Randy Couture. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
With a legal victory over the Ultimate Fighting Championship now looking unlikely for embattled UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, sources are claiming that the Team Quest and Xtreme Couture co-founder could return to the promotion for one last fight before the end of the year according to MMA Junkie.
Couture’s temporary return to the organization would be part of a deal that would settle his ongoing battle with the UFC in Las Vegas court over the terms of his current contract. Neither Couture nor the UFC have made any indication about the rumors even being partially true.
According to Michael Rome of Bloody Elbow, this apparently isn’t the first time that Couture has offered to return to the UFC for a “one-and-done” type deal.
After former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell was forced out of his main event slot at UFC 85 in June due to injury, Couture reportedly offered to take on interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira if the UFC would leave Couture free and clear of the rest of his contract. The UFC was said to have turned down the offer.
Rumors have been floating around for the past couple of days on various messages boards stating that the UFC may be interested in having Couture headline UFC 91 in November, possibly against fellow standout wrestler Brock Lesnar. However once again, neither side has commented on the matter.
Earlier this month, a Dallas appeals court blocked a separate Texas court from hearing HDNet Fights founder Mark Cuban’s request for a declaratory judgment concerning the contractual status of Couture when it comes to the UFC. Cuban reportedly entered into a contractual agreement with Couture back in February in hopes of matching him up against Fedor Emelianenko, who partially caused Couture’s departure from the UFC after the company was unable to sign him.
However since the hearings have been moved back to Las Vegas, the UFC has started to have closed-door arbitration hearings in an attempt to finally solve the battle between themselves and Couture that has now been ongoing for almost one year now.
Even if he is eventually 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. They also stated that the comments have caused 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.
Attempts to dismiss the above defamation suit were shot down by a Clark County, Nevada judge in March.
Couture resigned from the UFC last October, citing irreparable differences between the two sides and dissatisfaction with his salary and treatment. Couture believes that his promotional contract with the company ended on July 19 and that he will now have to wait through a 60-day non-compete period before signing with another organization.
His employment contract with the UFC, of which Couture did television commentary and promotional appearances, expires on October 11. Zuffa contends that Couture’s interpretation of his promotional contract is wrong and that he still owes the organization two more fights before his deal is up.
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