MMAWeekly has a pretty solid article breaking down the positions of both Randy Couture and the UFC. Here’s what they have to say for the UFC, based on a general contract they swindled from somewhere:
“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.
This is interesting because I originally assumed Dana White was being a douche by using the word ‘retirement’ when talking about Randy. Turns out they were sending a very clear message: look at your retirement clause, you ain’t going nowhere, bitch.
Past that point, you can’t really argue with the fact that a person can’t ‘resign’ from a contract. However, the flip side of the coin in this scenario is equally interesting:
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.
I suppose the best chance Couture has of wrangling his way out of his UFC contract is to prove misrepresentation about his pay scale. But I’ve said it before: his contract came with a pretty plum PPV cut, and while other fighters may have made more than him on individual fights, I would be shocked if Randy’s overall contract wasn’t #2 like Dana said. However, you might notice that when ESPN asked Dana if Randy was the 2nd highest paid fighter, he dodged the question. Iiiiiinteresting.
Last but not least, I’d be shocked if the Slavery amendment in the constitution came in handy for a rich white guy. Of course, what laws in America *don’t* benefit rich white guys? I just find it hilarious that of all the cases where you could cite the 13th amendment, it would be for Randy Couture. Classic.