(Couture and a pre-Headblade Dana White.)
The Las Vegas Review Journal has reported that lawyers for Zuffa have filed suit alleging that Randy Couture‘s comments about the UFC have led to significant financial losses for the company, and that he is in breach of his contract. The lawsuit is complicated by a “conspiracy” charge, claiming that other people worked with Couture to intentionally inflict harm on the UFC, and the breach-of-contract refers specifically to a stipulation that prohibits him from engaging in “direct or indirect competition” with the UFC for a year after he leaves the organization. Couture’s sponsorship of a team in the IFL may violate this, and Zuffa is seeking an injunction to prohibit him from continuing his participation. According to the article, “The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $10,000 and states that the amount of both compensatory and punitive damages would be proven at trial.”
Said Dana White:
“What’s really tough for me, to be honest, is we have been friends for a very long time,” White said. “The hard part is that he is not living up to his obligations. Captain America is not keeping his word.”
I’m curious to see how Zuffa will prove that Couture’s comments have caused “significant financial losses” for the UFC. Certainly it could be argued that pay-per-view revenue is down slightly because one of their marquee stars has refused to fight. But any scenario, I’d imagine, would require Zuffa to submit a full accounting of their revenue and financial status, something they haven’t always been forthcoming about. And how much “in excess of $10,000″ are we talking about, exactly? If Zuffa is really seeking a settlement in the low five-figure range, then the suit is more a public statement than anything else — i.e., we’re done arguing, and every dispute from now on will be handled by lawyers. And if Couture’s contract prohibits him from competing against the UFC for a year after his contract is up, then his intention to fight Fedor Emelianenko this year is a total pipe dream (as we’ve said before).
More on this legal fiasco-to-be as it develops…