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 Picking up the pieces on the resignation of Randy Couture

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PostSubject: Picking up the pieces on the resignation of Randy Couture   Fri 12 Oct 2007, 2:54 pm






It’s the morning after one of the most shocking announcements in the relatively brief history of mixed martial arts.
Talk about a monster hangover.

UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture has unexpectedly resigned via fax from a movie set in South Africa. Rather informal, considering his history with the organization and what “The Natural” symbolized.

The surprising manner in which this situation was handled has set the MMA world on fire. Let’s just try and address some of the issues that are at the forefront of the discussion.

  1. 1. Randy resigned because PRIDE FC champion Fedor Emelianenko chose M-1 over the UFC: True … in part. Here’s a snip from Captain America on Sherdog.com:


“I know Fedor (Emelianenko) just signed with another organization and that’s the only real fight that makes sense for me at 44 years old as the heavyweight champion of the UFC. That’s the fight I wanted and if that can’t happen it doesn’t make sense for me to compete with all these other guys. And then obviously that’s not going to happen now.”

  1. 2. Randy resigned because he felt that he wasn’t compensated well enough: True … in part. Here’s another snip from Sherdog.com:



“I think the final straw for me was meeting with Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta, UFC co-owner) where they claimed I was the No. 2 paid athlete in the organization, which I know is a bold-faced lie.”

  1. 3. Internet sites are partly to blame for his misconceptions on the UFC payscale: False. UFC President Dana White mentions in a Yahoo!Sports article that Internet sites are “the lowest of the low” and affect fighter perceptions of fair pay. Here’s Dana:


“This business is like a beauty salon. These guys are all the toughest guys in the world, but they’re like (expletives) in a beauty salon. They pass along rumors and gossip, which has no basis in reality and they believe all the (rumors) they hear. The Internet is very powerful and one of the best promotional tools we have, but it’s a crazy place. They hear these rumors and they believe them and then they get insulted like (expletives) after we try to talk reality with them. They’ll say, ‘Well, this guy is getting this much,’ but when I ask where they heard it, it’s never a contract, it’s always, ‘I read it on the Internet.’ It’s crazy.”
No specific sites were ever mentioned. And the salaries that we post here are always direct from the athletic commissions. In addition, we always remember to include the caveat that the reported payouts do not reflect bonuses and such. Having said all of that, it’s hard to believe that a man as busy and well-connected as Couture relies on Internet sites for his information. In fact he says this:

“All us athletes are all pretty tightly intertwined. You hear what other guys were paid signing bonuses and what other guys were paid on the record and off the record with bonuses. I’ve heard Chuck’s numbers. Tito’s numbers. Hughes’ numbers. Quinton’s numbers. Cro Cop, Wanderlei. I heard what they were offering Fedor, and it’s insulting.”

  1. 4. Randy and Dana have a fractured relationship: False. In an interview with UFC.com White explains that he continues to have the utmost respect for Couture and harbors no ill will regarding his decision at this time. Quoteworthy:


“I consider Randy Couture a friend and still do…. I’m very confident though that once Randy gets back in town, if we see each other we’ll work this thing out. Not saying that Randy wouldn’t stay retired, because that’s what he wants to do - he wants to act, he wants to be on TV shows, that’s his goal - but I’m sure Randy Couture and I are gonna be friends for a long time.”

  1. 5. Randy can fight for another organization in nine months when his UFC contract expires (he has two fights remaining on his current deal): False, according to White. Here’s his take:


“… Randy is still under contract with the UFC … he can’t fight Fedor in another organization because he’s under contract to me. [His contract will] Absolutely not [expire in nine months].”

  1. 6. The UFC has sustained a direct hit and the ship is sinking: True and false, respectively. The loss of Couture is a major deal. It throws the heavyweight division into chaos … much like the 155-pound weightclass. Losing a high-profile star like Couture the way that they did, certainly makes the situation even worse. In addition, it means that the big SuperBowl weekend card is now void of a main event. Don’t be surprised to see Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva (if it gets signed) bumped to that card rather than UFC 79 in December. Regardless, White points out that the show can and will go on:


“No matter how great they are, fighters come and go, but it’s the sport that survives. Randy Couture retired once before and we didn’t collapse, did we? I love Randy Couture and what he represented. He’s a great guy and was a bad dude in that octagon. He’s the kind of guy I want to associate my company with, but I also know that as a fighter, he wouldn’t be around forever no matter what. We’ll survive. This is just another day in my life. Believe me, as much as I would like to be promoting another Couture fight, it’s not the news that is going to kill the UFC.”
Finally, in regard to Emelianenko, White has a few choice words for the Russian in the wake of this fiasco. Here they are [Note this is a mash up]:

“The negotiations with those guys were so nutty, that at this point, I don’t give (an expletive) if he ever comes with us. If there were real rankings out there, he wouldn’t be the No. 1 fighter in the world, believe me. Randy Couture is the top heavyweight. He’s proven it. He’s fought real guys. Who has this guy fought? Mark Coleman and Matt Lindland, who weighs 185 pounds. He’s (an expletive) middleweight. My philosophy has always been to sign the best guys and make them fight, but you see that this guy didn’t want to fight the best because he was impossible to deal with…. I actually think that Randy Couture would have smashed Fedor.”
There you have it. Draw your own conclusions. A tangled web has been woven. Only time will truly demonstrate the impact that the resignation of Randy Couture has had on mixed martial arts in general, and the UFC in particular.

source: http://ufcmania.com/
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