Back in 2007 Randy Couture was public about his displeasure with the UFC. He wanted to fight Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC did not take kindly to the idea. After some back and forth progress for both Couture and the UFC there was a settlement and that baffled some media outlets. Randy opened up to MMAJunkie:
I settled because I was 45 years old. They were going to drag it out as long as they could and basically try to bankrupt me. I’d already spent $500,000 of my own money to pursue getting away and being able to make the biggest fight of that time happen.
Now, with GSP fighting the same issues with the UFC relating to his own status and possible bouts left on his UFC contract it reminds Couture of his own struggles. Here’s what he said:
At the end of the day, it still boils down to the same issues. This company has been signing fighters to coercive and literally awful contracts for years. It’s been one of the things that I’ve fought with them over since day one, since they bought the company, over ancillary rights, over (right to match) and retirement clauses, and having a little bit of leverage as their heavyweight champion when they bought the company, we fought over all these things. It’s one of the reasons I’m persona non grata with the company now.
Here’s what the UFC said about GSP in a recent statement:
Georges St-Pierre remains under an existing agreement with Zuffa, LLC as his MMA promoter. Zuffa intends to honor its agreement with St-Pierre and reserves its rights under the law to have St-Pierre do the same.
GSP’s attorney Jim Quinn says St-Pierre is a free agent because the UFC breached a 2011 contract. The breach according to Quinn was that the UFC did not offer a bout soon enough after GSP made it clear he wanted to return. Couture believes the verbiage GSP used after he defended his title against Johny Hendricks.
I never heard him say the words, ‘I’m going to retire,’ which obviously can affect how they handle the contract. Generally, when you announce a retirement like that, it freezes your contract, so if you announce you’re going to retire and you have two fights left on that contract, then that’s going to freeze that contract, and you still owe the company those two fights if you decide to come out of retirement.
Most contracts have a clock on them – in 18 months, we’ll give you six fights. Obviously, if he retired, then that clock freezes, and that time doesn’t tick away. I don’t see that was the case with Georges, but then how do you rule then if he wants to take a hiatus? He’s obviously not active and not going to fulfill the fights that are on the contract.