“I do not think he wants to get involved in all this legal shit, but at the end of the day it’s all right, and he’s willing to stand up and use his voice,” the former UFC heavyweight champion and Hall of Famer said on Monday The MMA Hour. “I do not see him giving in.”
Nearly 15 years ago, Couture drew a line in the sand when he resigned from the UFC with two fights left on his contract. After a protracted court battle to win his freedom and fight Fedor Emelianeno, a saga that cost him $ 500,000 personally, he returned to the group and re-signed to defend his title. Brock Lesnar by UFC 91.
Couture finds it “interesting” things have come to this point in the first place; the UFC, he said, gave Ngannou “some leverage” by allowing him to fight his contract. But he does not expect the same respect for free agency.
Ngannou’s case is unique from Couture’s in that he said he had his contract with UFC 270 with his victory Ciryl Gane. This is even more unique because that contract contained a term of five years – apparently a UFC strategy to limit potential damage due to the promotion’s ongoing antitrust case by preventing the emergence of a more free-flowing market for talent create – which he believes will make him a free agent by the end of the year. The UFC, which keeps Ngannou under contract with a “champion’s clause,” will definitely dispute that, according to Couture.
“It becomes decisive when that clock starts,” he said. “When he signed the contract, that clock started, or it started when he fought that first fight, which was probably a number of months later. It’s for legal teams and lawyers to judge and find out, and that’s the problem.
“These guys have endless – well, not endless – but a lot of money. They will drag Francis into court and try to expose him of the money he has raised through his fighting, and at some point you will have to make a decision on what you want to do. This is what happened to me. I fought to try to make that Fedor fight happen, and spent a lot of my own money fighting the orders and things they tried to do to prevent me from carrying out what I saw in the language of the contract have and can go somewhere else because they could not make peace with M-1 Global, which represented Fedor.
“Francis will find himself in a very similar situation. If he tries to walk away [and says] the contract ended here, they are going to dispute it, they are going to drag him to court, force him to spend a lot of money on lawyers he is not going to do, and at some point he is going to have to make a decision … or he wants to stop spending money on lawyers and legal issues and go back and do what he likes to do, that is fought. It is a pity to be in that situation. ”
Couture saw firsthand the hardball tactics the UFC has used in the past, so he was not surprised to hear that the promotion threatened to sue Ngannou’s agent on the day of UFC 270.
“This is classic Zuffa and Dana White, ”Said Couture. “At the end of the day, they do not want Francis to have that power. They would have been much happier if Francis had lost that battle. I think that’s what they expected to happen, and I think Dana White can say what he wants, but he did not show up in that cage to put that belt around his heavyweight champion, he did not show up after the post-fight. not press conference, and there is a reason for that. He can say what he wants, but it’s because he sincerely hoped that Francis would not win that battle and that he did not have to deal with Francis. We would see Francis cut now, but Francis is still the champion and still holds that band. They have to deal with him. “
Like Couture, Ngannou said his demands to move forward with the UFC are not just based on money. Instead, it’s about a level of respect and the ability to pursue long-lasting passions, which in the champion’s case is a boxing match with someone like Tyson Fury.
They used similar language to express their fate. But while Couture got on the mat a few times with Ngannou at his Xtreme Couture gym where the champion practices, he said he did not specifically talk about his history with the promotion. Mostly, he passed on lessons to his longtime Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick, who eventually became Ngannou’s head coach.
Couture does not regret throwing in the towel over his legal battle, though he regrets that many of the “loopholes” he saw in the contract were later closed by the UFC, making it even more restrictive. In the end, however, he decided to fight and being the best in the world is far more important than waiting on the sidelines.
“I wanted to fight,” he said. “At the end of the day I am a fighter. I wanted to take a stand for myself and my family for what is best and for my financial interest and future. I wanted to be considered the number 1 athlete in the world, and that meant fighting Fedor Emelianenko. They named him no. 1 arranged and I as no. 2. As a fighter, this is the guy I want to fight, and I’m sure Francis will feel the same. At the end of the day, we are fighters. This is what we love, this is our passion. We want to be able to do that. ”