Randy Couture: Getting banned from son's UFC corner was 'over the line'


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randy-couture-27.jpgRandy Couture knew his decision to join forces with the UFC’s largest competitor wouldn’t be welcome news to UFC President Dana White. A certain amount of backlash was, he figured, to be expected.

What the former UFC champ didn’t expect, he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was that it would get him barred from working his son’s corner at future UFC events.

“In my opinion, that’s over the line,” said Couture, whose left his role as a UFC commentator in order to sign with former UFC broadcast partner Spike TV. The decision led to him being effectively banned from son Ryan’s corner when the younger Couture made his octagon debut at the UFC on FUEL TV 9 event in April.

Now that the elder Couture is gearing up for the June 19 premiere of Spike TV’s “Fight Master” reality show, where he’ll serve as one of four coaches, the retired MMA legend said he has no regrets about his decision to leave his UFC gig for a more visible role with Spike TV and Bellator MMA. If anything, he said, White’s verbal tirades in the media only increased “Fight Master’s” public profile.

“Dana did me and the show a huge favor by creating such a media s–t storm over the show and my decision to sign a deal with Spike,” Couture said. “He attracted a lot of attention to a new show. It’s unfortunate because I gave the UFC every opportunity to keep me with the company, and they made the decision to pass. I think there were still some underlying issues from the previous rubs that we’ve had. But at the end of the day, I have to take care of me. I have a family and a legacy and a lot of things I’ve got to protect. If they aren’t going to use me and employ me, I might as well go somewhere else where I can affect the sport, do something positive, and continue to make a living. I have no hard feelings. At the end of the day, it’s all business.”

At least, that’s what Couture thought. He expected that partnering with a competitor would get him taken off White’s Christmas card list. He also thought a little public lambasting from the outspoken UFC president wasn’t out of the question.

But when White called up his son to offer him an exit from his contract and to tell him, in White’s words, “Randy Couture can’t buy a ticket to this motherf—ing event,” that’s when it started to feel personal for “Captain America.”

“[White] has sons,” Couture said. “How would he like it if I was in a position to affect his son’s lives and careers that way? On one hand, he wants to tell my son he’ll treat him like any other fighter, and give him an out if he wants out, but then he turns right around and tells him, ‘You won’t be able to have your dad corner you.’ I’ve been part of his camp and part of his career since the beginning. He’s not treating him like any other fighter. I don’t see Greg Jackson being eliminated from Georges St-Pierre‘s or Jon Jones‘ corners. He’s in the same show I’m in. I think there’s a bit of a double-standard going on there.”

The younger Couture lost his UFC debut to fellow lightweight Ross Pearson, and his father maintains that, if anything, the UFC’s stance on whom he has in his corner is ultimately counterproductive to the company’s own goals.

“At the end of the day, what’s most important to me is my son’s career,” Couture said. “It’s his relationship with Zuffa and Dana that he has to worry about and take care of, because he’s competing for them now. They certainly stand to make more money off him and the last name that he’s dragging around if they’re cooperative and let him do the things he needs to do to be successful, than they do by hindering him and his ability to perform.”

As for how he’ll deal with the situation going forward, Couture said, his main objective is not to make his son’s job any harder than it already is. The elder Couture may have beef with the UFC president, and he’s certainly not the only former employee to express it lately, but he maintains he’s trying his best not to let it impact his son’s career.

“I’m just trying to stay out of the way like I have for his whole career,” Couture said. “I’m trying to not create a burden, and not create bigger issues for him.”

(Pictured: Randy Couture)

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