Looks like dreams of a Mark Cuban-sponsored mixed martial arts smackdown for the ages are on hold. For the last several months, Cuban’s HDNet cable network has been working behind the scenes to put on an MMA rumble between Randy Couture (think Captain America with cauliflower ear) and Fedor Emelianenko (think Ivan Drago with chest hair, a pug nose and a wicked right cross). Last week, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas essentially told HDNet to butt out of a contract dispute Couture has with his former employer, Ultimate Fighting Championship, meaning that until things are worked out between those two parties, an Emelianenko-Couture fight is on hold.
The fight would be huge: Couture is widely regarded as the best American heavyweight in mixed martial arts, and Emelianenko is considered the best MMA fighter, period. The problem is Couture is under contract with UFC, and Emelianenko won’t fight for the Vegas-based company. HDNet hopes to put on a fight between the two, but for now, the network will have to wait until a Nevada court makes a ruling on whether Couture still owes the UFC some fights or if he is free to fight for whomever he wants. --Jesse Hyde