Originally posted by Dave MeltzerThe Fight Network has just reported that Randy Couture has quit the promotion, vacating his heavyweight title and leaving his job as a color commentator.
Couture, who works for The Fight Network itself, so there is no way they are going to miss on this story, wrote a letter from South Africa where he's filming the Scorpion King movie, to Dana White.
Not getting a match with Fedor Emelianenko played a part in his decision. The decision was made when it became clear the match with Fedor wasn't happening.
It is known Couture was one of the top UFC fighters who was unhappy when reading about the huge money guaranteed in the company's offers to Emelianenko, because he felt he and a few others were the fighters who helped build the current popularity and they weren't getting guaranteed income for fights anywhere near that level, particularly since they were bigger drawing cards.
With the decline of Chuck Liddell, Couture was likely the company's biggest short-term drawing card, and without question, was its most popular fighter.
Minotauro, Arlovski, Vera, Sylvia, Kongo aren't legit?
That being said, this is a monster blow to UFC if it in fact is a true 'quitting' from Couture and not a negotiating ploy. Couture's manager claims Randy has a fight-for-fight deal with UFC, but I find it hard to believe that Dana White would give that kind of a contract to anyone, let alone someone he slotted into a HW title fight. Even with Pride out of the picture and Couture's long relationship with UFC kept in mind, White couldn't take the chance of a guy winning the belt and then jumping to an upstart MMA organization.
From what I've read about Fedor, he and his manager were more concerned about staying in Russia and possibly starting an MMA organization of their own or in association with M-1. If Fedor ultimately wasn't crazy about signing with UFC, there's only so much money Dana could throw at him. It's certainly not like White didn't make an effort to get Fedor --- a Fedor/Randy fight would've been massive business.
Originally posted by Big BadMinotauro, Arlovski, Vera, Sylvia, Kongo aren't legit?
Well, Nogueira very nearly got knocked out and looked a bit weaker in his win over Herring than he did in Pride. Arlovski? No, just...no. Sylvia was exposed in his loss to Couture and will mostly be remembered for being Heavyweight Champion at a time when the division was at its weakest in the UFC. Kongo's getting there and looked alright in his last performance, but he shouldn't be considered anywhere near top contender for his division.
Vera - maybe. If he beats Sylvia.
Originally posted by thecubsfanSo, in Dave's story, Couture was upset about Fedor not signing and also upset about how much money they were offering him to sign? huh.
I was a bit thrown off by that too, but after thinking for a bit it makes a little sense. It may have been a situation where UFC was offering Fedor more and more money to come in, and this insulted the guys who felt they helped build and contributed greatly to the company. The rationale is then given to these guys that even if they think it's unfair, overpaying Fedor will be worth it. Then, after all that, they don't even get the guy.
It's too early to know for sure, and there's other factors I'm sure that once they're known will make the context of those two statements a little clearer.
I think more than that, though, it's the knowledge that with the developments over the past year and Cro Cop's embarrassing performances, Fedor/Couture was the only big money match for Randy in the forseeable future and that got thrown out the window. And even with his recent performances and good health at his age he probably wasn't going to be around for more than a year from now anyway. Regardless, it's worth noting that Meltzer said the Fedor fight not happening played into his decision, but wasn't the reason he quit.
Originally posted by Dana WhiteIím not surprised at all by Randyís decision. I talked to Randy several weeks ago and he said that if he couldnít 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 itís a great move for Randyís 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 Iím ready to promote him.
Thursday, October 11, 2007 by Josh Gross (email@example.com)
Randy Couture, the face of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and one of mixed martial arts most revered fighters, notified the UFC via fax from South Africa at 11 o'clock Thursday morning that he has chosen to resign from the UFC, "The Natural" confirmed with Sherdog.com.
"I sent the letter of resignation to the UFC today, resigning not only from my position in the company as a commentator and as an ambassador, but also as the heavyweight champion," Couture said over the phone from South Africa, where he is currently filming a movie.
"The motivation for the decision is two-fold," he continued. "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. And, two, I'm tired of being taken advantage of, played as the nice guy and basically swimming against the current with the management of the UFC. I have a lot of other things going on in my life that I'm doing just fine with. I don't need the problems. I don't feel like I get the respect I deserve from the organization, and that's motivation No. 2 for the letter of resignation that was sent today."
Couture (16-8) is the only fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight divisions. The current UFC heavyweight champion, he recaptured the belt in March by coming out of retirement to out-point Tim Sylvia. Couture defended the title in August, stopping challenger Gabriel Gonzaga in the third round.
The Sylvia win came after a year away from the sport after Couture suffered the second of two knockouts to then UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell. Couture won the first bout in the trilogy by capturing an interim UFC light heavyweight title in June of 2003, stopping Liddell in the third period.
Couture's ledger in the UFC reads like a who's who. "The Natural" first captured UFC heavyweight gold against Maurice Smith in 1997 before doing it for the third time against Sylvia in 2007.
A day after news broke that Fedor Emelianenko, the widely regarded top heavyweight in the sport, had apparently declined to sign with the UFC, Couture submitted his resignation.
"I want that fight and would have waited if the fight was offered to me," Couture said. "Knowing what they offered him, I would have made demands to get paid equally or better than him as the champion. Whether or not those would have been met is another question."
"I'm not surprised at all by Randy's decision," UFC president Dana White said in a statement published on UFC.com. "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."
According to Couture, nine months remain on his current UFC deal. However, White said Couture "is still under contract with me, and I'm ready to promote him" if he chooses to fight again."
"As we all know, Randy retired before," White said. "The landscape in MMA changes every day."
Until he is in a position to fight Emelianenko, said Couture, he will concentrate on acting, franchising Xtreme Couture training facilities, and expanding the Xtreme Couture clothing line.
His success outside the ring is proof of his success inside the Octagon. But Couture said it was a lack of respect by the UFC, in particular its president Dana White, that led him to resigning.
"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," Couture said. Polling other athletes, said Couture, he learned that his compensation -- some $250,000 a fight with pay-per-view bonuses, according to the Couture camp -- was nowhere near what other top UFC fighters were making.
"All us athletes are all pretty tightly intertwined," he said. "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."
Couture's rocky history with the Zuffa-owned UFC began in 2001.
"I think what set us off on the wrong foot was that my management [at the time] wasn't willing to give up ancillary rights across the board with no option for some sort of compensation," said Couture, alluding to a reason cited by Emelianenko's representatives as to why the Russian did not end up with the UFC. "All the other athletes at that time were signing those contracts. That created a lot of animosity and got me pulled out of the Carmen Electra campaigns to promote the athletes and the sport and the video game and all that stuff."
Beyond the money, both Couture and his wife Kim stressed Thursday's resignation from the UFC was about respect. It's a move "The Natural" acknowledged could have far-reaching effects.
"Certainly there's personal motivation for resigning and taking a stand for myself," he said. "If it sets a precedence that down the road requires athletes to be treated better than that's icing on the cake."
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.