clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Randy Couture Mistaken?

Dave Meltzer does his best to get a sense of why the UFC and Randy Couture are contradicting one another when it comes to how much Couture is paid, but it sounds like he's leaning towards the UFC's side. Notable quote:

Couture's guarantee in the contract he agreed to at the beginning of this year when he agreed to come out of retirement, was for $250,000 per fight as well as an undisclosed percentage of the PPV revenue.

It's that percentage that has become an issue. Couture claimed that at a meeting with UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta and White a few weeks back that they told him he was the second-highest paid fighter in the company. White maintains he is. Couture claimed he checked around with other fighters and he isn't.

As far as base pay goes, he is behind Chuck Liddell and Mirko Cro Cop and would have been well behind Emelianenko had that deal been put together. But when you throw in percentages, it's a more difficult question to answer because we don't know his contracted cut compared to other main eventers. He also could have the second highest contracted cut, but other fighters, because they happened to headline matches that drew more, may have wound up making more per match. It's a complicated issue and both sides could be honest when claiming contradictory things.

Couture, who returns at the end of the week from South Africa, where he's filming a movie, also felt UFC wasn't treating him with respect. UFC officials countered that there was nobody they respected any more. He was signed to a six-figure contract to announce and be the company's voice of credibility in promoting upcoming fights during his year-long retirement and was given a championship shot on his first match back.

I hear what Meltzer is suggesting about contracted cuts and percentages, but the fact of the matter is that the issue shouldn't even be this murky. While I'm not entitled to peer into the various stipulations of Couture's contract, it seems to me a star as marquee as Couture shouldn't even be close to other fighters (save Liddell) when it comes to take home pay - even if the buyrates on PPVs he headlined don't bring in as much as others. Couture is at once a fighter, a celebrity, a commentator, and an ambassador for the sport. Even if his contract compensated him for each of those endeavors, Couture is more than the sum of his parts. Perhaps that's what he's alluding to when he says he's been disrespected by the UFC. He's being compensated for the individual labor efforts, which in his mind is only part of what he means to the organization.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow