There has been much speculation surrounding what Randy Couture calls his “resignation” from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and what the company’s president, Dana White, refers to as Couture’s “retirement.”
Through confidential investigation, MMAWeekly has been able to obtain the common language of the typical Zuffa, LLC agreement relating to a fighter’s “retirement.” (Zuffa is the parent company of the UFC.) It is unclear if this is the exact language in Couture’s contract, but sources have confirmed that this is the standard language used:
“If at any time during the Term, Fighter decides to retire from mixed martial arts or other professional fighting competition, then ZUFFA may, at its election, (i) suspend the Term for the period of such retirement; (ii) declare that ZUFFA has satisfied its obligation to promote all future Bouts to be promoted by ZUFFA hereunder, without any compensation due to Fighter therefore; or (iii) elect to provide Fighter with notice of an Acceleration.”
Based on White’s repeated public statements, it is clear that the UFC is interpreting Couture’s statement of resignation as retirement. Taken in the context of the above provision, this explains why White continues to state that the UFC has nine months remaining on Couture’s contract as Zuffa has elected to “suspend” or stay the term of his contract.
Further, the use of the term resignation in describing a person’s choice to not perform under a contract is unique. Typically, when a person decides to not perform pursuant to the terms of a contract, the person is considered to be in “breach of the contract,” not resigning from the contract.
However, when a party allegedly breaches a contract, he/she is able to argue facts that justify and validate why he/she breached the contract, which can/may excuse them from performing under the contract. This may be why Couture is saying he is “resigning” from Zuffa as he is claiming that the UFC failed to perform its obligations by not acting in good faith and for its alleged misrepresentation about his pay scale.
As there are countless treatises on the subjects of personal services agreements, the right to earn a living (Couture fighting elsewhere) and involuntary servitude (the 13th Amendment; Slavery – forcing Couture to fight for the UFC), this is definitely a fight for the attorneys to wrangle about in court.
Before this issue does become a legal wrangling, Couture plans to launch the next salvo in this war of words on Thursday at his Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, where he has scheduled a press conference to respond to White’s recent comments and the accusations made by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports in regards to Couture’s alleged payout per fight.