Published February 20, 2008
Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban's HDNet Fights filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Dallas last week
against UFC's parent company Zuffa LLC in an “attempt to get a court ruling” on when UFC fighter Randy Couture's contract expires and when he can fight for a non-UFC promoter, according to Dave Meltzer of YAHOO SPORTS. The suit "comes on the heels of Zuffa's attempt through the Nevada courts to get an injunction to bar Couture from appearing on rival MMA shows, citing a non-compete clause" in his employment contract. Couture’s employment contract is “separate from the fighting contract, which is the basis for Cuban's suit." Couture signed an 18-month, four fight contract with UFC in January ‘07, and said that when it expires on July 19, “the contract is over.” He has previously said that he will "honor the non-compete from the employment contract and feels he can fight again in October." Zuffa claims Couture "didn't fulfill his contract, and that he owes them two more fights." Meltzer noted a potential fight between Couture and former Pride champion fighter Fedor Emelianenko "would likely have more business potential on [PPV] than any MMA fight not promoted by the UFC." Couture topped 500,000 buys on both of his '07 UFC matches and a fight with Emelianenko will "likely show the upper limits of what the best fight possible, without UFC backing, could draw on [PPV]" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/18).