(“That’s a great question, Fabricio. Actually, Chuck and I have found that through careful investment research it’s possible to locate dependable mutual funds that can average as much as 12 percent annual growth over the long term.”)
Look, we gotta believe there are a limited number of fake jobs that Zuffa, LLC can possibly make up for aging former fighters as the company’s way of saying, “Thanks for getting punched in the head for so many years so Dana could buy a new Ferrari.” Chuck already has one, Matt Hughes obviously wants one and now MMA grandpa Randy Couture is making noise about wanting one too. Not for nothing, but if we were Liddell we might be getting a little nervous right now. I mean, if you could choose to have Couture as your phony Vice President of Business Development instead of THIS GUY, you’d do it in a heartbeat, right? Office politics can be a bitch that way.
Couture, in fact, has allowed himself to be drawn into a number of rather speculative discussions this week as part of his pre-retirement, pre-UFC 129 media blitz. Aside from saying he’s hoping for a “political” job with the UFC during Tuesday’s conference call he had what appeared to be a fairly frank talk with ESPN about “fighters’ rights” on Wednesday. Couture seemed to agree that issue is of increasing importance as Zuffa continues to consolidate more and more power. Instead of resorting to the much-talked-about idea of a union however, he’s hopeful that somebody can “sit down (with the UFC) and figure out a way to take care of the guys in this company so that everybody feels good about (it).” Now, who on earth would be a good candidate to do that?
“There’s going to be a battle,” Couture said on the subject. “I’d rather sit down with the UFC, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta and figure out a way to implement some things with their blessing … Health insurance for fighters when they’re not competing is a huge issue … (and) how about a retirement plan of some sort? Or at least educate these guys on how to take care of their money. How many MMA stars, five or six years from now, are going to be broke and destitute? We’ve seen that in boxing, and it’s a shame. An absolute shame.”
Couture knows a thing or two about handling contentious negotiations, as getting into it with the UFC over contractual issues was basically his MO throughout his fighting career. In his old age though, he’s starting to sound more and more like a company man. During the ESPN interview he repeats his belief that a fighters’ union might do more harm than good and even flatly misrepresents the details of the current NFL lockout by way of example.
“There’s a whole bunch of issues when you start unionizing,” Couture said. “Look at football. The players are looking at a lockout because they might have to play two more games in a season and not increase their pay. I mean, why are you in the sport? Because you love to play the game, right? There’s a give and take there. (Unions) can sometimes get carried away.”
Yeah, that’s not what it’s about at all. Actually, it was the NFL owners (not the players) who voted to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement way back in 2008 and … fuck it, never mind. The point is, Couture comes kind of dangerously close to sounding like a company shill in this interview and we can’t help but wonder if that’s by design. Perhaps Zuffa could make use of a retired Randy Couture as sort of a liaison to younger fighters, negotiating a future political give-and-take while avoiding the specter of an actual union, which is the last thing all the millionaires running the company want.
Then again, maybe his aspirations are far more pedestrian …
“I see myself hopefully being with the UFC and Zuffa and getting involved in some other way, shape or form,“ Couture said during the media call. “I know there are a lot of things to be done politically in a lot of places, certainly New York State comes to mind. But I enjoyed commentating when I did that for a couple years, that’s someplace I see myself going back to and kind of continuing to give that fighter’s perspective in the booth for pay-per-views. So, we’ll see what Zuffa wants to do and how they want to keep me involved.”
Oh shit, brainstorm: Hire both Chuck and Randy. We smell a reality show: Once rivals, now co-workers, how will these two ever get along?