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Exclusive: Randy Couture Talks Fedor-Sylvia, Being the “Banned Brand”, and More

MMA legend Randy Couture finds himself in a strange position these days. An ongoing legal battle with the UFC threatens his future as a fighter, and his affiliation with clothier-turned-MMA promoter Affliction has prompted the UFC to keep him and the “banned brand” off any of their broadcasts. Recently Couture talked with Cage Potato about his life as a fighter, the future of MMA, and this summer’s Fedor-Sylvia bout. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me, Randy. How’s everything at Xtreme Couture? It seems like you guys have so many fighters in so many different organizations now. Does it ever get hard to keep track of who is fighting and where?

No, it’s not too hard. We’ve actually just got a big grease board and we just write who’s fighting and where and when and we do a pretty good job of keeping track of it that way. We’ve got new gyms opening up in Long Island and in Toronto. Everything is going really great.

What are your thoughts on Tim Sylvia signing to fight Fedor this summer? You’ve beat Tim, and the Fedor fight is the one you wanted more than any other. How does it make you feel to see Tim get that chance before you do?

I think it’s going to be a great fight. Tim’s a seasoned veteran and he presents some unique challenges with his height and his size. People knock Fedor because he hasn’t fought any top guys recently, but Fedor’s an excellent fighter. It should be very interesting to see how he handles this challenge. I know I’ll be interested to see it. It’s going to be a good one and I hope to be right there at ringside when it happens.

But Tim got let out of his UFC contract and that’s why he can take this fight. Does it bother you that it happened that way for him and not for you?

He didn’t get let go so he could do this fight, he got let go because the UFC didn’t want to pay someone that much money to fight on the undercard. They knew he wasn’t going to fight for a title any time soon and he only had one more fight on his contract, so they made the decision to let him go for financial reasons.

I can see how it made sense for them to let him go and it doesn’t make sense to want to let me go. I’ve got the belt, so that’s different. The way I look at it, that’s his good fortune to be able to go take the fight with Fedor. I’m not upset about it. I’ve still got a few more good fights left it me.

Tito Ortiz recently made some public statements about the lack of respect he feels from the UFC and from Dana White. He referred to the way they no longer show you on pay-per-views when you’re there cornering your fighters, never even mention your name or your gym. How much is this stuff about respect and how much is about money?

I think the amount that you’re paid shows in some way what the organization thinks of you, so I see [Tito’s] point there. That is one way you show respect. But as for the ban at UFC events, that’s only helped us. We’ve become “the banned brand”, and everybody talks about it even if they don’t show us on TV.

I think it’s a schoolyard tactic by Dana White. It’s especially unfortunate for the guys we sponsor. They depend on sponsorship money and it’s too bad that they have to walk on eggshells because of this thing that isn’t about them at all. We sponsor over thirty fighters, we’ve put over a million dollars into this and it’s just unfortunate that he decided to do it this way.

With Afflicition starting their own promotion and organizations like Adrenaline dabbling in non-exclusive contracts, do you think this new trend of non-exclusivity and fighters competing in multiple organizations is the wave of the future for MMA, or do you think the exclusive system that the UFC uses will ultimately win out in some form?

I think it has to change. The exclusivity has to go away or else we’re going to have the same problems with becoming a fractured sport the way boxing has. The top guys have to be allowed to fight each other. That needs to happen in this sport. Even if it means that you have to put your champion out there and sometimes you lose, it’s still great for marketing the sport and it’s necessary for the integrity of the sport. For the sake of our fan base, that needs to happen. WAMMA is one group that has the potential to help make that happen, and I hope it will.

Will you be one of the people to help lead that charge?

I hope so. I find myself in a unique position now. I’m coming to the end of my career and I don’t have to worry about pissing off the UFC or making the wrong people mad, so I have some freedom to do this. I think standing up and doing what I’m doing will help make some of these changes happen.

The UFC has done a masterful job of bringing this sport back and making it what it is today, but there are some holes in the way they’re doing things. The UFC could be the one to take control and make things happen, make sure the fighters are getting taken care of the right way, and they could use their power and influence to make that happen.

Or they could keep the same closed-minded approach and someone else will step up and do it. Either way, the fighters will come. They’ll flock to it if it’s the right system.

Why do you think you’ve been so successful as you’ve gotten older? That’s pretty rare in pro fighting. Do you think it has to do with your preparation, your natural ability, what?

You know, I have no idea why it’s been that way for me. I don’t know that I’m doing anything so special or if there’s anything different about me. I just work hard and do what I can do.

I think I’ve managed to put things in perspective by keeping in mind that this is a sport. If the worst thing that happens to me is I lose a fight, then that’s not so bad at all. I think that helps me.

It seems like you’re at a point in your career where things are really up in the air. You don’t know if you’ll fight again, or against who or where. If your career were over today, what do you think your legacy would be? Would people remember you for all your victories, or would they remember you as the guy who walked away from the UFC?

That’s for other people to decide. I can’t really say what it will be. I just try and do what I can do, work hard, live my life with integrity and do the best I can. The rest of it is up to others. I don’t know what my legacy will be.


Cagepotato Comments

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Me- August 21, 2008 at 11:55 am
Anyone who bad mouths Randy is just an idiot who clearly knows very very very very little.!!!!!
Youdontknowsh*tandneitherdoi- May 9, 2008 at 12:34 am
It is so easy for people to assume they know everything. Hence all the Randy bashing. I have a little question for all those who feel the need to go around bashing not just Randy, but anyone in the UFC...Why put that much effort into trying to tear someone in the sport down?? why not just enjoy what the sport does give to us?? It is really easy to talk big behind the keyboard, but why do you care so much in the first place?? Randy is not defined by his UFC career and he knows that. He has a life outside of the ring that will go on whether he wins or loses. It seems like he has come to terms with that. Why can't everyone else?? I mean Randy may never fight again. I hope that isn't the case, but that is his choice.
Elk Snot- May 8, 2008 at 5:50 am
I guess we've found out who the Pride fans are on this site. Seems like that's synonymous with hating UFC champs. How can you hate Randy? If you want to bash somebody who speaks out against the UFC, take Tito. Nobody likes him anyway.
Rhys Wilkins- May 8, 2008 at 4:56 am
haha fighter bashing seriously cracks me the fuck up. It seems the better a fighter gets, the more the keyboard warriors on them. Or the nicer a fighter is, the more of an arrogant tool they are to the keyboard warriors.
Rhys Wilkins- May 8, 2008 at 4:54 am
Kim Coutures Penis, get a fucking life dude, u sound like youre taking it personally that randy has done all these things, in fact, u sound REALLY fucking mad. Has he done anything personall to upset you or your family in any way? You sound like a fucking whiny teenage britney fan whenever she does something wrong. I think you are just covering up your own insecurities. Once again with all seriousness, get a fucking life. I would say it to your face if i knew where u lived and I had the money to make it happen (i live in aus).
Kim Couture's taint- May 8, 2008 at 4:12 am
It's not easy being day you're being called a pussy the next you're an asshole. Sometimes you just can't win.
Kim Couture is a cunt- May 8, 2008 at 3:37 am
Randy is a fucking shell of what he used to be. It hurts me to say that.
the irish car bomb- May 8, 2008 at 2:02 am
I think the most bad ass thing that could possibly happen is for randy and fedor to fight each other in an underground fight and post there fight on the internet like kimbo used to do but its too bad that cant happen
Hammy Hamstring- May 8, 2008 at 12:37 am
Kudos to Randy for accomplishing what he has in a long and lustrous career but shame on him for not fulfilling his contract. He would have a louder voice in the UFC as their teamster leader if he continued fighting. There are millions of people that get paid minimum wage to work just to scrape by to put food on the table knowing full well the company profits off the fruits of their labors. I agree the fighters make the fights but the UFC packages it the way it is and they goddamn well deserve the profits for putting together such a tight package. If a guy like Matt Serra can beat GSP then sure as shit a guy like Kimbo could tear Randy to pieces with a punchers chance. Randy is not a God and neither is Silva. The UFC MAKES THEM LOOK THAT WAY!!!!
Aryan- May 7, 2008 at 11:19 pm
maybe he thought he'd get tested for hgh? Dont get me wrong i like the guy but anybody at that age being in that shape and can fight like that raises eyebrows..
Anonymous- May 7, 2008 at 11:08 pm
Maybe it would surprise KCP to know that when you have pending legal action against you, your lawyers usually don't like you to talk about it in interviews. It never helps. Then again, judging from his post, lots of things would surprise KCP.
BIG CHRIS- May 7, 2008 at 10:56 pm
Sadly, and I emphasize on the word "Sadly," I have to agree with KCP on this to rectify this , how about sending this guy on your next interview with Randy, and see if he has the stones to ask these penetrating questions....I garauntee you he would not show up and if he did he would be like Gray Maynard was on TUF when Randy guest starred on the show to coach....a little bouncing love struck puppy dog....
Kim Couture's Penis- May 7, 2008 at 10:19 pm
What a great, hard-hitting piece of journalism! You really asked the tough questions CagePotato. Why so short, though? Couldn't think of any other softballs to throw Randy's direction so he could share his unchallenged view of things.

Maybe if you talk to him again you can actually ask him something tough that we care to hear his thoughts on. How about why he feels he can walk out on a contract he signed six months earlier? Or why he thinks Nogueira isn't worth his time? Or if it is uncomfortable to have Kim shove her arm up his ass while he sits on her lap and they play ventrillioquist while she moves his mouth and speaks for him?

Captain America, indeed! Maybe that is fitting for where America is headed these days, where contracts and laws no longer apply in this country if you can convince a judge, or twelve morons too stupid to get out of jury duty, that you don't LIKE the law/contract. Or maybe you can sue someone because they hurt your feelings. "Wah, wah, wah ...they don't respect me, so I don't want to have to live up to that contract any more... wah, wah, wah!!!"

Randy is Captain America in the new pussified America that no longer pays attention to personal responsibility. I wish Couture would grow the fuck up, and act like a man. There is more to being a man than just the ability to take a punch in the face. How about you live up to the commitments you made, before you move on to your faggy Hollywood career.

Fight the two fights left on your contract, then go fight Fedor if that is what you still want (if anyone still cares at that point). Then go off to Hollywood and toss Tom Cruise's salad and pledge your undying love to L. Ron Hubbard in the hopes that he will fund Scorpion King III if you lick his brown-star just right. You could at least hold your head up high knowing you have lived up to your commitments.
ArmChairFighter- May 7, 2008 at 9:38 pm
Good stuff Silver Back!! Kimbo is simply a street fighter - fighting Tank Abbott is the same as fighting some hillbilly behind a detached garage. What happens when he finds himself on the ground getting his beard punched? ...Or when a Randy Couture decides to tickle his apples with Kimbo's beard in a triangle? ...Or when he puts his beard in a guillotine? ...Or when he puts a joint lock on his beard and breaks it?
Silver Backed Gorilla- May 7, 2008 at 9:07 pm
lol kimbo would win hands that is fing funny...kimbo hasnt fought any decent opponents and he would somehow beat a seasoned veteran like couture...come on now...pull kimbos dick outta your mouth and face reality...kimbo would never ever beat couture, fedor, nog, liddel or hell even sylvia...kimbo is just a gorilla who has a little mma me when he learns to use tools and stops picking lice off of other gorillas...fuck kkkevin ferguson
Silver Backed Gorilla- May 7, 2008 at 9:06 pm
lol kimbo would win hands that is fing funny...kimbo hasnt fought any decent opponents and he would somehow beat a seasoned veteran like couture...come on now...pull kimbos dick outta your mouth and face reality...kimbo would never ever beat couture, fedor, nog, liddel or hell even sylvia...kimbo is just a gorilla who has a little mma me when he learns to use tools and stops picking lice off of other gorillas...
bump- May 7, 2008 at 7:30 pm
Dana White's pimp hand is Strong!
Kimbo- May 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm
Kimbo vs. Couture would be the mega blockbuster PPV. Kimbo would win hands down.
Popetastic- May 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm
People need to realize that Randy's role in MMA is a lot more than just a fighter. And his motives at this point are a lot more than just the Fedor fight.
norremo- May 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm
first post on CageP.

I agree fully with "Kim Couture is a cunt ". Randy is 100% in the wrong, he should be a man and admit that he's wrong and go back to fighting in the UFC.
Aryan- May 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm
Randy is a great fighter and a great guy but what if he's on hormone therapy? is that cheating? I know guys in their 40's that are on it and pay a lot of money ($700 a month) and they say they feel/lift/fuck and are in shape like they're 20.
Clutch- May 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm
what shirt is he wearing? thats a sick shirt
Kim Couture is a cunt- May 7, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Randy ruined his legacy when:

1.) he faxed in a "I resign" notice to the UFC

2.) Bitched and moaned about his contract HE NEGOTIATED

3.) Refused to fight NOG who deserves and has called out Randy

4.) Paired up with that douche Hollywood agent

Randy would be nothing but a high school wrestling coach without the UFC and the fans he gained from doing what he did with the UFC. It is sad he chose the bullshit route.
Kilmer- May 7, 2008 at 6:29 pm
Shoot or Sprawl: Probably because EliteXC isn't suing him.
brice- May 7, 2008 at 6:27 pm
great interview guys. keep doing more of these. i dugg it for you guys, too....trying to promote the site for ya.