Randy Couture has made some comments on the increasingly bitter fall-out between himself and the UFC following his decision to take a broadcasting job with would-be rivals Bellator MMA, as he tells Sherdog:
On communication with UFC president Dana White:
“I had some rather interesting and classic texts that came to my phone. This was kind of a couple weeks ago when things started leaking.”
On White saying he was happy Couture is gone:
“I’m happy to not have to put up with and keep my mouth shut and deal with Dana as well. It goes both ways. I have a ton of respect for the UFC. In a lot of ways, I still have respect for Dana and the passion that he has for the sport and the things that him and Lorenzo have managed to do for the sport over the course of their tenure since 2000... certainly there’s plenty of things I don’t agree with.”
On Viacom owning Spike TV and Bellator:
"At the end of the day, they’ve never shied away from competition and I think that’s what’s got them on their heels a little bit now and Dana especially, is that I think they see Viacom and this whole platform as a threat and serious competition to them being considered the only brand in the marketplace in this sport.”
Bellator made its Spike TV debut last month and is set on becoming a thorn in the side of the UFC. It seems Spike TV also has an axe to grind, seeing as the fallout between it and the UFC also had some sharp moments.
Spike claims to be responsible for building the UFC to its current stature and it wants to do the same for Bellator. Part of that involves a reality television show - ‘Fight Masters’ - which on the face of it is not a million miles from The Ultimate Fighter.
Aside from Couture, coach du jour Greg Jackson has also signed up to lead a team on the series, sure to endear him even further to the UFC. He was labelled “a sport killer” in the press release announcing the cancellation of UFC 151 last year.