Earlier this week Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reported that Couture’s salary, which has become the focus of discussion since his resignation from the UFC, was estimated to be worth $13-15 million. Couture’s agent, Matt Walker, tells Sherdog that the reported salary was “extremely innaccurate”:
“When I first read the story on Yahoo! I actually laughed because they are so far from fact. If he were getting $3.25-$3.75 million a fight then Randy’s compensation would not be an issue. However, I can tell you those salary numbers for Randy are severely inflated and I would love to know where they got the information.
I can tell you that this decision was made out of principle and would have been made regardless of the outcome. Randy is a man of integrity and felt he needed to make a stand. The story will be told in the results and I think everyone knows the type of man Randy is, as has been demonstrated over the decade, while others may have built a different type of reputation.”
Former MMAFrenzy.com contributor Adam Swift, who penned the column, says the UFC likely faces an uphill battle should the parties head to court:
“The situation seems ripe for litigation. It is hard to imagine that Zuffa is anxious to test the enforceability of its contracts in court due to the dire results that could accompany an adverse ruling. The company could face a legitimate labor crisis were key provisions of Couture’s contract to be found invalid, allowing other fighters to follow suit in leaving the company or demanding new contracts.”
Couture appears adamant on fighting Fedor Emelianenko in 2008 and will likely do everything he can to make that fight happen. Time is on the UFC’s side if they go to court and the promotion will likely focus on dragging out the proceedings to keep Couture out of action for as long as they can. The UFC knows Couture has very few fights remaining in his career and keeping him from fighting will only make this number smaller.
A potential ruling in this case will set a precendent for future disputes between the UFC and fighters, particularly what happens to their contract if they retire or fail to complete their required fights.