(“I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself.” PicProps: Connect.in.com)
The simple fact that MMA Fighting.com got stuck talking to Randy Couture’s attorney/manager this week instead of the man himself is probably very telling about what’s going on in Couture’s world these days. Most fighters can barely scrape it together to hire a halfway-legitimate agent or manger (again, just having your girlfriend do it doesn’t count), while “The Natural” is able to dispatch this guy Sam Spira, who we assume has graduated not only from college but then took the LSAT, then graduated from law school, then passed the bar in Nevada. When you consider the sad truth that a lot of fighters don’t even know a lawyer – and no, War Machine, your public defender doesn’t qualify — that’s pretty pimp.
Especially if you can send him out to handle the media obligations you don’t want to do yourself. Hence, we actually kind of believe Spira when he tells AOL on Wednesday that it’s sort of 50-50 whether the 47-year-old Couture will be too busy and too famous trying to balance his new career as an actor (and entertaining "other opportunities") ever to compete in MMA again.
"I’d say right now it’s a toss-up,” Spira says. “If something came up that was interesting, he would fight irrespective of whether he got a meaningful Hollywood role. But there’s other stuff for him to do that’s MMA-related. I think many would be surprised at some of the things we are working on. So he doesn’t have to be actively fighting in the ring to remain active. Is it possible he may not fight again? Yeah, it’s possible. I’d say it’s a toss-up."
Given that, by MMA Fighting’s estimation, “The Expendables” has made “over $100 million domestically and around a quarter-billion dollars worldwide” there’s zero possibility they don’t try to crank out a sequel to that baby as quickly as they can. Also given that producer-director-HGH abuser Sylvester Stallone has seemed particularly smitten with Couture in a bunch of interviews he did after the first film’s release, there’s a pretty good chance that Randy will be in it. After that, where his acting career takes him is anyone’s best guess. On one hand, it seems like the options for a guy with the limited range and scarred up ears of Couture might be few and far between. On the other hand, if Jason Statham can do it, maybe anybody can.
It’s the “other MMA-related stuff” the Spira talks about that is the most interesting, at least to us. Things (that we know about) on Couture’s plate right now include his ever expanding gym franchise, partnering up with Jay Glazer on their MMAthletics workout regimen and gracing the cover of that EA Sports MMA game that seems to have so many websites in its pocket these days. To hear Spira tell it, we can only assume more ventures from Couture are on the way.
But as MMA Fighting points out, Couture still has three fights left on his current UFC deal. Considering his sometimes rocky contractual relationship with the company it’s unlikely Dana & The Boys would let him skate on that without some kind of other airtight legal agreement moving forward. Nonetheless, Spira indicates that as far as actual MMA is concerned Couture is more interested in compelling personal challenges – read: money fights that are winnable for him — than actually fighting championship contenders.
"I’m not sure that Randy is focused upon whether or not he has another run at the title," Spira says. "If they said, ‘Will you fight Shogun (Rua) for the title?’ I think he would, but the title itself is not as important as the fight he’s offered."
With most of the UFC’s other active big names – Machida, Rampage, Rashad, Shogun, etc. — already spoken for, not to mention Chuck Liddell living in Napoleonic forced exile and Rich Franklin out rehabbing yet another injury, it’s unclear where the UFC would try to match Couture up next … though just off the top of our heads we can’t help but notice that Frank Mir is going to need somebody to fight, unless the UFC cuts his boring ass. Just saying.
It would certainly be entirely anticlimactic if one of MMA’s most storied careers ended with a whimper rather than a final shootout inside the cage. Of course, it would also be sort of appropriate for how Couture’s business arrangements have gone over the years.
Spira says they’re just "sorting through things right now," but as all things with Couture, they better be sure they don’t sort through them too long.