UFC legend Randy Couture — who helped usher the UFC into the mainstream as a coach on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2005 — will be returning to his Spike TV stomping grounds this year. Except this time, it’ll be in the service of a different MMA promotion looking to build their own brand on the guy-centric cable channel. No, this is not going to sit well with You Know Who. SI.com’s Loretta Hunt has the details:
SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.
As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.
Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.
Sources told SI.com that the deal with Spike and Viacom was executed in late December, much to the disapproval of Couture’s former employer, UFC president Dana White. Since his retirement in April 2011 at age 47, Couture has turned his attention to Hollywood with supporting roles in The Expendables and its summer 2012 sequel, and had most recently served as an on-camera analyst for the UFC’s live events on Fox. However, Couture was absent from the UFC on Fox 6 broadcast on Jan. 26, replaced by one-time teammate Chael Sonnen…
The as-yet unnamed Bellator series is being helmed by seven-time Emmy Award-winning producer Bertram Van Munster (The Amazing Race, Cops).
Man, and we thought Spike’s counter-programming tactics were nasty. Poaching Randy Couture — a man who has become synonymous with the UFC — is an aggressive move, and it’s one that Dana & Co. will certainly view as a personal attack from their former pals at “Spuke TV.” Time to type up a new lawsuit?
We’ll update you next week when more details emerge…