Couture gets restraining order against Beard

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LAS VEGAS – Randy Couture, the Ultimate Fighting Championship's popular heavyweight champion, isn't the only member of his family with a fight on hand.

Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Douglas E. Smith on Wednesday issued an order of protection barring Todd Eugene Beard, the president of Affliction Inc., from "contacting, intimidating, threatening or otherwise interfering" with Couture's wife Kim. The restraining order prevents Beard from attending the weigh-in of UFC 91 on Friday and from being at Randy Couture's fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday when he defends his title against Brock Lesnar.

In her request for protection from stalking, aggravated stalking and harassment against Beard, a convicted felon who in October pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of making criminal threats to another man, Kim Couture said Beard became upset when she asked for accountings of monies owed to her and her husband from the use of Randy Couture's name and likeness on Affliction t-shirts.

Affliction is not only the manufacturer of high-end t-shirts that are popular among mixed martial arts fighters and fans, but Affliction Entertainment promotes MMA fights and is attempting to position itself as a direct competitor to the UFC. Randy Couture was among the first MMA fighters to enter into a business relationship with Affliction, but the relationship between the sides soured in the last year.

Kim Couture said in court documents that during a telephone call last month between herself, her attorney, Samuel Spira, and Beard, Beard launched into an obscenity-filled tirade and threatened to "get" her when she requested access to the company's books.

In her request for the order of protection, Kim Couture wrote, "Not only has Beard refused to cooperate, but instead, he has resorted to a series of threats and acts intended to intimidate me and otherwise coerce me to 'back off' on my insistence that he and his company give proper accountings.

"These threats culminated in a series of calls to me and my attorney, Sam Spira, on October 17, 2008. During those calls, Todd Beard, in the most profanity laced and obscene filled rants, literally screamed at the top of his lungs that he would 'get' us and otherwise make us regret that we had persisted in our efforts to get proper accountings."

Beard's lawyer, Michael Bassiri of Newport Beach, Calif., told the Associated Press that allegations that Beard threatened Couture were "complete nonsense."

"I think they took his statements incorrectly that there was any sort of physical harm implied," Bassiri said. "He didn't threaten them. It was only regarding a business relationship."

Couture hired former FBI agent James Perry to conduct a background check on Beard. Perry's investigation, which Couture submitted to the court as part of her request for an order of protection, referred to Beard as a "career criminal" and claimed that Beard's "criminal history and personal background reveal an individual who poses a direct and imminent threat to Mrs. Couture as well as members of her household."

Couture's complaint also noted that Beard has a history of violence against women, allegations Beard's lawyer also denied.

Denise Zullo, with whom Beard has a daughter, has alleged in court that Beard has struck, intimidated or threatened her and has received court protection from him in the past.

In a December 31, 1997, request for a restraining order, Zullo testified that in the late summer of 1996, Beard punched her in the stomach while she was pregnant. She also testified that on May 13, 1997, she sprayed him with pepper spray to stop what she called "another of his violent, drunken outbursts."

On Oct. 28 in Bellflower, Calif., Beard withdrew a not guilty plea and instead pleaded no contest to charges of criminal threats, in which Karlos Shaverdian alleged that Beard had threatened to kill him. Judge Charles Q. Clay III found Beard guilty and set sentencing for Jan. 28.

Beard served 30 months in a federal prison from 1993-95 after pleading guilty to three felony counts, of conspiracy, wire fraud and mail fraud. Those felony convictions may end billionaire Donald Trump's association with Affliction's MMA promotional company. Trump holds a gaming license in New Jersey and gaming licensees are not permitted to do business with felons.

Beard could not be reached for comment and Jeremy Silkowitz, a spokesman for Affliction Entertainment, did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.