Randy Couture kicked off his press conference on Thursday saying, “I guess this is my opportunity to tell my side of things.”
And tell his side of things, he did.
Couture addressed many of the issues surrounding his recent resignation from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in every capacity, and made it apparent that the moment had been a long time in the making.
“I’ve had issues with Zuffa and the company since they bought it,” said the UFC heavyweight champion.
“Got off on the wrong foot over the ancillary rights in my contract and signing away my name and image, which then led to the video game and having myself pulled out of the video game, pulled out of the ad campaigns with Carmen Electra and all those things.
“Because I wasn’t willing to just sign those things away like most fighters had done to date at that point, I think that immediately put me on the outs with the manager, with Dana and the people that own the company.”
Of course, everything always comes back around to money, but Couture was adamant that the zeros on his checks were not the end game in his decision to leave the promotion that he spent so many years helping to build.
“This was never a money issue,” he said. “It’s been a prevailing feeling of respect that wasn’t being given.”
Couture also addressed a recent report from Kevin Iole on Yahoo! Sports that indicated he was to be paid “between $13 million and $15 million” for his current four-fight contract.
He handed out his bout agreements for his last two fights, which indicated his pay for those bouts, but did not include pay-per-view bonus money. For the recent fight with Gabriel Gonzaga, he was paid a base amount of $250,000.
He then proceeded to state that for his last fight against Chuck Liddell and his return bout against Tim Sylvia, those pay-per-view bonuses “amounted to about $500,000″ per fight and that the numbers had not come back yet for the recent Gonzaga bout.
According to his presentation, he stood to make roughly $750,000 per fight on his current contract.
But again, he circled back to saying that those numbers were not the whole of his decision. He did not discount that money was a factor though, saying that the last straw for him was when Fedor Emelianenko was offered more money as a signing bonus than he has ever made for a fight.
“I am tired of swimming upstream,” said Couture. “I am tired of swimming against the current.”