The standoff between the UFC and Georges St-Pierre is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
After St-Pierre rocked the MMA community with his declaration that he is no longer under contract with the UFC, the company promptly responded that the former welterweight champion remained under an existing agreement with the promotion.
The language in that contract is something that St-Pierre’s lawyer, James Quinn of New York firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, suggested was a “form of slavery,” according to MMA Fighting.
“They’re basically tying him up for life,” Quinn said while stating how “blown away” he was by what he read. “They have no rights and they own all of his licensing and all the other things. It’s unheard of in the other professional sports. And they won’t get away with it forever.”
Quinn has been successful in cases against the NBA and NFL in the past but was shocked at how restrictive the French-Canadian’s contract was.
“You couldn’t get away with any old contract in any of the other sports,” Quinn said. “There is litigation in that aspect of a class-action lawsuit that challenges the contract as being illegal under the NHS laws. That case is ongoing, and I think that under the law’s terms, I don’t think the contract — that formal contract — is likely to stand up. Not in today’s world. It’s a pretty nice form of slavery.”
It doesn’t look like this will end amicably as both sides appear to be entrenched for the long haul. Quinn reiterated St-Pierre’s claims that he is, in fact, a free agent, after the UFC missed the deadline to offer him a fight. Obviously, the UFC won’t go away quietly and will likely drag him into a courtroom if St-Pierre decides to fight somewhere else. But Quinn wouldn’t rule out GSP competing in the Octagon again, as long as the contract is right.
“We take the position that we believe the contract has been terminated,” Quinn said. “They have their hand, we have our hand, we’ll see how it plays out. Georges still wants to fight and he’s perfectly happy to fight under a new UFC contract, if we can negotiate one. Or if not, he’ll look at other options.”