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It Doesn't Get Anymore Mainstream Media Than This

TIME is covering the UFC vs Randy muss. Not sure if this is the online version only or if it's in the magazine. I'll call my 70 year old mom and ask her about it -- if she's heard about Randy, it made the magazine.

Here's the key graphs:

To be sure, under White and Fertitta, Ultimate Fighting has gained a lot of respect. In the 1990s, critics like Senator John McCain were deriding ultimate fighting as barbaric, and the public was aghast at the mixed martial arts bloodbaths. The sport was banned in state after state. But the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization slowly built interest among young people, filling the void left by professional boxing, cleaning up the rules and marketing itself through the reality show The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV. The show helped humanize the fighters, managing to coax nobility out of their quests for martial arts fame. Spike TV brags that seven live UFC fights on its channel in 2007 have, on average, attracted more young men in the coveted 18-34 demographic than other sports on cable like basketball, baseball, football, hockey and NASCAR. As ultimate fighting gained legitimacy, it created stars out of Tito Ortiz, Chuck "the Iceman" Liddell and Couture.

Now that facade is beginning to crumble. Liddell, who was recognizable enough to have an episode of HBO's Entourage focused on him, has lost two fights. Ortiz has been in an ongoing feud with White about contractual issues. ("Until Dana White is ready to fight me on a professional basis," said Ortiz at one point, "I strongly urge him to keep his mouth shut.") And now comes Couture's outbursts about money and White's counterattack. "At the end of the day we treat our fighters right," says White. "The whole thing makes no sense. I felt like I got kicked in the throat." This is one no-holds-barred battle that Ultimate Fighting doesn't want.

Yeah Randy might have pissed away his brief remaining window for athletic excellence, but c'mon his 2007 run has been all gravy anyhow. The guy was a Hall of Famer when he retired last time. As far as his credibility, yeah, that seems covered in poo, but that's what happens when you start a feces flinging match with Dana.

Yeah Randy's making a lot of money and is looking like a typical whining jock. But as Zach Arnold points out below, Randy has exposed some really corrupt and skanky contractual practices that Zuffa has been indulging in.

My prediction is that the sport will survive.

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