Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight champion Randy Couture and company president Dana White haven’t seen eye-to-eye in quite some time. In fact, Couture says his relationship with the promotion he called home for more than a decade is non-existent.
"I don’t have one. I’ve been exiled and I have been persona non grata with UFC, mostly because Dana just doesn’t really care for me. I think it boils down to control," declared Couture on a recent edition of The Rich Eisen Show. "I think he was just one of those guys that would never sign it all over and let them control it. We butted heads on a lot of issues with contracts. And when I signed the TV deal with Spike to do both scripted and unscripted television, he kind of went off the reservation and banned me and exiled me at that time."
Indeed, White banned "The Natural" from attending any UFC events, which meant he wasn’t allowed to corner his son Ryan Couture during his short stint with the company. And Couture, for one, wholeheartedly understands the power struggle Featherweight champion Conor McGregor has had in the past with White and Co., including the whole UFC 200 debacle.
"That’s another indication of what is going on with that promotion and how the fighters are treated and that is one of the reason why the Ali Act that boxers enjoys now needs to be expanded into MMA and kind of take away some of the power the promoters have over the fighters and the abuses and things that are going on in mixed martial arts (MMA) that boxing dealt with a long time ago," he said.
And when ZUFFA sold the company to WME-IMG for a staggering $4 billion, Couture says he questioned why the new owners would keep White on for another five years. Of course, the business man inside of him understands why letting White go right away wouldn’t make much sense.
"I questioned that," he said. "I think if the promotion has any issue it’s an image issue and that starts with the president --with him. But, they also have a huge money machine that’s working and if I was one of the guys that spent $4 billion to buy this thing, I’m probably not going to change too much in hopes that it keeps printing out cash the way it’s been printing out cash. So I get that on the business side."
Nevertheless, it's safe to say Couture has done well for himself post-UFC.