Randy Couture Wanted to Stay with the UFC: “They Just Weren’t Interested”

February 14, 2013
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Randy Couture

Randy Couture

UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture wanted to stay with the UFC, but company officials didn’t offer him a significant enough position to keep him interested.

“I’ve been trying for a year and a half, since I retired, to get some sort of significant position with the company and stay with the company.  They threw me the four FOX episodes a year and acted like they were doing me a favor doing that.  I mean, it is what it is,” Couture told Knockout Radio, an official content partner of MMAWeekly.com.

Couture feels his relationship with UFC parent company Zuffa, LLC began to sour during their battle over ancillary rights.

“When they signed on to take over the brand, I had new management that understood what ancillary rights were and all those things and we fought to maintain control of my ancillary rights, my image, and all those things.  I’m one of the few fighters that’s in a position to have all those things intact still.  That started off the relationship with Zuffa on the wrong foot,” said Couture.

“I was brushed out of a lot of that stuff and taken out of a lot of stuff because of my position on it and it never really improved from then on.  So things are what they are and I’m doing what’s best for me, what’s best for my brand, and all the things that I think are important to me, which is the sport and athletes and that hasn’t always been in line with what was best for Zuffa and Dana White and the guys in charge there,” explained Couture.

Couture’s deal with the UFC would not have prevented him from doing television with Spike TV or anyone else.

“A deal with the UFC would have still allowed me to do television stuff and movie stuff with whomever.  I think obviously the biggest issue now is Dana sees or feels like I am working with his competitor in Bellator and Viacom, and I understand there’s a fine line there, but still there is a distinction.  But it doesn’t matter, there was no deal with Zuffa.  They didn’t offer me a position.  They didn’t really offer me anything significant,” he said.

“There was a 30-day, non-compete and an out for either one of us to resign or however, I could be let go and I could let them go for no reason given on both sides and I had to basically make a decision and resign so that the 30 days didn’t infringe on the start date for the show,” said Couture.

“I tried everything I could do to try to get something significant worked out to stay with the company and there was just nothing there, they just weren’t interested.”

Despite the rocky relationship with the UFC, Couture says he won’t advise fighters to not sign with them.

“I’m not going to do that.  It’s still one of the best promotions in the sport on the planet.  There’s still a ton of marquee value in fighting for that brand and in that promotion.  I’m not going to steer anybody away from anything,” said Couture.

“Guys have to go where the course of their careers leads them and I don’t harbor those kinds of feelings.  I’m not that type of person. Unfortunately, I don’t think Dana can say the same thing.  But I have got to be true to myself, do what I think is right.

“I want what’s best for the athletes I work with and if that’s an opportunity with the organization then great.  I’m going to focus on getting them prepared and be in the best position to win those opportunities and they’re going to have to sort out the business part of the fight game themselves and the same is true with my son (Ryan).”

Listen to Knockout Radio every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. EST on MMAWeekly.com.

  • isuckmassiveblackdick

    so basically Randy wanted a huge paycheck that would take money away from other people you know the people that are still fighting so he got butthurt

    • Jason Decipher

      Butthurt? Sounds like Dana to me! If you read correctly its not about what Randy asked for so much as what Dana offered. Couture knew he would get a better offer why blame him for doing so? He has rights to his name/image. UFC actually had to recall several Randy Couture action figures cause they used his name/image without permision. Whe UFC makes these action figures the UFC profits NOT the fighters they sign that right away to UFC

      • JimmyPettishardo

        No fighter with some level of bargaining power would sign away rights so easily.

        The UFC is doing what WWE does with intellectual property.

  • john

    Randy wanted what they all want, his fair share of the pie, rampage was right, aside from the main events, the fighters get paid s*** compared to what they have to endure amd how much the UFC makes off of em, and its sad! Dana white is a greedy @******, and is driving top fighters to other organizations, and if they amass in the same promotion, the UFC may finally have a significant competitor effectively ending its monopoly. One can only hope dana suffers for his greed and rude behavior by creating the promotion that hurts the ufc….

    • Advance*

      Yeah Rampage is really struggling with his monster truck and beautiful home. Did you see when they visited his house for one of the Insider shows? I really feel bad for him. Randy’s situation is completely different anyway. He tried to battle the company and ended up having to come back. They were more than happy to keep him active as a fighter but the positions they gave to people like Matt Hughes and Chuck were to reward loyal company guys.

      • JimmyPettishardo

        I agree. Randy and Tito weren’t exactly on the same boat as Chuck and Hughes. The latter two were very loyal.

        I am sure Hughes enough money to live comfortably so long as he doesn’t do anything crazy. I don’t think he is as rich as some of the more successful guys in the business. But I never heard him complain about money.

  • Jason Decipher

    Okay who sounds classier? A guy who says “your a bad person & I question your parenting” or a guy who says “I don’t harbor those emotions but I can’t say the same for him”. The stress of this business has got to DW bald head I know UFC must have its best interest at heart but he beds to learn to seperate himself emotionally. Gotta give Bjorn Rebney credit for that. Being able to sue you with no bad blood on his part all while calmly & collectively tell you he just wants you to be part off the Bellator family

    • matt_bamo

      Give me a break! What you said about Bjorn is scary! I’d rather know I am dealing with a human being, not a robot. Let me guess, you probably like your politicians that way too – smile in your face and stab you in the back.

      • Jason Decipher

        I don’t like politicians haha. Don’t you think DW shouldn’t get so emotionally involved? When Affliction was around he Banned their shirts from being worn in UFC. When Hendo left UFC he also banned his brand clinch gear. Cmon give me a break

  • Tom Oosterbroek

    Everybody knows it would be something like this.

    Fans saw little of Couture after his retirement. Randy saying here that he wanted to somehow remain publicly involved in the sport, and leaving because and the UFC couldn’t or wouldn’t offer him that, seems fair.

    Why Dana throws the tantrum I don’t know. If he wanted Couture, he should’ve given him something.

    • JimmyPettishardo

      This is exactly what Dana predicted would happen. He makes a comment, MMA groupie journalists (YES! there are videos of him calling MMA journalists groupies) would write an article on it, and MMA nuthuggers would argue over it.

      Those UFC positions are awarded to those that Dana or Zuffa (but mostly Dana) personally likes. Brian Stan, Chael Sonnen, Rashad Evans, Ken Florian are guys that have never said anything bad about the UFC or fighter’s pay.

      Is Randy such a good commentator/analyst/public figure that it would be worth millions to put him on UFC shows??? Nope. UFC could pay much less for guys that have shown loyalty.

  • Dee T. Ayles

    The thing about Randy that I’ve never understood, is that he talks about the UFC/Zuffa like they somehow tried to screw him. This isn’t anything new, he’s always acted this way, and I’ve never understood it. He doesn’t have the greatest record in the sport, and he’s lost some fights that he really should have dominated in (V. Overeem and R Rodriguez come to mind), but he still got main card billing, and title fights. He must have the UFC record for receiving title fights coming off a loss, because he has had about 4. So for him to go out there and act like the UFC never did anything for him or didn’t care about him just feels like fiction to me. He’s always been out for himself, and that’s fine, but when you spend your time telling people about how these guys did you wrong, while you work for the company, you shouldn’t be surprised when they only give you a FOX commentating job when you retire. In fact, you should appreciate they did anything for you, because in reality, they did everything for you. Any fighter with a record like Randy’s who didn’t get those marquee fights, wasn’t given title shot after title shot would just be a gatekeeper. They wouldn’t have the fanbase, they wouldn’t have the following, and they wouldn’t have the opportunities he has now. Randy has a similar win/loss ratio as Chris Lytle, but Randy is a huge star because of the fights he was given.

    • Matte

      There absolutely is truth in what you say.

      The thing I don’t understand is why UFC bother at all in what Randy does to make a living. If they are not interested in his services it is only logical he makes a living out of what he knows somewhere else. That does not have to mean any kind of feud at all. Keeping him from coaching his fighter, his son, is very petty minded in my opinion.

      • JimmyPettishardo

        That’s how most normal people would behave when someone that they don’t want goes somewhere else.

        Dana, however, needs to say something. An MMA groupie probably asked him, “oh…what do you think of Couture going to Bellator..bla bla.”

        Dana could have said, “nothing, wish him the best of luck.” Instead, he had to say something scathing. Why? Because he is Dana the fight promoter.

  • Randy summed it up. The UFC hated the idea that Randy remained in control of his brand. He was one of the few guys that didn’t give up his ancillary rights. That is what started the entire feud. Randy put asses in seats, very simple, that is why the UFC wanted him so bad. No rocket science to it, he made the UFC money. Who the hell can do business with a loose cannon ala Dana White????

    • bajafox

      To answer your question, a power house network called FOX is doing business with Dana White…

      • adam1848

        Exactly…Dana and FOX have the exact same priority…make money at any cost, and throw anybody who gets in their way under the bus. They were made for each other.

        • Mark Bazid

          That may be true but don’t forget, Dana White has done more for the sport than ANY individual on the planet.

          • adam1848

            I agree with you. I respect and appreciate what Dana has done for the sport, and there is no denying his impact. I just tire of his constant attacks on anyone who doesn’t roll over for the UFC. It is always someone else’s fault when things go wrong; always the other organization’s or fighter’s problems that get in the way. His tirades are embarrassing, and often very one sided and revisionist. But I love MMA and Dana is hugely responsible for its growth and success. I can’t stand FOX, but it is great for the sport, so it is what it is. Is Dana or FOX gonna change how I feel about the best sport on the planet? Nope.

        • bobcoy

          Son, that’s called business.
          Bellator does it. Spike dies it that way,the NFL,the ufc, sears, Boeing, your company( if you actually work for a living). Lil man, you say it like if doing normal business is exclusive to dana and the ufc. That’s immature and uneducated. Oh yeah, microsoft and apple and sears and Costco and your neighborhood store. Get a job and you’ll find out.

          • R

            Just because all the companies are doing it, that doesn’t make it right, son.

          • adam1848

            Thanks for the response. A great reminder of why I choose to work in a field that is worthwhile and meaningful, rather than wasting my time in the rat race with small minded, brainwashed cogs such as yourself. Keep chasing that all mighty dollar…maybe one of these days your boss will let you off the leash to play. And please don’t bother responding, I’m already embarrassed I wasted my time responding to you once.

      • JimmyPettishardo

        well, Fox is a bigger company that Zuffa so the power dynamic is very different. With Fox, Dana wouldn’t do stuff that he does to some of his fighters.

  • Milosc

    Couture seems like ‘the adult’ of this feud

    (It’s the same deal with Tito: Randy is way too smart to leave around [with any teeth], and White is far too replaceable to risk that. There are more issues in play, here, than what we see in print)

    • MuayThaiFood

      Wow, you just said Tito was smart. I disregarded everything you said after that.

      • Lawdog1521

        The fact people still talk about Tito shows he’s smart when it comes to the media.

        • Milosc

          To my knowledge, he was UFC’s first fighter-millionaire, and by much his own hand

          There’s a reason Trump was so impressed with him on Apprentice

          (The same one that put Dana White on notice back when he was still just selling T-shirts and ‘flame’ hats. The guy is talented)

          • MuayThaiFood

            Good logic, he’s a millionare so he must be intelligent. Mike Tyson’s a genius too then. Have you ever listened to the guy talk?

          • Milosc

            Mike Tyson walked into a good thing. Tito created a good thing where there was none (and deserves credit for hooking up every fighter since). That’s the difference

          • JimmyPettishardo

            You are dealing with kids. Don’t be too harsh on them.

            I think we have a difference of opinion on what constitutes “smart.” Obviously lawdog and milosc think anyone that don’t blow off money is “smart.” And yes…this is a very low threshold indeed.

      • danielden05

        Why would you think Tito isn’t smart? He stood up to the UFC before Randy did, he held out for more money and helped pave the way for younger fighters.

        • JimmyPettishardo

          You don’t have the facts straight buddy.

          Tito started his career as a classless clown just like Dana.

          He ran into money issues with the UFC.

          He quit the UFC and started hanging around Fedor and talking smack on Dana. Yes, he was hugging Fedor’s nutts.

          Then he realized that no body was gonna pay him what he wanted.

          So he crawled back to the UFC, kissed Dana (there is a video of this) and started talking smack on Fedor.

          Now he “retired” and is managing fighters.

          Tito is a bigger classless clown than Dana. And that is very hard to be.

  • danielden05

    Dana has always and will always be an ***clown. A 40-something year old man who acts and talks like a young uneducated punk. Just look what the guys own mother said about him! I mean, you gotta be some low a** s*** for your own mother to come out against you.

    • matt_bamo

      I love that Dana is not a cold, polished business man. If he was he would be as boring as Bjorn. Watching Dana speak is almost as exciting as watching the fights. He has emotion – sometimes good, sometimes bad, but emotion none-the-less. Bjorn sounds like a robot regurgitating the same old PC company slogos over and over again. Dana’s passion flows from every pore on his body. And passion is what mma is – at its best.

      • Jason Decipher

        You know I agree with that but I think its detrimental for Dana to lose sleep over it yes hes human I dislike Bjorn but give him credit for not getting all emotional. Yes Dana is the man for then job& hes much more entertaining but he just doesnt know when to shut up & let it go. Randy’s been gone give it a rest what more does he want to try & ruin his image by badmouthing him?

        • JimmyPettishardo

          Can’t say anything about Dana in real life. I don’t know the guy. I think he is a family man who is really passionate about his work.

          The image you see on TV is clearly that of a d-bag classless clown. And he created that character to promote the UFC and did a hell of a job. Look, UFC wouldn’t have been where it’s at without Dana. He knows how to run a fight business.

          Notice the Dana, Chael, Tito, and to some degree Bisping characters on the UFC. Each talk a good amount of smack and say ridiculous/controversial/shocking stuff to get attention. Chael is getting a title shot at LHW!!! His character helped him and helped the UFC, although yes he is a clown.

    • MuayThaiFood

      What kind of mother writes a tell-all book about her son and describes how when she first looked him she thought his eyes looked “souless”? I think you’ve got things a bit backwards.

  • Couto-fo-sho

    Good for Couture! I”m glad he’s doing what’s best for him!

  • Mmafightfans.com

    Why bashing on Dana White? Look how many fighters retire and look at the UFC payroll. UFC is made up almost entirely of ex fighters, trainers, and people who were loyal to UFC brand and people who UFC made a house hold name… Randy Couture being one of em. Making money is the nature of the beast. White actually does more for fans and his payroll than most CEOs.