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UFC files lawsuit against Randy Couture

The gloves are off.

On Monday, the UFC filed a lawsuit against its heavyweight champion Randy Couture in Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Lawyers for Zuffa, LLC, the UFC’s parent company, on Monday filed suit in Clark County District Court, alleging chiefly that Couture’s comments about the UFC and its senior management caused the business irreparable damage and that he is in breach of the contract he signed with the company in December 2006.

“We are alleging numerous intentional torts, which have caused Zuffa and the UFC significant harm,” attorney Donald J. Campbell said. “Based upon that harm we are seeking to address these matters before a court of law.”

The UFC is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages from Couture and requests an injunction against Couture from participating in any way whatsoever with a fight promotion that is competing with the UFC.

It appears that Couture’s new relationship with the IFL has raised the ire of the UFC. Even though the IFL has never promoted the Xtreme Couture entry into their league as “Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture,” that doesn’t seem to matter to 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. Currently, the IFL’s Web site lists Couture’s Xtreme Couture team taking on Mario Sperry’s World Class Fight Center at the IFL’s Feb. 29 card at the Orleans Arena.

According to UFC president Dana White, Couture has broken his contract and attempts to resolve things peacefully were not successful:

“What’s really tough for me, to be honest, is we have been friends for a very long time,” White said. “The hard part is that he is not living up to his obligations. Captain America is not keeping his word. ..

“I expect Randy to honor the obligations in his contract that he signed (a year ago). I tried to resolve it by talking to this guy that I’ve had a relationship with for eight years and was unsuccessful,” White said. “Now this thing’s in the hands of the justice system.”

How did we go from UFC 68 last March to this?

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