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Just a few new legal clarifications from Randy Couture: in this latest interview he says that he resigned from his employment contract, not his fight contract. His fight contract expires in July on it’s own. Another thing he reiterated was that if the UFC was able to set up the Fedor fight somehow, he would be happy to do it with them.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … these small actions and announcements that Couture makes reek of smart lawyering in the background. While I think Randy and his people have given up on trying to win the PR war against the UFC, you can see them digging in to give a good defence in court.

You can mark March 29th on your calendar as the date you finally get to see Cung Le get his ass kicked. After fighting a couple mid-level bozos over the past two years, someone who doesn’t have Cung’s best interest in mind has decided that he’s ready to face Frank Shamrock, who seems like he’s still capable of whooping some serious ass when he actually feels like it.

No word yet on the amusing stunts Frank Shamrock plans on pulling to demean his opponent this time. For those of you who didn’t know, Frank Shamrock mercilessly taunted Phil Baroni regarding everything from his participation in gay glamor films to his marriage falling apart. As the fight closened he dressed his female assistant up as the New York Bad Ass and made a bunch of amusing youtube videos. In other words, this man is my fucking hero.

Of course, we’re still living in an age and time where making fun of someone for being Vietnamese doesn’t fly like making fun of Italian-Americans does. So we’ll see if Frank is going to be able to figure out some original and non-racist ways of making fun of Cung. Maybe he’ll use the homo card again?

There was some arguments in the forum regarding Dana White’s propensity for being an assface, and there were two general positions: those that felt Dana did a good job of controlling everything in order to protect the sport and his company, and those who agree but feel that he lets his personal opinions and feelings cloud his judgment too often.

Me, I think I lean towards the latter opinion. Dana’s like one of those abusive boyfriends … so fun, wild and exciting one moment but then in another he’s dragging you down the hall by your hair and calling you a whore. There’s no denying he’s done great things for MMA, but does that really entitle him to the unquestioning carte blanche many fans give him : “Dana knows what he’s doing! He can do no wrong!”

I’m not so sure anymore with this Randy Couture thing. While the UFC is definitely within it’s rights to sue Randy Couture and try to prevent the Couture / Fedor fight from happening, I have to imagine that a smarter businessman could have figured out a way to turn the tables and make this situation work for them.

Dana White has something of a history of getting suckered, which is probably why he’s so damned defensive now. The Pride sale turned out to be a pretty big bust – maybe you could have considered it a success when everyone thought it had killed off the UFC’s main competition. But with the rise of Zombie Pride and the apparent merge with HERO’s … yeah, no.

That wasn’t the only time Dana got bamboozled by Pride … everyone remembers the time Pride sent Wanderlei Silva into the octagon just to gain exposure for their company. After egg on his face like that, it’s not surprising Dana White finds the prospect of working with another promotion as appealing as a prostate exam.

So mix that initial general suspicion with an egotistical “Our way or the highway” attitude, and then a pinch of insane Russians and you’ve got a recipe for “No Randy Fedor in the UFC” soup. It’s not a very good soup, I have to admit.

So what could Dana have done? I dunno, but I do know that if he was craftier he could have figured out a way to sort all this shit out without losing Fedor to M-1 in the first place, and subsequently Randy to exile. Was the answer a one fight contract for Fedor? Was it some kind of negotiation with M-1 for a cross promotion? I dunno … only Dana White knows what cards he could have played.

All I know is that for all the hands there are, the only one he seems to be playing lately is the litigious one.

Remember when the writer’s strike seemed to guarantee that we’d be seeing a few early 2008 UFC events on prime time network TV instead of on PPV? Yeah, that was a fun thought. But word is now that the UFC has blown the negotiations with CBS over the same production control issues that killed the HBO deal. Add in the fact that other MMA companies are stepping in to offer better deals with less restrictions, and we’ve got a recipe for disaster:

NBC continues to talk with a number of players about late night time slots, including the IFL, Strikeforce, M-1, and K-1. Speculation within the industry suggests that Strikeforce, with financial backing from the owners of Hewlett-Packard, may have already came to terms with the network, however, such a deal would not preclude other promotions involvement.

I wanna know what happened to the Zuffa that bought Pride just to put them out of business and slotted the WEC on Versus to block other promotions from getting on cable TV? The Zuffa that recognized the threat of a rival promotion on television?

Perhaps the UFC thinks that since the IFL flunked out on MyNetworkTV that they don’t have to worry about another company getting on TV. But let me tell you something: If an eyesore like American Gladiators can become as big of a success as it has, you better believe that another MMA company will be able to pop too. The TV world is starved for content like Lindsay Lohan is starved for cock. And if the UFC misses out on this opportunity because they refuse to get rid of their stupid gladiator opening and Mike Goldberg, they’re making a huge fucking mistake.

Man, Dana White really hates the IFL. It seems like there’s no better way to get on his shitlist than to allow your name to be mentioned in the same breath as the team league. You’d think the focus of the UFC’s lawsuit against Randy Couture would be on the fact that he’s trying to sneak out the backdoor to fight Fedor in another promotion. Well, that’s in there too, but adding the IFL thing in is like ignoring the cake and squabbling over the crumbs. Here’s the skinny:

Monday’s lawsuit claims Couture’s negative statements about the company constituted “injurious falsehood and trade disparagement,” that has led to significant financial losses for the UFC.

The lawsuit also alleges conspiracy, stating that several unnamed parties to be identified at a later date worked with Couture to intentionally inflict harm on the UFC.

According to the lawsuit, Couture is also in breach of a stipulation that prohibits him from engaging in “direct or indirect competition” with the UFC for a period of 12 months following the termination of his contract.

Thus, Couture’s sponsorship and promotion of a team in the International Fight League would be in direct violation of the stipulation.

I’m especially partial to the whole ‘conspiracy’ angle, which I have no doubt is absolutely true. I’d eat my shoes if Couture hasn’t had serious (theoretical) talks with both M-1 and HDNet Fights by now. Something is obviously going on … Fedor and Couture are set to meet up on Thursday (no ulterior motive there), and there’s even rumors that Couture’s defense fund will be bankrolled by Mark Cuban. Oh, irresponsible unsourced rumors, where would my site be without you?

Normally I’d say Dana and Zuffa are just being hella paranoid, but there’s no doubt in my mind that everyone and their dog wants Randy vs Fedor to happen so badly that they’re all in on this massive plot to help Randy escape Zuffa’s evil grasp. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the judge rules in Randy’s favor simply because “Randy vs Fedor is simply too sweet of a fight to deny.”

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