Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
Former five-time UFC champion Randy Couture is on his way to Bellator MMA, thanks to a landmark deal with Spike TV.
Sleeping with the enemy?
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture is taking his mixed martial arts (MMA) act on the road. First stop? Spike TV, where "The Natural" will debut as a coach on the upcoming Bellator MMA reality show.
SI.com with the monumental announcement:
Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate's family of networks. As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture's first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.
I guess when you have five billion in cash at your disposal you can afford nice things.
Couture, who is no stranger to cashing checks from the competition, is one of the few remaining fighters who still retains control over his ancillary rights, which includes contractual language that allows him the freedom to use his likeness outside of UFC.
Like when he made the cover of this recent video game.
The timing is critical, as UFC and Bellator battle in court for the services of lightweight free agent Eddie Alvarez. Couture may no longer be an active fighter, but is still considered a part of ZUFFA's Mount Rushmore, thanks to historic battles against fellow MMA icons like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. And now his appearance for Spike TV could help Bjorn Rebney in his quest to go mainstream.
The cable television network has arranged for a media conference call next Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2013) where Viacom execs, along with "The Natural," will go into more detail surrounding this game-changing deal. ZUFFA reps, including UFC President Dana White, have yet to comment, but that will likely change sooner rather than later.