UFC President Dana White, UFC Majority Owner Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC Chief Financial Officer (CFO) John Mulkey today hosted a press conference to address recent "damaging" remarks from UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture.
The rare broadcast was streamed online via video on UFC.com.
Here are the two key takeaways:
- Randy Couture is still the UFC Heavyweight Champion. In fact, he will be offered a bout agreement this week to defend his title against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira sometime in early 2008. The UFC wants him to defend his title -- there is no "breaking point" at which the UFC would walkaway.
- Couture did receive a signing bonus (something he denies) in the amount of $500,000. He received two $250,000 payments -- the UFC handed out photocopies of the checks with his signature as evidence. In addition, "The Natural" will make about $2.9 million from his UFC contract alone for two fights in 2006. Clearly, this excludes endorsements and includes PPV cuts, fight bonuses, annual salary, etc.
Here are the other highlights:
- Dana feels that this is a "weird situation" because the UFC doesn't talk about money -- it changes fighters' lives. The UFC takes care of its fighters and treats them well. Couture's statements he made about finances are untrue. Want to clear up facts.
- Kim Couture (Randy's wife) was wrong when she said the UFC never promoted him. White rattled off a laundry list of marketing efforts and television programs in which the UFC promoted him.
- Lorenzo Feritta negotiated the contract with Couture. So when he hears Randy say that he was "never happy" with contract, it is surprising to him because Couture seemed happy in January.
- Couture grossly misrepresented the financial facts in his press conference. The UFC can't sit back and be silent, which is the reason for the response.
- The CFO rattles of several figures that all amount to just under three million for the year (2006) for two fights. That figure includes (among other things) a $500,000 signing bonus that Couture says he didn't get.
- White says that UFC is not a monopoly -- competition is the best its been in years.
- Lorenzo was a bit dismayed by the tone of Randy's press conference because the two (he thought) had a good conversation beforehand. He later goes on to say that Couture damaged UFC as a company with his inaccurate remarks. He still considers Couture a friend.
- White reminded everyone that Couture is still under contract and the UFC will do whatever is necessary to protect its rights
- White said that Fedor is a farce and is not top five. He always felt that way. The only reason he tried so hard to get him was because Randy wanted the fight.
- If the UFC can work with Tito Ortiz it can certainly work with Randy Couture. Facts are facts. Don't want this play it out in court. Couture signed a $500,000 contract to fight in the UFC.
- White claims again that Couture's "puke" Hollywood agent is behind everything because the whole situation makes "no sense."
- Dana White quote of press conference: "I don't know what I did wrong. This is the most disturbing thing ... ever."
That's it. To check out the Randy Couture press conference from last week click here. Compare and contrast. Draw your own conclusions.