Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MMA: Randy Couture Returns to UFC

Randy Couture is the current UFC World Heavyweight Champion. Last August he destroyed Gabriel Gonzaga, and then two months later he announced that he was resigning as UFC champion. This happened right after the negotiations between the UFC and heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, which was a fight that Couture had publicly stated he wanted.

Then it came out that Couture was not actually retiring, and he felt his pay level was a sign of disrespect.

In February Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira beat Tim Sylvia in a match for the UFC Interim Heavyweight title. Couture was never stripped, because UFC contracts have an automatic roll over if you are a champion. Your contract won't expire until you lose the belt. Randy Couture being the Heavyweight Champion helped the UFC's legal standing.

He sued to be released from his contract, the UFC counter sued, and then Couture appeared on the Affliction PPV in July. The court date for his contractual dispute was schedule for September/October, and I guess Couture realized that he had no legal standing.

A week ago had reported that Couture was in negotiations for a new 3 fight deal with the UFC. Yesterday the UFC held a press conference where they announced the new contract for the 45 year old Couture.

His first fight back will be at UFC 91 on November 15th against Brock Lesner. It will be a 5 round title fight in Las Vegas. Then winner of the Couture-Lesner fight will face the winner of December's Interim Heavyweight title fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir sometime next Spring.

UFC President Dana White, Randy Couture, and Brock Lesner were all present for yesterday's press conference. Many of the questions were about a possible Couture-Fedor fight, which is a fight that would make a ton of money. Dana White said that they were interested in that fight, but Fedor is under contract with Affliction and he is not interested in tampering. The Fedor questions continued, and Brock Lesner had finally heard enough and he responded with the highlight of the press conference:

"Who give a shit about Fedor? I'm sick of hearing about fucking Fedor. He's not with the company, he might not ever be with the company, so who gives a shit?"

This was awesome! If Fedor ever does sign a deal with the UFC then the pre match hype videos will be filled with that quote, and everyone will want to see that fight. Brock Lesner is a former WWE professional wrestling champion, and he knows how to sell a fight.

Also in the press conference Dana White says that the Couture-Lesner fight will top 1 million buys. The UFC has not yet reached the 1 million buys mark, so it's difficult to estimate that high but this is definitely going to be a huge fight.

The next few months of UFC action is going to be very exciting, and the company is about to make a ridiculous amount of money over the next quarter. Affliction on the other hand? Well, Dana White said in the press conference that he would be shocked to see Affliction in business come January, and I can't say that I disagree with him.

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