least as the Couture-Emelianenko showdown would likely take place under the banner of that promotion.
Zuffa filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Clark County District Court against Couture in January, citing that Couture has 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 emplyment contract he signed with the company.
Basically the lawsuit was filed because Randy’s Xtreme Couture gym will be fielding a team that will compete at the IFL’s next event in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29th. The UFC is claiming that Randy’s gym being involved with the IFL is a violation of his contract with the UFC.
The lawsuit will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent Couture from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.
Photo by Jon Swenson.
HDNet Fights announced today that it is partnering with Strikeforce to present four mixed martial arts events in 2008. The first of these events will be “HDNet Fights Presents: Strikeforce at the Dome” Live from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, Saturday, February 23 at 10:30 p.m. ET. This live exclusive coverage will only be available on HDNet.
“We’re excited about this new deal with Strikeforce as they are such a well respected MMA organization,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “This announcement reinforces our commitment to deliver a minimum of 24 events in 2008 and the partnership between HDNet Fights and Strikeforce guarantees many great match-ups for MMA fans.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to showcase our brand of mixed martial arts on HDNet,” said Scott Coker, President of Strikeforce. “HDNet delivers television content to viewers in the highest quality format possible and Strikeforce has worked diligently to produce the finest, world-class fights for mixed martial arts fans. Together, the two entities will be able to deliver a superior product.”
The evening’s main event features former University of Washington football standout and NFL lineman turned martial arts fighting sensation, Bob “The Beast” Sapp (8-2-1) meeting 6’11” K-1 kickboxing star and undefeated professional boxer Jan “The Giant” Nortje (25-17).
Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.
NEW YORK - The International Fight League and HDNet Fights today announced an agreement to televise the first three IFL events of 2008 live, beginning with the Friday, February 29 card from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
HDNet Fights will also air the April 4 card live from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and the May 16 event from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Each two hour show will carry a minimum of five of the eight fights on the card, including no fewer than two championship fights. This is the latest partnership between the IFL and HDNet, which began with the December 29, 2007, IFL Championship event from Mohegan Sun.
?“We are very pleased to be able to offer our fans around the country these next three events live and in HD,?” said IFL President and CEO Jay Larkin. ?The quality of our broadcasts is second to none, highlighting the outstanding athletes and exciting bouts as we start 2008 in Las Vegas, live on HDNet.?”
?“The first event we did with the IFL was a great success, and we are very pleased to be able to expand that relationship into the first quarter of 2008,? said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. ?HDNet Fights Presents: The IFL is a fantastic addition to MMA action on HDNet.?”
The Feb. 29 card will be the first in the IFL?‘s new camp vs. camp format, with Ken Shamrock?s’ Lion?s Den meeting Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest, and Mario Sperry?‘s World Class Fight Center against Xtreme Couture. The night will also feature three individual championship defenses, with lightweight titleholder Ryan Schultz, who defeated previously unbeaten Chris Horodecki for the belt, meeting John Gunderson, middleweight champ Matt Horwich, a surprise winner over Benji Radach, defending his crown against Ryan McGivern of Miletich Fighting Systems, and heavyweight champ and Las Vegas native Roy Nelson battling Fabiano Scherner. The two hour show will air live on HDNet at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
DALLAS - HDNet Fights announced today that it has partnered with Maximum Fighting Championship to present a LIVE event from Canada on February 22. It will be the first of three events in 2008 between the two partners.
“We’re excited to head to Canada to cover this event,” said Mark Cuban, president and co-founder of HDNet. “Bringing this live MMA action to our fans in Canada is a great way for us to reward all of our viewers north of the border.”
“This partnership with MFC helps to expand HDNet Fights outside the U.S., and to bring new fighters into the fold,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “We’re looking forward to traveling to Canada to bring our viewers this exciting event.”
Mark Pavelich, Owner and President of Maximum Fighting Championship, said the relationship formed between his organization and HDNet was exceptional and a perfect fit.
“Going into 2008, the MFC was determined to find a strong television arrangement to showcase our product,” he said. “The MFC has long been one of the best live shows anywhere with an energetic and entertaining atmosphere bolstered by the most loyal fans in mixed martial arts. Now with our partnership with HDNet Fights, more fans can realize that experience.”
HDNet Fights has announced it’s intent to cancel it’s upcoming event scheduled for February 15th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas according to a report from Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network.
HDNet Fights president Guy Mezger stated that the promotion plans to do some in-house work instead:
“We’re taking the time to build a little more infrastructure that’s all our own,” said Mezger. “Right now, we share a lot of it with HDNet and the [Dallas] Mavericks.”
So when will the next event take place? According to Mezger, it may be a little difficult to re-schedule for a couple of months based on the list of events going on at the arena:
“The availability of our venue is tough in March and April,” says Mezger.
Mezger isn’t kidding. The arena’s official events calendar shows that the months are chock full with events already scheduled to take place.