The following is an open letter from Randy Couture’s wife, Kim Couture, posted on xtremecouture.com:
Before I married Randy and we started dating three years ago he made me aware of his frustrations with the UFC and all of the uphill battles he has been fighting. I’ve witnessed some of them firsthand. Dana and the Fertittas, in particular, have never been anything but nice and genuine to me. It’s not a personal issue with them, but my experience with the organization. When anyone from our staff has called to ask for anything, be it tickets to a fight, rooms or something that was very important to myself and Randy like the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation charity fundraiser, the answer was always no or no response at all. We could list a lot of petty little things, but that’s what it is – petty. So no need to list them. Every time we asked them for anything they acted like we were bothering them, unless they needed something from Randy; then their attitude was different. Dana’s statement that he offered me a job when Randy asked him for it is silly. I need another job like I need a hole in the head. I offered my help when Shannon Knapp left the UFC as the celebrity interviewer because I had experience doing interviews before. I was excited to be part of the organization and to be working alongside Randy.
I wish they could really see this for what it is. If Randy really means anything to them, stop blaming this on a “Hollywood agent,” or worrying about the fact that people think he might be going to fight for another organization. It’s purely people’s opinions and speculation. Dana knows in his heart of hearts how they have treated Randy.
For the past six years, Randy has given the UFC 100% hard work and effort, while I don’t feel they gave him 100% honesty and respect. I feel sad that it all had to come to this because both of us have such love and passion for the UFC and the sport in general. We love and enjoyed working with all the staff and certainly all the fighters. Being one of the biggest fans of the sport and my husband, I’ll miss seeing him fight as well.
From my perspective as his wife, the UFC saying this is about the money is a joke; they know better. Our other businesses Xtreme Couture Clothing, Couture Nutrition, and the gyms have paid him more money in the last year than he has ever been paid in a fight. Over and over again he has stated it isn’t about the money, but I guess people hear what they want to hear. At the press conference, Randy asked the press if they were a journalist for 11 years and were the top producer and their company brought in a guy from another organization and gave him a signing bonus and more salary than they ever made, wouldn’t they be insulted as well?
If it were about compensation he’d have gone elsewhere a long time ago. The offers have been out there before and are out there now and he hasn’t considered any of them. I know that there has never been a question in his mind to go fight for another organization; in fact he gave up being an owner of his own promotion (Sportfight) to satisfy the UFC’s request to not be part of another organization. Sportfight was a regional promotion that was grooming fighters like Chris Leben, Nate Quarry, Ed Herman, and Gray Maynard for the UFC.
When Randy came out of retirement to fight Tim, I had thoroughly encouraged him because he had more fights left in him. He wanted to fight regardless of what he was getting paid. He negotiated that contract by himself because he wanted to trust the UFC and give them the opportunity to do the right thing without an agent or manager. Randy has had problems in the past because the UFC didn’t like his managers, and he felt it would be easier to just do the contract himself, putting his trust in them.
Nothing that Randy has ever done has been based on an irrational decision. His reputation speaks for itself. The people that are close to him know that it takes a lot to get Randy upset. Most people have never seen him upset. He’s such a positive person, always sees the bright side of things, and takes the bad things with a grain of salt. “Everything always works itself out,” he says on a daily basis. This is six years of little things and big things adding up. He’s hurt and disappointed.
Dana has been quoted saying that he and Randy are good friends. Well, I wish Dana would take this opportunity to realize the UFC has made mistakes. I hope at this point, instead of making this worse and making it about things that it isn’t, Dana can see it for what it is and this can all come to an end. Randy doesn’t want to keep going on and on about this matter or debating the issues. His reputation has always been to let his actions speak louder than words.
Randy isn’t out driving fancy sports cars, living an extravagant lifestyle or partying like a rock star. He is a simple person. When it comes to spending money it is usually on something that has to do with supporting our company, our team or our brand. Everyone close to us knows that this is not something that needs to be debated – from the GI Foundation that supports our military troops to the seminars he has done donating all the money to helping various causes such as Autism and others. He is a giver and not a taker. We’ve always invited the UFC to get involved in all that we do.
I believe that the UFC didn’t see the value that Randy brought to the organization outside of being a fighter. Marketing dollars weren’t spent promoting Randy as a mainstay of this sport because all of the matches were set up to see him lose.
The fighters themselves have stressed to me their appreciation for what he has done for the sport. Randy has always been willing to share his knowledge and experience. Whether the UFC set it up or Randy did, he traveled wherever asked to educate people and support the sport and the UFC brand. He is the one who brought the opportunity to the UFC to be part of the Arnold Classic and have a show in Ohio which, in turn, ended up being their largest selling show with 19,079 fans, breaking the North American attendance record. That’s just one example of what he brought to the table.
Randy took his letter of resignation to the meeting he had with Dana and Lorenzo two weeks before leaving for South Africa. He was prepared to resign in person. He told them his complaints and wanted to give them the opportunity to make things right, never asking for another dollar. I don’t understand why they didn’t take his concerns in that meeting seriously. He wanted to address the issues and understand why they were treating him the way they were. It was pretty obvious there was an issue when he didn’t get a bonus after the Gonzaga fight and he went to the horse’s mouth to find out why. Randy has never complained in the past. It’s unfortunate that people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. They could have prevented this.
I stand behind Randy’s decision. Nobody can tell another person how they should or shouldn’t feel – not me, nor a Hollywood agent or any organization. Randy feels the way he feels. He’s always put other people and the UFC before himself and it’s nice to see him make the decision to stand up for himself. During the amazing time we spent in South Africa without Internet or cell phones, Randy was finally given the opportunity to relax and he realized that he does run himself into the ground. We haven’t spent enough time enjoying the fruits of his labor. The trip was very rejuvenating!
Randy has worked hard to build his career and this sport with integrity. I’d like to see him slow down and stop and smell the roses. He deserves a break. His schedule has been crazy for the last three years and everything has had to do with the sport one way or another. We love our fighters. They are our family and we are looking forward to spending more time at the gym with them. Randy will continue to corner them and help them in their careers. That goes for all other fighters out there as well. He has tremendous relationships with most of the guys in the sport and will still be involved and there for them regardless of this decision. The businesses we started, the clothing company, nutrition company and gyms, will continue to support and sponsor the new generation of MMA fighters, which was the point of us wanting to start these new companies; they benefit all of us.
I encourage you all not to believe everything you read, but to watch Randy’s press conference and see for yourself, in Randy’s own words, why he made this decision. Thank you for your support.