Randy Couture held a press conference yesterday afternoon where he discussed various issues that were circulating throughout the world of mixed martial arts.
Randy spoke on several topics related to his recent resignation with the UFC as he wanted to clear up public questions and concerns. He admits that Dana White has done a good job at promoting the MMA sport all over the world. In a business perspective, the UFC has come from nothing and into probably one of the biggest and fastest growing sports in the world today.
However, there were many issues that Randy was not content about and he had been holding it in for a very long time. He explains himself by stating, "after all the sacrifices I
have made with my family…all the things I have accomplished and all
the things I’ve put on the line," the UFC and the people who run it
have not respected him the way a real UFC heavyweight champion should be
respected. He went on to emphasize the fact that he wasn’t allowed to
have the "signing books," whereas other fighters like Tim Sylvia and
Matt Hughes were easily given that privilege. He even tells us that bonuses are usually awarded to the winners of the bouts at their own discretion (not part of the fighter’s contract), but wasn’t rewarded with his last win against Gabriel Gonzaga. It’s as if he was being forgotten even though he was the champion! Randy didn’t let it
bother him because his main objective "was to fight." His passion has
always been to fight and he has helped promote the company in whatever
way he could just like other fighters did while the organization was
nothing 11 years ago.
People kept asking why he was satisfied with the contract 8 months ago
and now he is complaining about it. He went on to defend himself by
saying that he was offered a certain amount at the time and he was fine
with it because he simply wanted to fight. Nonetheless, he is
dissatisfied with the fact that other fighters outside the UFC are
coming in with no UFC credibility and they are getting higher
compensation than he is. After all the years of sacrifice and working
hard to satisfy the UFC, you would expect to have equal or greater
compensation when compared to these UFC newcomers. You could tell how pissed off he was when he said this and then he said "that was the last straw." He was even furious with the Yahoo stats since they posted exaggerated numbers like having earned between 12-15 million USD while he only earned 250 K USD for his fight with Gonzaga.
He continues by mentioning other circumstances like having fund raisers
in order to acquire tickets or hotel rooms for friends and family that
he wanted to invite for his bouts. He had his agent asking Dana for
these small favors and he was repeatedly denied. He feels that he has
done so much for this company and he hasn’t been given the respect that
he deserves. These complaints didn’t just come out of nowhere, it was
an accumulation of things throughout his career. When he sees that
other people are being compensated more than him even though he is the
UFC legend and heavyweight champion, that would irritate anyone.
The bizarre thing about all of this is that there was a meeting
arranged where he talked to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Randy mentioned all of these aspects during that gathering and even had his
resignation form with him that very same day. He decided to give them
some time to think about what he had said before he impulsively went on
Two weeks went by and absolutely no response was heard by him while he
was in South Africa filming his upcoming film- The Scorpion:Rise of the
Akkadian. It seems like Randy held it in long enough to finally
conclude that the UFC had nothing to say to him. He talked about his
"hollywood agent," as he sarcastically quoted the phrase since Dana
White kept on calling him out. Randy explains that his movie agent, Brett Northburgh,
simply works with him when it comes to the movie business. The movie
world and the Hollywood people hasn’t affected him in any way as it is
not a new thing for him. Randy has been working with films for over 5
years and is now completing his 7th motion picture. His MMA agent is a
totally different person and his name is Matt Walker. Matt Walker
"doesn’t even get paid from my MMA contracts", says Randy. Matt has guided him throughout
his MMA career by helping him attain endorsements, he helped him build
his brand (Xtreme Couture) and he’s "my sports agent."
Randy admitted that Bodog offered him 3 Million USD to fight Fedor
Emelianenko when he retired the first time as a UFC light heavyweight
contender. He went to the UFC and talked to Dana about the situation.
Dana told Randy that he needed someone to fight Tim Sylvia for the
heavyweight division and instead of going on to fight Fedor, he chose
to stay with the American organization.
This entire matter "is not to bash Dana and the UFC" because it’s more
of a personal issue. Things blew up in the media and he never wanted
to make this public. He could have complained about several things
throughout the year, but the addition of all these circumstances plus not hearing from anyone in the UFC led
him to fax his letter of resignation. His resignation then led to
many questions from MMA fans and media all over the world.
Randy Couture is willing to talk Dana White and the UFC regarding the
situation and it seems like he just wanted to show them how serious he
felt about the situation. He hasn’t officially retired with the UFC,
he only left it temporarily. According to his contract, he has 9 more
months left and 2 fights to go. He sounded like he was angry, yet
satisfied because he was able to vent. He said what he had to say and
I am pretty sure Dana White is looking over and thinking about all of
Will Randy come back? We can only wait and see what’s next for the big champ. We’ll keep you guys posted.
To watch the pres conference video, click here