Following Georges St-Pierre’s shocking announcement that he’s a free agent, the Canadian’s lawyer has questioned the validity of the UFC contract, comparing it to slavery.
Earlier this week on The MMA Hour, the former UFC welterweight champion announced he’d been released from his contract. Less than 24 hours later the UFC refuted this.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, GSP’s lawyer James Quinn has provided insight and offered his opinion on the structure, language and legal status of the UFC contract.
“I’ve done a lot of work in sports. When I read that contract, I was blown away by how restrictive it is,” Quinn said. “They’re basically tying him up for life. 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. You couldn’t get away with any old contract in any of the other sports. 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.”
GSP has hinted at a return to the Octagon has been for some time, but the two parties couldn’t come to terms. Quinn provided more information on some of the back and forth that has taken place in 2016, which ultimately in his professional opinion led to contract termination.
“He notified them earlier this year that he was ready to fight again,” Quinn said. “He wanted to arrange for the terms of the fight, and that did not happen in a timely fashion. They were required to actually schedule a fight, the time and place with a bout agreement, and we gave them – because there’s a 10-day notice period in the contract, in the old contract — we gave them the 10 days to do that, and they didn’t do it before the time period. And therefore we terminated the contract.”
So what happens now? Does the UFC come back to the table and re-negotiate with GSP? Has that train left the station? Can St-Pierre talk to competitors such as Bellator? Quinn says the ball is in the UFC’s court.
“It’s really up to the UFC, whether they’re willing to negotiate another contract or not,” Quinn said. “We’ll have to see. I can’t really predict that.”