The UFC has announced that it will hold a public press conference tomorrow at 4 PM EST.
UFC President Dana White and UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta will be on hand to address recent statements made by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture about the company and to answer any questions that the media may have about the situation.
The press conference will be streamed live on UFC.com.
Kevin Iole’s latest piece on Yahoo! Sports has a direct quote from UFC President Dana White stating that Randy Couture did indeed receive a signing bonus and even cashed the check.
Couture said during the news conference that he said he asked for a signing bonus prior to signing the four-fight agreement that is in effect. He said he was flat refused and that part of his anger stemmed from the fact that he believed other fighters were receiving signing bonuses.
White, who said that by speaking about his promotional agreement and bout agreement that Couture was violating a confidentiality clause, flatly denied that.
“Randy Couture said he didn’t receive a signing bonus, but not only did he receive a signing bonus, he cashed the check on Jan. 30,” White said by telephone from his office. “I’m holding it in my hand right now. The check was dated Jan. 15 and he cashed it on Jan. 30.
Now I’m going to be honest I didn’t see the entire press conference that Couture held. I saw most of the second half because I was also listening to the UFC conference call. I’ve watched some video, listened to some audio and I think I have things down.
However something just doesn’t seem right here.
Was there any point during the press conference where Randy said that he never received a signing bonus for a fight that I might have missed?
The only quote I’ve seen from Couture in regards to a signing bonus was his comment that Fedor was offered more in the form of a signing bonus by the UFC than he has ever been paid to fight.
The only bonus I recall Couture not getting was after his fight against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74. The context that Couture mentioned those bonuses in was just checks that were given to the marquee fighters on the card regularly in the locker room after their bouts.
The signing bonus that White is referring to must be from Couture’s new deal that he signed with the UFC earlier in the year because it has nothing to do with his fight in August. Could this be a case of receiving misinformation on White’s behalf or am I missing something?
I’m going to go back and look for anything from Couture about not receiving a signing bonus later on today…
Update 10/27 09:30 AM: Josh Gross now has an interview with Couture up at Sherdog where they discuss the fact that White denied a signing bonus for Couture when he signed his new deal earlier this year:
Seated at a desk positioned in the center of a boxing ring inside his spacious Xtreme Couture training facility, Couture recalled having asked White and Fertitta for a “signing bonus” on the contract that would save him from retirement and eventually return the only multi-divisional champion in UFC history back to king status.
Couture said he was told by White, “No, we can’t give you a signing bonus.”
“I didn’t understand why I wasn’t really worthy of one, but it didn’t really matter,” Couture said. “What ultimately I wanted to do was fight, so I accepted the contract then. Moved on. Fought.”
Thursday evening, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports published a report that included a statement from White that challenged Couture’s assertion he was denied a signing bonus.
“Randy Couture said he didn’t receive a signing bonus, but not only did he receive a signing bonus, he cashed the check on Jan. 30,” the UFC president told Iole. “I’m holding it in my hand right now. The check was dated Jan. 15 and he cashed it on Jan. 30.”
Contacted Friday to clarify his comments, Couture told Sherdog.com that the check White referred to was $250,000 he had cashed at the signing of the deal, though he explained it was an advance on a $500,000 post-fight “off the book” bonus that, according to him, the UFC had promised.
“I’m giving you the same shower room ‘off the book’ bonus that I gave you after the Chuck fight, which was the same amount. I’ll give you half of that money up front and the other half after the fight,” Couture said White told him during negotiations. “I remember clearly the conversation with Lorenzo (Fertitta) about the signing bonus and all that. If they’ve gone ahead and somehow made that a signing bonus then I guess, technically, I misspoke myself. But I’m not sure if that’s the case. I only know what I discussed with Lorenzo and what I know the facts were as far as I know.”
The UFC declined to comment to Sherdog.com whether the money paid to Couture was part of a guaranteed signing bonus or an advance on a promised post-fight check, leaving both parties playing a deteriorating game of semantics.
I guess I must have missed something. My apologies to Iole and White…
Here is the first half of Randy Couture’s press conference from yesterday courtesy of Raw Vegas.
The first video is Couture’s introduction and the second is the first half of the Q&A session Randy had with the media. The second half should be available later today.
All Randy Couture wants is the one thing he’s constantly earned over his 10 year MMA career: Respect.
Couture held a public press conference earlier today at his Xtreme Couture training facility in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss his reasons behind resigning from the UFC just two weeks ago.
Couture was quick to point out that he doesn’t want to do any harm to the promotion that caused him to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
“I talked to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on the phone yesterday and I told them both that I’m not trying to hurt the organization in any way,” said Couture. “I told them how I felt. There weren’t any shouting matches or anything like that. Dana made particular comments that he’d like me to come back but based on the responses that were put on the table I don’t see it happening right now.”
“I’m tired of swimming against the current,” continued Couture. “I just want to be treated the way that I deserve and I haven’t been treated that way in a long time. If I would have come out and made inflammatory statements about the UFC and how I was being treated then it would have made it worse while I was still fighting and talking about contracts. I didn’t try to create a big buzz and I didn’t want to start anything. I simply laid out my feelings about why I was resigning.”
The UFC held a conference call with the media earlier today to announce a new television deal with Spike TV and to discuss the UFC’s recent acquisition of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar and the much anticipated bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in December.
Jennifer Wenk, the UFC’s head of public relations was the host of the call. Participants on the call included UFC President Dana White, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva, Brock Lesnar, and Spike TV officials Brian Diamond and Kevin Kay.
Right off the bat Dana was asked if he purposely planned a conference call at the same time Randy Couture was slated to hold his press conference.
“Am I putting on a press conference to fuck with Randy Couture right now?” asked White. “Is that what you’re asking me? No, it’s not intentional. I’m here to announce the Spike deal and discuss the Lesnar signing as well as talk about Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva and their fight, that’s it. Is it a coincidence that we got this deal done the same week that Randy decided to speak out? No.”
White let everyone know that he still likes Couture as a person and would love to have him back. He was also confident that Couture would return in the near future.
“He’s mine,” claimed White “He’s under contract to me and he can’t fight anywhere else. I don’t know what his people are telling him but resignation or not he won’t be permitted to fight anywhere else. Besides that I love Randy. Randy is pissed at me. We’re friends and friends get pissed at each other. However I’m real confident that we’re going to kiss and make up real soon.”
The details of the UFC’s new deal with Spike TV are as follows:
The contract is a four year deal. There will be five more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Two seasons will take place in 2008, two in 2009, and only one season in 2010. The UFC and Spike TV are also developing a new television show that will premiere in 2010. The show will feature live fights and fighters of a “higher caliber” than those currently featured on TUF according to White.
White also stated that the UFC will produce 12 live events on Spike TV for next year.
“We’re going to do 12 live fight cards for next year,” said White. “We’ll continue to do UFC Fight Nights. We’re back in bed with these guys. They’ve been so good to us over the years and we’re going to do a lot of good programs.”
Yahoo! Sports will stream today’s scheduled UFC media conference call at 4 PM EST through the MMA section of the site.
UFC President Dana White will host the call and announce a new television deal that the UFC has signed. White will also discuss the UFC’s recent acquisition of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar and the much anticipated bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in December.
Lesnar, Liddell, and Silva are all expected to be part of the call.
While listeners will be able to hear the entire call in full, only certified members of the media will be permitted to ask questions.
Remember that Randy Couture’s press conference concerning his resignation from the UFC will take place at 4:30 PM EST live from Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas and will be streamed on Pro Elite’s official website.
We will have extensive coverage of both events.
Some notes from yesterday’s M-1 Global press conference which took place in New York City…
- Sibling Sports LLC is the name of the undisclosed American entertainment company that purchased M-1. The company is formed by Sibling Theatricals Inc and Garlin Holdings Limited. Mitchell Maxwell will serve as President of Sibling Sports while Monte Cox will serve as President and CEO of M-1 Global.
- Fedor Emelianenko’s contract is a two-year, six-fight, multi-million dollar deal. He has a clause in the contract that will allow him to fight in other organizations. If the UFC is able to bring Randy Couture back and would like to set up a mega-fight between him and Fedor, M-1 will send him over and also pay Couture and the winner of the fight an extra $1 million.
- M-1 Global is planning their first show to take place in the United States in February. They would also like to host shows in Russia, Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands as well. At least three of the promotion’s events next year will take place outside of the United States. The first show in Japan will most likely take place next summer.
- The company is still looking for a television deal. HBO, Showtime, and HDNet are said to all be among the interested parties.
- The new stable of fighters recently signed with the promotion will be revealed within the next 7-10 days.
- Fedor’s next opponent has not yet been named. Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt are said to be the favorites.
- M-1 Global will continue to use a rule set similar to the set that PRIDE used before it’s collapse. The promotion would like to adopt a set of rules that could be used anywhere in the future however.
- According to Fedor, the UFC apparently turned down an offer from PRIDE to have Fedor fight Tim Sylvia when he was the UFC Heavyweight Champion for unknown reasons. Fedor also added that a similar offer was made to match up Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva when they were champions as well.
- The UFC made a contract offer to Aleksander Emelianenko but the deal was apparently much lower than what Aleksander is worth according to his brother.
As you probably already heard, the UFC has officially announced the signing of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is expected to make his UFC debut in February.
Ricardo Almedia’s signing with the UFC has also been made official by the company.
No formal announcement of Wanderlei Silva’s next opponent was made, despite claims that Silva was set to do so himself.
MMA Junkie ran into Silva at the event and asked him about the rumored matchup:
MMA Junkie bumped into the former PRIDE champion in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, and the fighter couldn’t help smile when we asked him about a rumored fight with Liddell.
“Dec. 29 I go into the ring and finally beat (Liddell),” Silva said. “Unless Chuck (is) scared, we fight then.“
Tim Sylvia challenged fellow heavyweight Cheick Kongo after his victory over Brandon Vera:
“We don’t know what’s going on with Randy [Couture] right now,” Sylvia said. “He’s a little bit in limbo. I don’t want to sit my ass down and wait for him, so I think Cheick and I should fight.”
However White has stated that Sylvia will most likely fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC Heavyweight Title early next year.
UFC President Dana White announced the winners of the usual performance bonuses at the post-fight press conference:
Knockout of the night - Anderson Silva
Submission of the night - Demian Maia
Fight of the night - Jason Black vs Matt Grice
Each fighter will receive a bonus of $40,000, the highest that has ever been given out.
White also announced that UFC 77 broke the official gate record at the U.S. Bank Arena, bringing in a total of $2.54 million.
Randy Couture will hold a public press conference this coming Thursday to discuss his depature from the UFC.
White mentioned that the UFC would return to Ohio next March. He also said that Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta are all being considered to host shows next year.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports is reporting that Franklin is expected to consider retirement.
Yushin Okami’s contract with the UFC apparently expired after last night’s fight with Jason MacDonald.
When asked about a future opponent for Silva, White threw Thales Leites, Ricardo Almeida, and David Terrell out there as possibilities.
Rogers Sportsnet caught an interesting quote that came from UFC President Dana White when asked about the Randy Couture situation, shedding light on the reality that a potential battle between White and Couture may be closer to happening than most think:
“I think this is a bigger picture than what guys make,” White said. “Couture’s up to something, I don’t know what the endgame is here.”
“The whole thing is mind-boggling to me,” he added. “This is not Randy Couture. I’ve dealt with the guy for eight years and I would have never expected this. But he’s upset and we’ll either figure it out or we won’t.”
The disagreement on terms of the contract is still ongoing as well. White is adamant that Couture remains under contract with the UFC no matter what:
“Oh he definitely belongs to me, he’s under contract to me. No doubt about it.”
“I’ll tell you right now, there isn’t anyone in this industry that takes care of their fighters better than we do,” he added. “Sometimes it takes leaving to realize that.”
The more and more I think about it, the more White’s claim of Couture’s new agent being the cause of the problem makes sense…
News and Notes
- The Fight Network is reporting that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will face Mike Rourke in his promotional debut at EliteXC: Renegade on Nov. 10 at the America Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- Randy Couture’s agent spoke with The Fight Network yesterday shooting down rumors about Couture earning between $3.25 and $3.75 million per fight.
“Based on Randy’s contract, $3.25 to $3.75 million is not even in the ballpark,” Walker said. “It’s beyond exaggerated. He’d never make that. I know what he’s been paid; I’ve seen the pay-per-view numbers. The numbers that are being thrown around are not accurate. Whoever gave that information does not have their facts straight.”
- The Fight Network is also reporting that B.J. Penn, the UFC’s current number one contender for the lightweight title may not face either Sean Sherk or Joe Stevenson until early February.
- So is Joe Riggs in or out of the Strikeforce middleweight tournament?
Loretta Hunt says that he’s out:
Joe Riggs will not be one of the four contestants to compete in California’s first regulated four-man tournament scheduled for Nov. 16’s Strikeforce “Four Man Enter, One Man Survives” event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Riggs declined the slot, however, and will seek a single fight on the card instead.
“It’s a timing thing,” said Riggs’ manager Scott Lewis. “He just fought two weeks ago and he doesn’t want to step into the cage two times in one night. We’re speaking with Scott Coker [Strikeforce’s promoter] to see if we can get him a single fight that night. He loves working with Strikeforce and is looking to get on that card.”
However Sam Caplan reports that Riggs is still undecided:
When contacted by ProElite.com, Riggs did confirm that his status for the tournament is currently uncertain but did not rule out the possibility of competing in it.
According to Riggs, his former agent, Ken Pavia, committed him to the tournament without receiving proper consent. Riggs now has new representation and is evaluating the opportunity. He indicated that he could ready to make a decision on whether he will compete in the next several days.
- Be sure to check out our newest feature ‘Break It Down’ where John and I provide our thoughts and predictions on every fight set to take place Saturday night at UFC 77: Hostile Territory.
- Don’t forget to cast your vote on our latest edition of ‘Rock the Vote’.
- UFC veteran Elvis Sinosic will replace Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos at Cage Rage 24. Sinosic will be stepping up to face British fighter Paul Cahoon.
- Adam Smith will appeal his positive tests for steroids, marijuana, and cocaine with the CSAC.
- Eddie Alvarez has told Sam Caplan that he’s been informed to prepare for a possible rematch with Nick Thompson in December.
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