Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
When Randy Couture jumped ship from the UFC and Fox to join Bellator over at Spike TV, Ryan Couture had a tough choice to make: Follow his father and trainer or stay and realize his dream of fighting for the UFC. Dana White proactively made sure Ryan knew he had options either way with no hard feelings attached.
When former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight champion Randy Couture signed a multi-year deal with Bellator MMA, UFC president Dana white was elated because that meant he never had to work with the Hall of Famer who, in Dana's words, "stops being a man when his big toes step out of the cage."
So why the animosity?
According to White, Couture was never honest with him when asked about the possibility of jumping ship to the UFC's former home, Spike TV. After it was discovered "The Natural" had indeed made the switch from the UFC and Fox to Bellator and Spike TV, White unloaded on Randy and his 'lies.'
Ryan Couture, son of Randy, will look to make his debut with the promotion sometime this year after he was one of the select fighters from the now defunct Strikeforce organization who received a contract with the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
So how will White's issues with Randy affect Ryan's future with the promotion? Not one bit, according to the Las Vegas fight boss.
In fact, White revealed during his UFC 156 post-fight media scrum he actually talked to Ryan and gave him the option to honor his current contract with the UFC or follow his father's footsteps to Bellator.
However, before he made his decision, White assured Ryan not to expect to see Randy cageside during his fights as a spectator and much less a corner man because "he won't be able to buy a ticket to a mother fu**ing event."
"I called Ryan Couture and I said, ‘Ryan, this is probably the weirdest conversation you are ever going to have with me. You signed a deal with us to fight in the UFC. I want you here if you want to be here. But I need you to understand this; me and your dad are not good. Me and your dad are never going to be good ever again as long as I walk this fucking planet. I know he's your dad and I don't want to call you up and tell you how much I don't like your father, but, if you want to leave the UFC,' because he, Randy, is not cornering him. Randy Couture can't buy a ticket to this mother fucking event. I said, ‘He's not going to be around and I just wanted to be up front with you. I want to be honest and be up front. If you want me to release your from your contract so that you can go do a deal with Bellator, and have your dad maybe work with you and come up and do whatever, I will do that for you, too.' He said, ‘ Every kid that has ever strapped on a pair of gloves is dreaming about fighting in the UFC. And if they say they're not, they are either lying not they are stupid. This is my dream, I want to be with you guys. He's my dad and he's always going to be my dad. But, this is where I want to be, I worked my whole life to get here.' And I told him, ‘This is your house, don't ever feel like it's not.' That was something that I had to do, I had to talk to him. The kid is either with us or he is not. And I don't mean, ‘Oh, you're either with us or you're not with us,' I mean, I want him to feel like if he stays with us, he's with us and there is no hard feelings for him because of what's going on with me and Randy or anything like that. I want him to feel comfortable if he wanted to stay. And I wanted to give him the option to go with his dad, too. I don't want him to be in some situation where like he says, ‘this guy is getting to fights with my dad and I'm stuck in a contract with them and I'd rather (not.)' That's the whole story, that's it, and I'd rather not talk about it again."
At today's (Feb 5, 2013) Spike TV media conference, Randy talked about the pickle his son found himself in:
"Ryan is his own man for sure. He's created his own style and it's a burden for him to drag around the same last name, but he's handled it all in stride. He's had some hard conversations about how it could affect his future in mixed martial arts but he's comfortable. I know how some of the other guys play, but I think Ryan is gonna be fine. He's a sharp kid and he's very diligent. Dana's made that transition easy and the media storm has been wonderful. You have to respect Dana's passion, it's very admirable. I don't have the answer to the question right now (about cornering Ryan). That's an athletic commission issue and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
How about it Maniacs, are you surprised Ryan opted to stay with the UFC instead of joining his father in Bellator?
Give us your take on this whole situation in the comments section below.