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Randy Couture Talks Non-Exclusivity

He thinks we need it or the sport will "end up like boxing". To wit:

With Afflicition starting their own promotion and organizations like Adrenaline dabbling in non-exclusive contracts, do you think this new trend of non-exclusivity and fighters competing in multiple organizations is the wave of the future for MMA, or do you think the exclusive system that the UFC uses will ultimately win out in some form?

I think it has to change. The exclusivity has to go away or else we're going to have the same problems with becoming a fractured sport the way boxing has. The top guys have to be allowed to fight each other. That needs to happen in this sport. Even if it means that you have to put your champion out there and sometimes you lose, it's still great for marketing the sport and it's necessary for the integrity of the sport. For the sake of our fan base, that needs to happen. WAMMA is one group that has the potential to help make that happen, and I hope it will.

WAMMA does indeed have the potential to make it happen, but they are also facing incredibly difficult odds. I find the idea of a sanctioning body in a sport based heavily on the professional wrestling business model to be an incongruity, notwithstanding that the key player in the matter - the UFC - most certainly will never join their efforts. That inability to capture the most important and meaningful fish in the big pond will significantly reduce WAMMA's legitimacy if not remove it altogether.

And as a fan of the sport I'd like to state I would want to see the best fighters face each other. But part of the push for non-exclusivity is clearly a business move by smaller organizations to practice "unite and conquer". In other words, I absolutely do not buy the argument that the promoters of non-exclusivity are merely interested in preventing the sport's fracturing or rewarding the fan base. They are interested in being more significant and active players in the sport and use the non-exclusivity line to attract high-level free agents who don't want to overcommit to a smaller show and to leverage themselves against the might of the UFC.

I'm sure everyone is well-intentioned, by and large. But you have to see this for what it is: there's no reason or incentive for the UFC to ever join WAMMA and trying to do business without them as a sanctioning body is almost as good as not doing business at all.

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