Mark Cuban

Dana White Featured in September Playboy


Dana White. Photo courtesy of Playboy Magazine.

Playboy’s regular readers might have something a little extra to look forward to this month as Dana White is featured in the magazine’s usual monthly interview slot for the September issue.

The UFC’s head-honcho opens up on a bunch of topics, including the future of the UFC, the downfall of boxing, his feud with Tito Ortiz, his thoughts on Mark Cuban and Donald Trump, and a failed multi-year deal with HBO among other things.

The September issue was released this past Friday and is now available on newsstands everywhere as well as online at www.playboydigital.com. Selected quotes from the interview are after the jump, courtesy of Playboy themselves.

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UFC vs. Couture Battle Moves Back to Vegas


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.

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Couture Moves Closer to Contract Ruling


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.

HDNet-Zuffa Battle Moved to Texas Court


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.

The news comes from Adam Swift of MMA Payout and Sherdog.com.

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.

New Info on Zuffa/Couture Lawsuit


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.

The news comes courtesy of Sherdog and MMA Payout‘s Adam Swift.

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.

Mark Cuban, MMA Defender

Leonard Shapiro, writing for the Washington Post, rips into CBS for airing MMA, referring to it as a “so-called sport” in his opening paragraph.

For all of Shapiro’s insisting that MMA is barbaric and setting our culture backwards, we have quotes like these:

And wouldn’t it be something if CBS aired its first MMA telecast a few hours after its Saturday afternoon Masters coverage on April 12? Perhaps network publicists could refer to the twin bill as Beauty and The Beast.

...snip…

Oh yes, women will also fight it out on CBS, yet another revolting development.

So women who want to fight shouldn’t be allowed to?  And the “Beauty”, the Masters, is held at Augusta National Golf Club - no women members there*.

So, what year is it supposed to be?

Shapiro goes on to attack various people associated with mixed martial arts, including HDNet founder Mark Cuban:

Even billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is getting involved, promoting MMA matches and also airing them on his HDNet channel on DirecTV. For that alone David Stern ought to fine and suspend him. He probably yells at those refs, too.

Cuban retorts:

Maybe rather than surfing past the fights, you should actually watch one. Or better yet, since you apparently cover Football, talk to a player on the Redskins or better yet, the team doctor and ask them if they “beat the bloody bejabbers out of each other”. Then ask them this, “are there automatic suspensions for any hints of concussions or injury after every game or simply for precautionary reasons ?” There are after every fight in MMA

I started writing this before I even realized he linked back to MMA on Tap (nice), but Cuban’s sentiments echo my own.  Just watch the fighters.  Watch how they train, watch how they’re governed.

What was once fringe is now more regulated than some of the top team sports in the country.

* Women are allowed to play at Augusta National, as long as they’re with a member.

Cuban and McMahon: Match Made in MMA Heaven or Hell?


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.

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Report: Couture Joins HDNet Fights; Seeks Dismissal in Zuffa Case


Photo courtesy of ProElite.

HDNet Fights has reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture which will have the promotion attempt to set up a showdown between Couture and top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko later this year.

The news comes from a report by Adam Swift of Sherdog and MMA Payout, who states that the deal will likely go into effect at the time of the expiration of Couture’s promotional contract with Zuffa. Without some sort of deal in place, a Texas court will likely throw out HDNet Fights suit filed against the UFC’s parent company last week.

The lawsuit, which was filed by HDNet Fights owner and popular billionaire Mark Cuban, was made in hopes of earning a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to his promotional 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.

It is interesting to note in Cuban’s claims against Zuffa that he points out “indefinite employment restrictions” such as the ones set forth against Couture by Dana White and company since his resignation from the organization last fall are against the law.

In related news, Couture has also requested the dismissal of the pending lawsuit Zuffa filed against him last month according to Brian Knapp of The Fight Network.

The lawsuit cites 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 employment 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 direct 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.

The motion will be heard on Tuesday, March 25th.

Couture believes that one of the promotion’s ideas in filing a lawsuit against him is to attempt to have him spend so much money on legal proceedings that he will have to come back and fight for them.

“It’s unfortunate that things have kind of degraded to that point,” Couture said in a recent interview with MMA Weekly. I’m sure that’s part of their ploy, to force me to spend enough money that I’ll have to come back and fight for them, which isn’t the case.”

Cuban, HDNet Fights File Suit Against UFC


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 news comes from Adam Swift of Sherdog and MMA Payout, who reports in an “ironic” twist that Couture will actually technically serve as Zuffa’s co-defendant in the case.

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.

Five MMA Things I Want for Christmas

Since it’s Christmas Eve and there’s not a lot of news going on, I thought why not make a list of MMA-related things that I’d like to see next year.

These are in no particular order…

1. Randy Couture vs Fedor Emelianenko - I’m not the only one that wants to see this. EVERYONE wants to see this. It’d be the biggest fight ever. Since Fedor opted to sign with M-1 Global instead of the UFC, we are going to have to wait until at least October to learn whether or not Couture’s contract with the UFC is really finished or that’s he going to have to fight twice more in order to finally get out.

Hopefully what Couture says holds true. If not, Dana and company have to work out some kind of working partnership with M-1, at least for the sake of the fans if nothing else.

2. The return of Evan Tanner - Now that Tanner has officially signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, it’s only a matter of time before he is finally set to step back into the Octagon. I’m not doubting that it’s going to happen by wishing for it. I just want to finally see it take place.

The guy has battled some personal demons over the past two years and I’m sure that the majority of MMA fans would like nothing more than to see Tanner achieve his dream of fighting again in the UFC. On top of that, Tanner says he has the goods to knock off Anderson Silva. Ask anyone to make a list of fighters that could beat Silva and you’ll see Tanner on there almost every time.

3. Floyd Mayweather in MMA - After months and months of putting MMA down and then deciding that he might want to try it, it’s time to put up or shut up for boxing’s best pound for pound fighter. If he fights under Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights banner, money won’t even be an issue. If Mayweather does go into MMA, I think that he’ll try to spin it for all it’s worth. Based on the fact that he has zero experience, the athletic commission is going to force the matchmakers to put Floyd up against another fighter that has not fought professionally and has very little amateur experience, most likely a guy that Mayweather could knock out in the first round.

It’ll probably be an exhibition bout too. After that Mayweather will declare that boxing is superior to MMA and will never step into a cage again. Then a slew of professional MMA fighters will call him out and he’ll try to explain that he has no reason to go back and fight again in MMA. Still, it’ll definitely be fun to watch.

4. Josh Barnett and Takanori Gomi to sign somewhere - Ever since the demise of PRIDE, these two have been nowhere to be found. While Barnett kept some of the spotlight on him in 2007 with his war of words with Dana White and his submission grappling match a few days ago, he still hasn’t fought in an MMA bout since losing to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira nearly one year ago.

Gomi’s loss changed to a no contest against Nick Diaz was the former PRIDE Lightweight Champ’s only bout in ‘07. Since then, he’s been competely silent. These two are among the elite in their respective weight classes and aren’t getting any younger. It’s time to sign somewhere and get fighting again.

5. The UFC video game to come out in ‘08 - Yes, I know that it’s slated for a 2009 release but it could be finished early, right? It was UFC Throwdown’s release in 2002 that got me into the world of MMA. We haven’t had a new game since Sudden Impact in ‘04. The trailer for THQ’s new project looks amazing and I can’t wait. While I’m at it, Sam Caplan has a great article on UFC: Throwdown and what he hopes THQ will include in the new game coming out.

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