Below are excerpt from an article that appeared on Time.com:
Ultimate fighting, a blood sport for the video game generation, has been one of the most sensational successes of 21st century athletics. The spectacle of fighters kicking, punching, stomping, elbowing and suffocating each other into unconsciousness has successfully pulled fans away from boxing. Its champions have become household names. And the sport’s leading promoter, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has become all that professional boxing had ceased to be: well-run, well-marketed, with fighters who are seemingly happy to sacrifice their bodies and craniums for glory and relatively low pay. Elite gladiators endure punishment for somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 a fight, the lesser-known pugilists receiving fractions of that amount.
Randy Couture, 44, a five-time champion in two weight divisions and the sport’s most public face, announced his retirement a few weeks ago. That surprised UFC aficionados and its executives, who believe he is under contract and can’t retire. But what surprised them even more was the sucker punch Couture delivered on his departure. “I’m tired of being taken advantage of, played as the nice guy and basically swimming against the current with the management of the UFC,” he said. “I have a lot of other things going on in my life that I’m doing just fine with. I don’t need the problems. I don’t feel like I get the respect I deserve from the organization.”
UFC president Dana White went on the counterattack following Couture’s statements. White, an ex-boxing manager, accused Couture of having a “puke Hollywood agent” giving him bad advice. At a press conference Tuesday in which he disputed Couture’s claims, White said the fighter was paid $2.9 million last year, including a $500,000 signing bonus — even brandishing a canceled check to prove it.
White was conciliatory as well, complimenting Couture as a great champion and expressing the hope that Couture would continue to defend his belt.