UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture has turned down a proposed title defense against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81 according to a report from MMA Weekly.
Couture was apparently offered the bout during a meeting with UFC President Dana White. While Couture ultimately decided to turn down the offer and will now most likely be stripped of the title, he has noted that talks went well and that he hopes into continue a relationship with the UFC in the future:
“We’ve cleared the air, and hopefully we’ll move forward with some sort of relationship,” Couture said. “I’ve got a lot of fighters and a lot of things that hinge around mixed martial arts and the UFC as well. I want to continue to work with them and I think that they want to continue to work with me, so we’ll figure out how that happens.”
Various reports from this past week have suggested that Nogueira will now most likely face former champion Tim Sylvia for the vacant title at some point early next year.
The UFC held a press conference earlier today with the media to in order to “protect” themselves from any false claims that UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture made during his own press conference last week.
UFC President Dana White, UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and the UFC’s Chief Financial Officer John Mulkey were all on hand to share their thoughts on the situation involving Couture, to challenge some of the claims that Couture made, and to answer any other questions that the media had.
White started off the press conference by mentioning that he hated that the whole situation was going on that the UFC never wants to have to do anything like this again, but they felt as a company that they wanted to protect themselves. White said that he still considers Couture a friend and that the UFC wasn’t holding the press conference to belittle him.
One of the first counters that White made was to a statement made by Couture’s wife Kim, who said that the UFC did not market her husband. White reminded everyone that Couture was one of the first coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, was involved in the 2nd and 4th seasons of the show, and also had his own day of programming on Spike TV, an idea created by White himself.
White said that he was proud of the fact that Randy claims he makes just as much money outside of the UFC as he does competing in the organization. White said that is the long-term goal for the fighters – that they can continue to profit from their success long after they stop fighting in the Octagon.
Fertitta, who was making a rare press conference appearance, revealed that he had negotiated Couture’s new contract that he signed in January with him. He said that after the talks were done, Couture seemed relatively happy with the results and what he had agreed to. Fertitta also noted that he was hurt by many of the comments that Randy made last week and feels that he put on that press conference in order to attempt to hurt the UFC.
We all wanted to know what the numbers were and here they are:
Couture made a base salary of $200,000 for his fights against Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. Couture also asked for and received a signing bonus of $500,000. $250,000 of that bonus was given to Couture up front and the final $250,000 was given to Couture following his fight against Sylvia at UFC 68. Couture received this check on January 15th and cashed it on January 30th.
On top of his salary, Couture was also paid a $200,000 employment fee, a commentating fee of $56,000, and the PPV bonus for UFC 68 was $936,000. Not counting the signing bonus, Couture made $1.186 million for fighting at UFC 68. Couture has received $936,000 to date from his UFC 68 earnings.
For UFC 74, Couture received a $35,000 bonus for fight of the night. He is also expected to earn $787,000 in PPV bonuses for UFC 74. He is expected to earn $1.072 million for UFC 74. The UFC has not yet been paid for UFC 74 but when they do, Couture will be paid 10 days after that. The UFC expects Couture to have grossed $2.9 million by years end.
All of the numbers were reported by Mulkey. Mulkey also stated that the discretionary fees Couture talked about are not just determined by Dana White but by all those involved in the management of the UFC. Mulkey said that Couture was off by $436,000 in his bonus claims.
- White says that the UFC is the only company he knows of that pays fighters more than what is stated in their contracts. White says that they do not pay guys under the table in reference to Couture’s multiple “off the book” claims from last week.
- White says that the UFC is not a monopoly, they just happen to be the best at what they do. White says that a monopoly is impossible because there are more opportunities now for fighters to be able to compete than ever before.
- Fertitta spoke to Randy the day before his press conference and said that he had a nice conversation with him, not knowing what he was about to say the next day.
- Both Fertitta and White sat down with Couture before UFC 76 and heard and discussed Couture’s problems that he had. White said that the meeting abruptly ended early after Fertitta was forced to leave but that he told Randy that they would finish talking at a later date. Couture claimed that two weeks went by and he didn’t hear an answer. White says that he didn’t know he had a time table of two weeks before Randy would resign.
- This is the last time that White or any other UFC officials will discuss the Randy Couture situation.
- White and Fertitta seemed to not have a definitive answer when asked if Couture’s contract would expire in nine months or if he was definitively locked in for his next two career fights. White responded with “We’ll find out”, “We expect Randy to honor his contract”, and “We aren’t going to discuss the contracts.”
- White says that he doesn’t consider Fedor Emelianenko the number one heavyweight in the world and that he considers Couture the number one heavyweight today. He mocked Fedor’s last four opponents and called him a “farce”. White also said that he wouldn’t even consider Fedor among the top five heavyweights in the division.
- Both White and Fertitta agreed that they don’t things to play out in court. However they did say that they would take any means necessary in order to protect themselves.
- There are no plans to report numbers for revenue or anything like that in the near future.
- White plans on offering Couture a fight most likely this week. He mentioned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as an opponent. He said that if Couture did not take the fight, he would take that as Randy retiring.
News and Notes
- ProElite.com will be streaming Randy Couture’s press conference live at 4:30 PM EST.
- A roundup of coverage of last night’s TUF episode:
UFC: The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes - Episode Six Recap; Matt Hughes’ Blog - Week Six
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Controversy Strikes TUF 6
Inside Fighting: Paul Georgieff; Tommy Speer
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 6
OC Register: Mac Danzig’s Ultimate Fighter Blog (Episode 6)
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 6 Recap
UFC Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 6 recap and discussion
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter Season 6: Episode 6 Recap
Five Ounces of Pain: TUF 6: Episode 6 Thoughts/Recap
- Strikeforce originally stated that two-minute rounds would be used during their inaugural middleweight tournament next month but the California State Athletic Commission has stepped in and changed the bout duration to five full minutes.
- Some other numbers from UFC 79…
Official attendance - 16,054
Total live gate - $2,519,850
- Sean Salmon has revealed through MMA Junkie that he will be fighting at Strikeforce next month against an opponent yet to be determined and at the next HDNet Fights event on December 15th against Jason “Mayhem” Miller:
Now, onto upcoming fights (or what I am permitted to say, anyway): I am “for sure” fighting on the Strikeforce card on Nov. 16. However, Eugene Jackson (my original opponent) is injured and can’t fight. I know Cung Le’s opponent has fallen through, and I would like nothing more than to fight him. Here we go again:
Either way, I have been assured that I am on this card, but I’m most likely an “alternate bout” to the tournament. I can’t complain about that, as I would be honored to fight anyone in that four-man field.
Next up, I have been given permission to announce that I will be fighting Jason “Mayhem” Miller on the Dec. 15 HDNet Fights card.
- Last night Brian Knapp of The Fight Network announced that James Thompson and Jon Murphy were set to clash at EliteXC: Renegade on November 10th. However Sam Caplan and Five Ounces of Pain are reporting that the fight is not signed and Murphy was never even approached about a potential fight against Thompson:
When contacted by Five Ounces of Pain, Murphy indicated that no one with EliteXC has contacted him about the possibility of fighting Thompson. He went on to add that he’s currently suffering from a serious shoulder injury and does not believe he’d be able to take the match even if it is offered.
Murphy went on to indicate that a match with Thompson is one he’d welcome in the future and that he hopes it’s a bout available to him once he’s healthy again.
- Herb Dean recently sat down for an interview with The Winnipeg Sun and discussed his controversial decision to stop the Frank Mir-Tim Sylvia heavyweight title bout at UFC 48 after Sylvia suffered a broken arm:
That experience was never more evident back in 2004, when Dean was the referee in UFC 48. In the heavyweight championship fight between Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir, Sylvia broke his arm in the first round. Dean, understanding the headstrong mentality of some of the fighters, saw this and jumped in right away, stopping the fight. He knew if he didn’t, Sylvia would have kept going and possibly suffered more damage.
“He was upset, the crowd was upset,” Dean remembers, “but it turns out they caught in on video, they had a good angle of it, so I was vindicated. For a minute I was wondering where I was going to hide. I was looking for a good hiding spot or a large police officer.
“It’s happened more than once, but that was my defining match as a referee.”
The Ohio Athletic Commission has released the official fighter salaries for UFC 77: Hostile Territory:
Tim Sylvia: $200,000
Anderson Silva: $120,000
Brandon Vera: $100,000
Rich Franklin: $45,000
Stephan Bonnar: $44,000
Yushin Okami: $24,000
Alan Belcher: $22,000
Josh Burkman: $20,000
Jason MacDonald: $17,000
Demian Maia: $10,000
Jason Black: $8,000
Jorge Gurgel: $7,000
Kalib Starnes $7,000
Eric Schafer: $6,000
Alvin Robinson: $6,000
Forrest Petz: $6,000
Matt Grice: $6,000
Ryan Jensen: $4,000
Total Payroll: $652,000
I always knew that The Garv’s hands were deadly...
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated.
- Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar will most “The Tuffest 25 Moments of The Ultimate Fighter” tonight at 8 PM EST on Spike TV. It will be a two-hour long special highlighting the most memorable, drama-filled, and controversial moments that have taken place during the six seasons of the reality show.
- An episode of UFC Unleashed will air at 7 PM EST on Spike TV, just before the TUF special. Three fights will be shown: Chuck Liddell vs Renato Sobral from UFC 62, Matt Hughes vs Georges St. Pierre from UFC 65, and Andrei Arlovski vs Tim Sylvia from UFC 51.
- Tickets for the first round of the IFL Grand Prix in Chicago apparently only cost $12:
In an attempt to actually fill a venue, it looks like the IFL is offering tickets to its World Grand Prix on November 3rd in Chicago for only $12. The semi-finals, held in Florida, supposedly pulled in over 7,000 attendees, but those numbers (from the IFL) can lie and it’s hard to believe they are selling these tickets if they are so cheap. But tt’s a great deal if you live in the area and there should be some exciting matchups on the card.
- MMA News is claiming that the UFC was advertising Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva on the front of the site yesterday and then removed the text later on.
- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva has told Sherdog that he would love to fight Matt Hughes:
Prior to that loss, Hughes speculated on retiring with both the welterweight and middleweight titles. If he can get past Matt Serra (Pictures) in December, he would be primed for a middleweight showdown with Silva.
“I would love to fight Matt Hughes (Pictures) if the UFC asked me to,” the Brazilian said. “He is a great fighter, and those are the people I want to fight.”
When pressed for a breakdown of a proposed match with the former welterweight champion, Silva demurred. “I am not going to comment on that,” he said, “other than saying it would be a great fight.”
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.
UFC heavyweight contender Brandon Vera plans on giving former champ Tim Sylvia fits on the feet with an array of strikes at UFC 77: Hostile Territory. Vera also discusses his 11 month layoff and how he is both excited and nervous coming into his return to the Octagon with ESPN.
MMA on Tap writers Scott White and John Chandler break down UFC 77: Hostile Territory fight-by-fight in the debut of the site’s newest column.
UFC 77 features a total of nine fights including the highly anticipated rematch between Anderson Silva and Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title as well as a battle between heavyweight contenders Tim Sylvia and Brandon Vera.
Former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira recently spoke to GRACIEMAG.com about Randy Couture’s departure from the UFC and as well as the possibility of him fighting the winner of Vera-Sylvia for the vacant title.
“I am realy sad. I realy wanted to fight him. I hope there’s a chance he comes back.” Minotauro also said that there’s been a change of plans with Couture’s decision. “My strategy will change, once I will no longer have to face such a experienced and skilled guy to get to the title. My next fight is set to take place on February 3rd, but I’m uncertain about the opponent. If it’s kongo, it will not be for the title; If it’s Vera or Sylvia, the belt will be for grabs. I’m flying to the USA to watch Anderson Silva’s bout and I’ll probably know who’s going to be my adversary,” completed the former Pride champion.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira made his UFC debut in July at UFC 73: Stacked against Heath Herring. Despite being in serious trouble early after eating a head kick, Nogueira fought his way back to earn an unanimous decision victory. Minotauro sports a mixed martial arts record of 30-4-1 with victories over the likes of Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, Semmy Schilt, and Mark Coleman. Nogueira has also gone the distance with PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko twice despite dropping an unanimous decision to the Russian heavyweight both times.