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.