Official: Couture v Lesner winner gets Nogeira v Mir winner
Couture returns to UFC, faces Lesnar
By Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
56 minutes ago
Randy Couture, longing to resume his fight career and wearying of the drain his legal battle with the Ultimate Fighting Championship was having on his bank account, settled all outstanding lawsuits with the company Tuesday and agreed to defend his heavyweight championship on Nov. 15 against Brock Lesnar as the main event of UFC 91 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
The 45-year old Couture, who submitted his resignation to the UFC on Oct. 11 in a bid to force a fight with ex-PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko, said he was satisfied with the legal resolution.
It was a resounding victory for the UFC and its outspoken president, Dana White, who got Couture to extend his deal from two to three fights without guaranteeing Couture a fight with Emelianenko.
White said Tuesday that the fight will be in Las Vegas instead of Portland, Ore., as had been planned for UFC 91, because he felt the fight was so big that there wouldn’t be sufficient rooms and flights to Portland to accommodate the demand.
Couture was seated next to White in the UFC president’s Las Vegas office as they spoke Tuesday on a media conference call to announce the settlement. He said he was satisfied that his concerns – that prompted him to say at the time of his resignation that he was “swimming upstream” in his battles against UFC management – had been resolved.
“We’ve cleared the air and we’ve addressed a lot of those issues,” Couture said. “We’re both at a different place and both the company and myself are trying to move forward. I think we understand each other and, certainly, I would much rather fight in the octagon than anywhere else.”
Among the issues that led to Couture’s resignation was a dispute over his ancillary rights and the UFC’s demand that it own his image in perpetuity.
White declined to specify how the deal was reached and instead took a celebratory tact. He said the Couture-Lesnar bout will be for the heavyweight title, with the winner of the Dec. 27 fight between interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir to face the Couture-Lesnar winner for the outright belt sometime in 2009.
“It will be champion vs. champion,” White said.
After Couture’s resignation, the UFC sanctioned a bout between Nogueira and Tim Sylvia at February’s UFC 81 for the interim title. Nogueira won on a third-round submission.
Couture wouldn’t have the chance to fight Emelianenko at the earliest until at least the mid-point of 2009, if not later.
Complicating a potential Emelianenko match is that the Russian is signed to two contracts. His primary promoter is M-1, led by his manager, Vadim Finkelstein. But he has two more fights on a contract with Affliction Entertainment for any bout in the United States.
Affliction Entertainment vice president Tom Atencio said Tuesday he is finalizing an extension that would bind Emelianenko to Affliction through 2012.
“Randy has had a lot of problems with the UFC, but I’m happy there is light at the end of the tunnel and it appears he’s going to fight again before long,” Atencio said.
Atencio said he had no issue with a co-promotion with the UFC for a Couture-Emelianenko main event, but said he doubted the UFC would be interested in such a proposition.
White suggested on the conference call that Affliction is on the verge of collapse and intimated that there might be a way that a Couture-Emelianenko fight could be made in the UFC. Atencio hotly denied that and said he expects to turn a profit, or at the worst break even, after two more fight cards.
Lesnar, who was largely ignored for much of the 70-minute call, got irritated at the steady stream of questions regarding Emelianenko and lashed out at the media.
“I’m hearing all this talk about Fedor Emelianenko, but who gives a (expletive) about Fedor?” said Lesnar, who gets the title shot in just his fourth pro mixed martial arts match. “I don’t care. I’m fighting Randy Couture and that’s what this press conference is about. I don’t give a damn about Fedor. I’m tired of hearing about (expletive) Fedor. All right? Randy Couture is fighting Brock Lesnar Nov. 15. His No. 1 concern should be Brock Lesnar. And Dana White could care less about Fedor.”
White agreed, saying he had been frequently critical of Emelianenko publicly because of what he said was the Russian’s failure to face top competition.
He said he harbored no hard feelings toward Couture and would try to make a fight with Emelianenko if Emelianenko becomes a free agent. He stressed that the UFC would not get involved with Emelianenko until he was free and clear.
But he also said Emelianenko is a larger-than-life figure primarily because of the media. “Fedor is completely (expletive) irrelevant,” White said. “Completely.”
Couture, though, is suddenly relevant again, and he could make $3 million if the fight does one million pay-per-view buys, as White suggests is possible. White said after the call he projects the fight to sell between 1.2 million and 1.5 million.
Couture, whose three heavyweight title reigns and two stints as light heavyweight champ make him the only five-time kingpin in UFC history, said he was relieved to finally concentrate on fighting and not legal issues.
“It feels pretty damn good,” Couture said. “I feel like I’ve been walking around under a black cloud for the last year. To kind of have the clouds dissipate and see a little sunshine for a change is pretty nice.”
If by over three years, you meant 3 years and a few days, you would be correct.
If you consider Crocop, Coleman and Lindland nobodies, our conversation is done. Throw Hunt in there, who beat Silva and Crocop.
hence the smile buddy
Coleman is shot the only good fighter he faced was Lindlind, looks like we're disagreeing about something here, but I'm not sure what???? I think Fedor is a beast but he'll never fight in UFC most likely so its all speculation to see how he does in taht brand.