Randy Couture appeared on a recent edition of “Submission Radio” and offered up his thoughts on a possible Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather match.
Check out the complete interview in the video above, as well as highlights below:
An update on how soon the Ali Act can be voted in
“Well, we expect it will probably take at least until June, especially with the transition going on, but obviously the transition is moving faster than people expected. Again, with the chairman, the vice chairman and the senior member not opposing the language in the bill and what we’re trying to do, that gives it an opportunity to be fast-tracked. So we’re potentially looking within the next two to three months that we’ll take this to a vote instead of waiting six months till June. Once it’s in a vote, there will be a transition – If it obviously gets approved – there will be a transition period for the sport. You know, it doesn’t happen overnight. You’re not just going to flip the switch and change the system overnight. It’s going to take some time to change the system and comply basically with the federal legislation. And I don’t know how much you guys know or understand what’s going on, but the flaw that’s basically being used in mixed martial arts is that the promoter and the sanctioning body in mixed martial arts are the same person. It’s a lot of power. It definitely skews the leverage and power in favour of the promoter, who is also the sanctioning body setting up the rankings and the titles that we as athletes hope and aspire to fight for. That leverage and power allows them to sign fighters to very exclusive, very limiting contracts, signing away their ancillary rights and many other things in perpetuity forever that normally under the Ali Act with boxing would not be allowed. So that’s the biggest thing that the Ali Act does for us as mixed martial artists, is it changes that structure, it separates those powers.”
What the UFC would think about the Ali act being so close to being a reality in MMA
“Well it wouldn’t just change the UFC’s business practices, it would change the business practices for the entire sport. All the promotions are using the same flawed system. And I mean yeah, again, I think if it gets passed there’s gonna be a transition period where the promotions are going to have to decide whether they’re gonna remain a sanctioning body that sets rankings and titles or if they want to be a promoter that promotes fighters to fight for those rankings and titles. The change would create an open competitive market. Right now, it’s a very closed anti-competitive market. 90 percent of the funds that they generate in our sport right now are coming through the UFC, so obviously they don’t want to see this change. They’ve had a license to basically to print money off the backs of fighters since 2000, since the last 16 years. Certainly, the new owners maybe didn’t understand or didn’t see what was potentially coming, but I absolutely believe the Fertittas knew what was coming with the class action lawsuit and then now the fighters uniting with the fighters association and trying to get the Ali act amended to protect us like is does boxers. So I’m sure it’s gotta be concerning to them. They are lobbying, they’ve hired lobbyists and my understanding is they’ve spent over a million dollars with lobby groups trying to shut this down and tyring to spin it and convince people that it doesn’t need to be changed, that it should just stay the same – which in my opinion is a lot tougher position to sell. But it’s gonna be an interesting year, for sure.”
If Randy believes McGregor can use the Ali Act to get out of his UFC contract to fight Mayweather or if he thinks the UFC will team with him to do the fight with Floyd
“We’ve already seen the complete 180 from Dana. Rather than fighting Conor, where he was stripped of his 145-pound title and even dropped out of the top ten rankings in that weight class having not lost a fight, I think was backlash for his public voice about the boxing match. We’ve already seen Dana do a complete 180 and now he’s offering both Mayweather and McGregor significant amounts of money to be involved and promote that boxing match. So I think (John S) Nash’s estimation is exactly right, which is exactly why this is helping our movement and what we’re trying to do on the federal legislative level with the Ali act. I think the one issue that McGregor’s gonna have is that he has no real boxing experience, he’s a mixed martial artist. So finding a commission that is going to be willing to sanction him to fight arguably the best boxer in the world right now in Floyd Mayweather, is going to be a problem. It’s one thing to have a guy like James Tony get licensed in mixed martial arts even though he had no mixed martial arts background – which happened, obviously. I fought him in Boston. Somebody sanctioned that event. I think James wasn’t exactly, and nor was I, the number one guy in my weight class at that time, so maybe it was a little easier to sell. I think it’s a little tougher to sell Mayweather-McGregor with McGregor’s boxing experience. And it would be tougher to sell Mayweather-McGregor in a mixed martial arts competition to get Mayweather licensed and sanction that event in mixed martial arts. So I think that is the hurdle, is finding a commission that’s going to be willing to sanction that fight and make it happen.”
If Randy’s giving McGregor any chance in a boxing match with McGregor
“Well, I think anybody that’s a game fighter, and Conor McGregor is certainly a game fighter, has a puncher’s chance. James Tony had a puncher’s chance going into a mixed martial arts engagement with me. I wasn’t silly enough to stand around in front of James or take James’ skills for granted. He’s a very, very good boxer, but I didn’t think he could stop a low single. And it was then a question of how much did he learn in the weeks and months leading up to that fight on the ground outside of his realm of expertise? Now, there are not too many boxers in the world in the last ten years that have been able to touch Floyd Mayweather. It’s a bit crazy to think that Conor McGregor as a mixed martial artist, not being able to kick, elbow, use clinch and dirty boxing tactics in a straight boxing match, is going to be able to go out against Floyd Mayweather and be anymore successful than anybody else in the boxing world has been. So I think it’s probably certainly he has, like I said, a puncher’s chance. Everybody has that. And Conor’s game, he’s going to get in there and do it. So there’s always that possibility. But rational thought will tell you it’s probably going to be a long night for Conor.”
Thoughts on Mark Hunt’s Lawsuit against the UFC
“Well, certainly it’s a civil suit, and the civil law is a little bit different than them arguing over a contract. There’s a little more leniency in the civil courts and it’s actually reasonable. And I think with timing with when things went public and what they knew, when they knew it – which is what Mark’s complaint is, that they knew that Brock Lesnar was dirty before that fight and they still allowed him to go out and fight, is the ground that he’s suing the company on now. Are they (the UFC) gonna get good lawyers and try to fight that tooth and nail? Absolutely. They don’t wanna set any precedence. But I understand where Mark’s coming from, and I think we as fighters all need to back him on that. Obviously it’s changed since I competed. We didn’t have USADA and all these things going on even five years ago when I was still competing. So I’ve never seen what that looks like, I’ve never had to report to anybody if I wanted to go on vacation or some of this other stuff that’s been done with the athletes that are in their contract right now. But I have to say, I kind of agree with Mark Hunt’s position. If they knew that he (Brock Lesnar) wasn’t clean going into fight night, then that fight probably should have never happened. It shouldn’t have been allowed to happen. So it will be interesting to see how that unfolds. Obviously, the class action lawsuit is another can of worms with the name plaintiffs listed – Cung Lee, Nate Quarry and Jon Fitch and those guys all doing affidavits now and their experience with the anti-competitiveness of the UFC in general. And obviously class action suits can take a long time to settle, but they’ve got three of the biggest class action law firms in the country that have all signed on, donating their time and energy. So they obviously feel pretty good about their position.
On the UFC losing some of its lustre and fan interest with too many shows and smaller names
“2017 is going to be a very interesting year for mixed martial arts. I think that the sport exploded so quickly, became so popular so fast, and obviously since 2005 and the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, it’s really going to change and skyrocketed on a global level. And it almost seems like there needs to be bit of a correction. You know, we’ve got two, sometimes three shows every weekend now. It doesn’t have the same sex appeal or lustre, or whatever you want to call it, that it had when there were eight or nine shows a year and you kind of got to know those athletes and you wanted to see whether they were gonna win or gonna lose or what they were gonna say in their interview. And obviously guys like Chael Sonnen and now Conor McGregor have took all that part of the marketing and the fight game to a whole new level in MMA, but I just think that – hell, there’s 80 percent of the fighters, I don’t know who they are, I don’t even know where they came from.”