Depending upon whom you ask, Randy Couture resigned or retired from the Ultimate Fighting Championship on October 11, 2007. Since that time, he has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Zuffa owned promotion.
With billionaire Mark Cuban's company HDNet being one of the main suitors for Couture's services when and if he is ever clear of his legal entanglements with the UFC, both HDNet and Couture were handed a clear blow to their legal efforts in the Texas Court of Appeals on Friday.
HDNet has pursued a declaration stating the finality of Couture's fight contract with Zuffa and when he would be free to fight for another organization. Its efforts were denied on Friday, however, when the Texas Court of Appeals found that the lower court that was acting on the HDNet litigation had engaged in "a clear abuse of discretion" by permitting it, according to a statement released by Zuffa.
The Texas Court of Appeals granted Zuffa's motion to compel Couture to arbitrate in the District of Nevada, staying all further action by HDNet against Zuffa in the state of Texas.
"The practical effect of the Court's decision is to allow Zuffa to continue its prosecution of claims against Mr. Couture in the Arbitration presently underway here in Nevada without any regard to the flaccid claims of HDNet and its management," explained Zuffa's Las Vegas counsel, Donald J. Campbell, Esq. "Based upon evidence uncovered during the interrogation of Mr. Couture during his deposition, we have every confidence that Mr. Couture will be held accountable for the serious and ongoing breaches of his contractual obligations to Zuffa."
The arbitration process is currently in the "exploratory" phase of depositions, meaning there are more depositions to come before the actual arbitration begins, possibly within the next month or so.
The arbitration, which is taking place in Nevada, should determine the outcome of Couture's fight contract with Zuffa and whether or not he will be held to it or if he will be free to go elsewhere.
The arbitration is administered by the American Arbitration Association, wherein the arbitrators were mutually agreed upon by Zuffa and Couture's lawyers.