Breaking UFC News: Randy Couture is BACK!

I just finished listening to Dana White’s 3pm-EST media conference call where the UFC President laid out some very exciting news today regarding the UFC’s heavyweight division.

The UFC and their exiled Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture, have buried the hatchet regarding their legal battle, renewing contractual agreements and bringing back the official UFC heavyweight champion.

Here are the Important Points from the Conference Call

  • Randy Couture is now officially back as a UFC Fighter full-time with a contract that stretches a minimum of three fights.
  • His first fight back will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against highly-touted MMA Heavyweight and former WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on November 14, 2008.
  • The winner of Couture vs. Lesnar will face the winner of Interim Champion Antonio Rodrigo Noguera vs. Frank Mir. (that fight takes place in December)
  • The UFC will once again have an undisputed Heavyweight World Champion by the end of Q1 2009.
  • Dana White predicts at least one million PPV buys for Couture vs. Lesnar.
  • The UFC will try to set up a fight of Couture vs. consensus #1 MMA Heavyweight Emelianenko Fedor next year.

Ramifications from this announcement could affect the whole MMA landscape. For one, the UFC’s struggling heavyweight division just became one of the most intriguing in the company. Also, Affliction’s plans to host Fedor vs. Couture is now a wash. And most importantly, Couture’s legal loss now sets a precedent for other fighters hoping to challenge the UFC brass with lawsuits regarding contractual obligations.

My Ninja Predictions

  1. Lesnar will BEAT Couture in a shocking underdog victory via first round Ground and Pound TKO, thereby becoming the biggest star in MMA. As a result, Randy Couture will NOT fight Fedor due to his loss. What happens to Couture from there is a wildcard. He will likely have a few winnable fights and retire in earnest as the most decorated UFC fighter ever.
  2. Noguera will walk through Frank Mir and set up supermatch #2 with Brock Lesnar. Noguera will have a MUCH more difficult time with Lesnar than he did with another giant, Bob Sapp. I cannot predict the result of that fight yet, but if Lesnar keeps improving at this pace he has a chance to win.
  3. The UFC will come close to, or top, the million PPV buy prediction from Dana White. From there, it is only a matter of time before they take the next step in their evolution – a network television deal. CBS is a likely partner but that all hinges on the profitable outcome of EliteXC’s Oct. 4 card featuring Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock. CBS or not, the UFC should have the leverage to enter network television without mortgaging their controlling interest in operations.
  4. This decision is a win-win for everyone.
    • Randy Couture – even though he losses his legal battle, he succeeded in gaining a more profitable contract and extends his shelf life as a UFC Fighter.
    • The UFC train is back on track (as if it were ever off) and they will likely have to deal with much less angst from fighters challenging their contractual agreements. They also get their superfight in Lesnar vs. Couture, which is currently much more likely to do huge numbers than Couture vs. Fedor due to Lesnar’s mainstream recognition in the US marketplace. Likewise, their heavyweight division, which had been a mess, now has a gameplan for the next year or so. Furthermore, they now have the time necessary to develop new stars beyond Lesnar in Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, etc.
    • The biggest winner are YOU GUYS, the fans. You’ll now get to see a HUGE fight in Couture v. Lesnar, which will either give closure to Fedor vs. Randy OR set up potentially the hugest fight ever, Lesnar vs. Fedor, down the road. I view this announcement today to be a catalyst for the sport much like Forrest Griffin vs. Stephen Bonnar on SpikeTV. It should be a very exciting foreseeable future to look forward to for MMA fans.
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5 Comments on “Breaking UFC News: Randy Couture is BACK!”

  1. Ninja Says:

    this is most definitely the biggest fight in UFC history. It will live up to hype in terms of PPV buyrate.

    The only bittersweet outcome from the whole thing will be that the Fedor vs. Randy fight will never happen. Lesnar will defeat Couture in shocking fashion. Setting up Lesnar vs. Noguera, which if promoted right – capitalizing on Noguera’s warrior spirit against the odds (video of Noguera vs. Bob Sapp & taking that head kick from Crocop) as well as a monster push for a monster, Lesnar, then that will be just as big.

    A title defense or 2 for Lesnar against a pool of competition including Werdum, Velasquez, and a returning Crocop…

    All these are fanciful scenarios for sure. One thing is for real though – the UFC’s Heavyweight Division just got a WHOLE lot more interesting.

  2. Alias Says:

    Nog is sort of getting screwed. He doesn’t get an immediate undisputed title shot. Lame.
    I think Randy vs. Fedor could still happen. Randy has some sort of stipulation that the UFC try to make that happen. They could even let Randy fight in another org like Chuck did. It sounds doubtful. Maybe Randy doesn’t want anything to do with Fedor, I wouldn’t blame him. I think Lesnar has a lot of work to do. I’m not sure if Brock Lesnar is good addition to the sport yet. One one hand he’s a great athlete but on the other he could potentially bring his wrasslin persona. I’d prefer he left that with the WWE. If he learns how to box I would be pleased. Otherwise he is just going to use his wrestling to set up lay and pray bore fests or spazzy GnP.
    Randy vs. Fedor is more interesting than any of the UFC matchups, Randy vs Nog would be good. Fedor destroys all.

  3. The Servant Leader Says:

    Alias – Brock is going to be a dominant force with his GNP in the same vein as Hughes, Couture, Coleman, and Randleman, etc. before him. And you’re right, that style isn’t the most exciting thing to watch.

    But… if he develops a good left hook he could be like Hendo. Or if he hones in on that clinch and learns how to work the knees, etc. He could become a much more complete fighter.

    We can’t forget that this guy is only one year in. He’s all potential right now.

  4. Alias Says:

    Yeah, I agree. I think I’m just anti traditional GnP. I wish more people would pass the guard instead of being content with low damage strikes from inside the guard. Only a few people can really beat your ass from inside the guard. Everyone else should be passing or standing up.

    I want this sport to be exclusive to well rounded fighters. That is the next level. The level after that will have a large number of fighters like GSP, BJ, Fedor, in every weight class, people who are well rounded and very good in all aspects.

  5. ufc betting Says:

    Ciekawy blog, tematyka podobna do mojego, zapraszam na moja strone, pozdrawiam

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