Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture played a significant role in helping ZUFFA turn a company that was $2 million in the red into a global combat sports brand worth over $1 billion.
Look no further than his trilogy against fellow elder statesman Chuck Liddell.
But after calling it a career, Couture and UFC President Dana White had a falling out (again) and "The Natural" split for greener pastures under the Viacom umbrella, which led to an ugly war of words in the media and the release of his son Ryan.
It was no surprise then, to hear he was one of the first people approached in the recent class-action lawsuit against UFC.
Couture talks to Submission Radio:
"Well obviously I was approached. I've known about the swell of the class action suit coming for eight or nine months and was approached about being involved, and haven't decided one way or the other whether I'm going to throw my name in that hat. I suspect at this point I'm probably not going to. Obviously I've had my run ins and my fights with Zuffa since they brought the company over, and over rights, and a lot of the things that are on the table with the class action suit. And I applaud Cung Le and Nate Quarry and Jon Fitch for being willing to stand up, take the heat, and put themselves on the line for the rights of the fighters, who in a lot of cases are getting the raw end, the short end of the stick with regards to the contracts and the way business has been done with the industry leader and promotion in the sport right now, and that's the UFC and Zuffa. So I wasn't surprised. I knew it was coming. I know it's going to be a long, drawn out process. I think 2015 for a whole bunch of reasons is going to be a pretty interesting year in mixed martial arts to see what comes of all this sport and how the sport adjusts and settles out. I think we've going through some growing pain, largely because of Zuffa and the UFC and the way that business has been done. It's obviously a global sport now all over the world, and you know it is in some ways, the market is a little oversaturated. It seems to have lost some of its shine and that special luster that it had back in the day when there were only six or eight pay per views a year. I think that the door has been cracked open a little bit by all these things, to allow some of the other promotions like Bellator or World Series of Fighting to grow their brand and fill that void, and to promote, and allow a bunch of other fighters to make a living, and you know ply their wares, and get their sponsors, and do a lot of things in the sport of mixed martial arts. So I think it's going to be a really interesting year."
The suit continues to grow, recently adding Brandon Vera and Pablo Garza.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters who took the legal proceedings from theory to practice, Jon Fitch, Cung Le, and Nate Quarry, are seeking damages against ZUFFA LLC for allegedly violating antitrust laws (details). Naturally, both sides have retained big-shot attorneys with winning records.
But whether or not Couture tries to tip the scales in favor of the little guys "getting the raw end," remains to be seen.