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).”
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