clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Randy Couture Subject to Legal Precedent?

Michael Rome thinks if legal precedent is any indication, Randy's got a tough sell on his hands:

I have not seen Couture's contract, but it is widely known that he is under a contract for four fights under the UFC banner over the course of two years.  For each fight he is paid a downside of $250,000, and receives a PPV bonus of somewhere in the range of $1-$2.50 per PPV buy.  Dave Meltzer reported in this week's wrestling observer newsletter that his bonus for the Tim Sylvia fight suggests that the PPV did 500,000 buys.  Meltzer also reported that Randy has expressed some doubts about the veracity of that number.  If he is able to prove that Dana White lied about the PPV number, and that the real number is actually higher, White will be in material breach, and Randy will be able to get out of the contract.  If he can't, his next two mixed martial arts fights have to be for the UFC, unless Randy wants to lose a lot of money.

A similar case arose in the boxing world in 1991.  Don King Productions signed Buster Douglas to a 4-fight contract with a low downside guarantee.  Douglas shocked the world by upsetting Mike Tyson, and was suddenly worth much more than he had signed for.  Mirage hotel wanted to get in on the action, and offered Douglas a substantial raise to come fight for them.  Douglas signed with Mirage, and King sued, because Douglas still had 3 more fights left on the deal he had recently extended.

I'm not going to bore everyone with all the legal details here, because it's a long and arduous case, but in the end, Buster Douglas was unable to use the courts to get out of his contract.  The court held that the deal he signed was completely reasonable to him at the time he signed it, and that it was an enforceable contract.  King, Douglas, and Mirage eventually settled out of court, and King was paid millions to relinquish his rights to Douglas's fights.  The odds of Dana settling like that are very low.  No court is going to force Randy to fight, but if he does fight, he will likely lose any lawsuit the UFC brings against him, and the damages could be substantial.

Does anyone else get the sick feeling in their stomach this is going to get very ugly, very soon? My parents were divorced and spent considerable amounts of time in court waging battle against one another. The end result is so dissatisfying to both parties and the collateral damage in between can be significantly more than either bargained for. Watch out.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow