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Randy Couture and Dana White release statements

Both Randy Couture and UFC president Dana White have released statements in regard to reports earlier today that Couture has left the UFC and has vacated the promotion’s heavyweight title.

White issued the following statement via UFC.com:

“I’m not surprised at all by Randy’s decision. I talked to Randy several weeks ago and he said that if he couldn’t fight Fedor, then he has nothing left to prove in the sport of mixed martial arts.

He has been doing a lot of acting, and I know he is in South Africa right now filming a movie. I think it’s a great move for Randy’s acting career to retire from fighting while he is on top.

As we all know, Randy retired before. The landscape in MMA changes every day. So when he is ready to come out of retirement again, he is still under contract with me, and I’m ready to promote him.”

Uh, I’m calling shenanigans but I’ll get to that after getting to the the statement that has been made available on Couture’s official website, TheNatural.TV:

“Randy is very excited to embark on a promising career in acting, as well as spending more time with his wife and family. He’s currently shooting a lead role in Universal’s “The Scorpion King – The Rise of the Akkadian” in South Africa, and has more offers on the table.

His heart will always belong to the sport, and I doubt he will wander too far away from it, but it was a matter of respect and Randy felt the need to move on.”

So Dana White knew this might be coming and he’s not going to fight it? Yes, Couture only had a few fights left in him but the UFC needs those fights. He was without question the biggest thing in MMA and him walking away is a major blow to the UFC.

I’m hearing a lot of talk about acting from Dana, Randy, and everyone else. But Randy has the rest of his life to act. This isn’t about acting. Not to mention that Randy is more attractive to casting agents if he’s an active fighter competing for the biggest MMA promotion in the world.

This isn’t about acting, it’s about respect — the word that’s used in the last sentence of the statement that Couture’s official website issued.

There’s also Randy’s own words according to a quote in the original report by The Fight Network:

“However, I’m tired of swimming upstream at this stage with the management of the UFC.”

Tired of swimming upstream? This isn’t about acting. Maybe if he didn’t have acting gigs he wouldn’t have the option to walk away but there’s more than meets the eye here.

There are a couple of things that just don’t make sense:

1. If you read The Fight Network article it makes a passing statement at the end about Randy “hanging up the gloves.” But the story is being reported as “Couture Quits UFC” and not “Couture retires from MMA.” If you go to his website, the headline for his statement is “Randy Leaves the UFC.” Randy is either trying to throw Dana White under the bus or he has a loophole in his contract and he can get out of the final two fights on his current deal. Yes, I realize Dana said that Couture is under contract to him but this is the same promotion that thought it had a deal with HBO, thought Fedor was still under contract to them right after the PRIDE acquisition was announced, and told us PRIDE wouldn’t change.

2. Randy leaves the UFC as a reigning champion and notifies Dana via a letter? He’s not even sticking around to cash a few paychecks for broadcasting a few shows? I’m not a licensed psychologist or anything but I detect some issues between Dana and Randy.

Randy leaving the UFC is not only bad for the UFC but it’s bad for MMA. That being said, with the way everything is being reported I think Randy has one more fight left in him and I feel like the fight is against Fedor.

11 COMMENTS
  • Zack says:

    This is really, really bad for the near-term image of the UFC, but if the Ferttitas and Dana take this as a wake up call, they can turn it around. The UFC is bigger than one fighter (even if he is my hero and my all-time fave), but they need to take steps to secure the premier fighters they have on the roster. By secure, I mean more than money. They need to make these guys all feel respected and “wanted”.

    As was clear from his statements about making MMA a “real” sport that takes care of its fighters, Cuban must be talking to a lot of fighters and that must be the message coming across. It can’t just be Randy.

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  • Fin Diesel says:

    Not to promote another site, but Sherdog has talked to Randy and the article supports your idea that this is about more than acting. It is about respect given by Dana, and also the amounts other fighters make compared to him. I’m guessing the $2M per fight that was rumored to be offered to Fedor by the UFC was the final straw.

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  • […] Sam Caplan: Trying to figure out what Randy and Dana’s statements really mean […]

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  • Jackson says:

    The slow descent into boxing-style politics begins.

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  • Dan Cruickshank says:

    According to Randy Couture’s agent (i believe on the fight network’s original article) Couture’s deal with the UFC was just on a fight-to-fight basis. If that’s what Randy’s agent says, I’m sure they believe that to be true. Maybe the UFC dealt with him in that way because they were smug and just assumed that he’d have no place else to go? That he’d be loyal to the UFC? From Randy’s comments it sounded like UFC might’ve thought exactly that and taken him for granted.

    I’d pay a lot of money to see Fedor v. Couture. Let’s hope that it can still happen somewhere. Trigg’s take on the nature of his M-1 contract would certainly indicate that it would be a possibility.

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  • Mary Carrothers says:

    My whole family never miss a UFC PPV especially if Randy Couture is fighting. We will sorely miss him there and watch his career closely. We are also great fams of Fedor and will be watching for that fight to happen. I personally cried when I heard of the pittiful amount Randy was paid in comparison to other fighters. It is unthinkable the most popular, successful and respected fighter be treated in this fashion. There is a great void in the heavy weight division with Randy gone from the UFC. Dana has made a big, big mistake.

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  • Ivan Trembow says:

    Lie #1: “I’m not surprised at all by Randy’s decision.”

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  • King Famous says:

    Props to Randy for blowin it up! The money is in the fight — Training Everyday, Training Everynight cause everyday is like a fight!

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  • Phil Ivey says:

    And am alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll in LOL!!!!

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  • pokerpro1078 says:

    ivey is that really you wanna play some golf today lol

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  • BeenThereSinceUFC1 says:

    Who cares? Nobody cares. The UFC is bigger then it ever was and it keeps growing. UFC or MMA will not miss Randy Couture. There are so many other great athletes and personalities in the UFC and MMA that Randy’s absence will not hurt whatsoever. Maybe the true Couture fans…but not fans of the UFC! Get over it and stop whining…let the old man go act and enjoy the UFC product which all of you have been and will continue to pay for and support.

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