Randy Couture told Fox Sports that he’s expecting a ruling to be handed down this week in the Texas court where his UFC contract is being examined. Will he be free and clear in October, when the no-compete clause ends? Or will the two fights left on his contract and the “champions clause” hold up? We just don’t know, and even if we did know, there’s still the business of appeals to wade through after the ruling. But there is some indication that Couture’s attitude towards his former employers may have softened:
Couture said his status probably won’t be finalized even after the ruling because appeals are expected from the losing party. But Couture said he ultimately expects to face Emelianenko, the renowned Russian fighter who scored a 36-second submission victory over Tim Sylvia in the main event of Saturday night’s Affliction pay-per-view show in Anaheim.
“When, where and with what promotion — we don’t know,” said Couture, who exchanged challenges with Emelianenko after the Affliction show. “It could happen in UFC. We just don’t know. I want it to happen. Fedor wants it to happen. In some way, shape or form, we’re going to make it happen.”
Is this a subtle olive branch from “The Natural”? Could he be trying to tell the UFC that if they can still give him the Fedor fight, all is forgiven?
If Dana White really wants to put the screws to Affliction, stealing Fedor and using him to bring Couture back into the fold would seem like the most efficient (and also most expensive) way. Before now he might have been reluctant to spend that kind of cash just to crush “t-shirt guy”, but Fedor’s impressive performance against Sylvia got White’s attention.
As he told Yahoo! Sports, “It does (change my opinion). Tim Sylvia was a real opponent.”
Now that White is personally convinced of Fedor’s bona fides, all that’s left is to make the necessary concessions to him and his management team. If they’re willing to spend the money and swallow their pride (no pun intended) in order to make it happen, it could help the UFC destroy a competitor and revitalize their heavyweight division, not to mention putting on one of the biggest pay-per-view cards in MMA history.
If they’re not, well, then maybe Affliction will get their chance to etch their names into the record books by promoting the fight. Provided it doesn’t bankrupt them first.