UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will not fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81: "Breaking Point" on February 2, according to MMAWeekly.com.
"The Natural" unexpectedly handed in his resignation via fax on October 11, 2007, for two reasons: The UFC could not land free agent superstar Fedor Emelianenko (the Russian signed with M-1 Global) and Couture felt that his compensation was not adequate compared to other top draws within the organization.
We're not going to rehash the back-and-forth shenanigans that have transpired over the course of the last two months -- it's literally taken on a life of its own. From dueling press conferences to missed meetings to puppies, we've covered the entire saga right here.
For now it's just good to get some clarity on the situation even if it comes at the expense (seeming retirement) of one of the best fighters and ambassadors the sport of mixed martial arts has ever witnessed. And, it appears that Couture and the UFC were able to "mend fences" at the end of the day.
Here's a snip from "Captain America:"
"We've cleared the air, and hopefully we'll move forward with some sort of relationship. I've got a lot of fighters and a lot of things that hinge around mixed martial arts and the UFC as well. I want to continue to work with them and I think that they want to continue to work with me, so we'll figure out how that happens."
The tenor of this article more or less indicates that Couture has made the decision to maintain on the sidelines (again ... he first retired in 2005) and concentrate on the business side of things, which includes a successful nationwide MMA training enterprise, X-Treme Couture. He's also been busy with acting and other ventures outside the Octagon.
However, he claims that he still wants Fedor ... even though it will probably never happen.
Here's another snip from Couture:
"Obviously I have a contractual obligation with the UFC. There's been some haggling and things going on with all that, and Fedor signing with M-1 made the possibility of that fight very difficult because of that and because of those contracts."
While Couture takes time to "smell the roses," his decision to forfeit the heavyweight belt means that former champion Tim Sylvia and number one contender Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will likely clash to claim the vacant division strap (unless the UFC can make a decision regarding Andrei Arlovski). That showdown will more than likely headline UFC 81.
For the latest UFC 81 fight card click here.