Iole Stirring the Pot Again?

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…

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