Since his last fight in 2011, former UFC heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion Randy Couture has found himself consistently in front of cameras across multiple films ranging from Red Belt to The Expendables series, and now Final Kill, released in theaters, on demand, and digital on Friday, March 6.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com, Couture discussed Final Kill, the filmmaking process, and the state of MMA in 2020 compared to when he last stepped into the Octagon at UFC 129.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Randy, would you say there are similarities between a career in MMA and a career in acting.
Randy Couture: In fighting, you work your way up the ladder; you climb up from the amateurs to bigger promotions to eventually, hopefully you get a chance at one of the premier promotions and win a world championship. I think the same is true of acting.
I was fortunate enough with athletics it kind of gave me a leg up with a built-up audience, but it’s certainly been a learning process for me, climbing and getting better and better jobs. It’s been a really interesting experience.
It’s definitely a team effort. Sometimes it feels like a whole village on a set. Everybody kind of has their part. You have to be diligent, open-minded, coachable, all of those things, and go out and perform. It’s a very similar thing and I think it’s one of those reasons why it appeals to me.
Make no mistake about it, acting and business are both competitive, they’re just competitive in a less physical way. Acting is still a very physical gig. You’re out competing with other guys for that role or that stunt. I think both my business endeavors and acting still fulfill that competitive void that I left when I left competitive MMA.
MMAWeekly.com: Are you critical of yourself when acting like you would be when you fought?
Randy Couture: Absolutely. It’s weird seeing myself on film. I try not to watch preemptively; I want to watch and see at the premier and get a feel for it there because I know it’s done and my critiques are going to go on deaf ears anyway.
MMAWeekly.com: Tell us about your role as Deacon Long in your latest film, Final Kill.
Randy Couture: He’s definitely the nuts and bolts guy. If there’s something that needs to get done, you need information, you send your best guy to extract that, and he’s going to use whatever means he needs to do to get the job done, and that was my character in this film for sure.
He has a matter of fact attitude about brutal things, and that’s kind of what I was going for. This is not a big deal to him. This is what he’s done his whole life. If he’s got to tape a guy to a chair and beat the hell out of him, it’s no problem.
MMAWeekly.com: When it comes to fight scenes, do you get any input into them or is that pretty much left entirely to the fight choreographer and stuntmen?
Randy Couture: I think most of those guys appreciate my background and want my input. They want to know what techniques I think will suit the situation and the set. You can write a great fight scene, and then you get into the actual place you’re shooting, and none of what you’ve written fits in that space, so you have to adjust. At the end of the day it’s kind of telling the truth. I’ve got to execute and do something I feel comfortable too or else it’s not going to work.
MMAWeekly.com: How would you say MMA has changed in the last nine years since you retired?
Randy Couture: It’s certainly a lot more fights and a lot more opportunities for fighters. I’m glad there’s more promotions on the playing field where fighters can go and get a fair shake and apply their wares. My son fights in Bellator, I’ve done commentary for the PFL, and then there’s still the UFC. There’s a lot of options on the amateur level (and going) up. There’s a whole bunch of places for guys to get their feet wet, see where they’re at and work to become a world champion.
MMAWeekly.com: Do you miss it?
Randy Couture: I miss the regularity of it: training every single day, sleeping in my own bed, there’s a singularly and focus in that that’s relaxing. It sounds counterintuitive, but seeing how much I’ve been running and how hard I go in everything, the travel and everything that’s gone on since I retired, that single thing in front of you, like having a fight night, there’s a relaxing thing in that. I miss that.
I miss the impetus for all the buddies I’ve had from the phases in my life to come hang out. I think I had 11 guys I served with in the Army come to Boston for the fight with James Toney (at UFC 118). All those guys came to support me and watch me, and I got to hang out with them and catch up with them and see what they’re doing, that’s the other thing I really miss.
Getting punched in the face on a regular basis, I don’t miss that as much. I still get on the mat. I still do a lot of light sparring and light rolling and not do anything too hard, certainly not at the competitive level, but I still like to mix it up and get out there now and then.