Reports are surfacing that former/current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture may be entering the Octagon cages for one last time. Couture has been in a legal battle with his former employer since he resigned from his post as champion last October. The reports are stating that Couture may be fighting one last time for the UFC before the year is up, then he will be released, free and clear from his contract.
MMAJunkie.com was the first to break this news, citing multiple sources close to Couture. It is unclear whether the UFC has accepted this out-of-court settlement or not, since they have stated since the begining that they contractually have the rights to Couture for two more fights.
Couture states that he signed a four fight, 18-month contract with the UFC in 2006. He has already completed two of those fights, and from his understanding the contract is set to expire after the initial 18 month period from when he first signed the agreement, which has since passed, even if there are two fights remaining on his deal.
Couture initially resigned from the company because he felt that he was not being given the level of respect that he deserved. Respect in the sports industry relates directly to monetary compensation. Couture felt that there was only one fight out there that would complete his illustrious career, and requested that the UFC pursue consensus #1 ranked Fedor Emelianenko.
When the UFC was unable to sign Emelianenko, Couture became agitated when he heard the figures that the UFC was offering the free agent. That seemed to be the final straw, and Couture decided that if that fight wasn’t going to happen within the UFC, then he would leave the MMA powerhouse and pursue the fight on his own.
Hopefully this compromise is indeed true, and MMA fans will be treated to the highly anticipated bout sooner than later. It may be unlikely, since the UFC has stood firm with their positioning throughout and feel that they are negotiating from a position of power. Couture signed for four fights, that means that he has two remaining. If he is going to fight again, the next two will be for them, otherwise not at all.