When Randy Couture decided to part ways with the UFC, he knew UFC President Dana White wouldn’t like it.
In an interview Wednesday with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Couture discussed his coaching position on Bellator’s upcoming Spike TV reality program, White’s criticism and much more.
On whether he has been in contact with White: “I had some rather interesting and classic texts that came to my phone. This was kind of a couple weeks ago when things started leaking.”
On White saying he was happy not to be in business with Couture anymore: “I’m happy to not have to put up with and keep my mouth shut and deal with Dana as well. It goes both ways. I have a ton of respect for the [UFC]. In a lot of ways, I still have respect for Dana and the passion that he has for the sport and the things that him and Lorenzo [Fertitta] have managed to do for the sport over the course of their tenure since 2000, [but] certainly there’s plenty of things I don’t agree with.”
On Viacom owning Spike TV and a majority stake in Bellator and the role that plays in White’s anger toward Couture: “… At the end of the day, they’ve never shied away from competition and I think that’s what’s got them on their heels a little bit now and Dana especially, is that I think they see Viacom and this whole platform as a threat and serious competition to them being considered the only brand in the marketplace in this sport.”
On Bellator’s reality show: “I like the concept of the show. I like their emphasis on the training and on the athletes themselves. I think the progressive tournament does that in some ways because you get to pick your guys early and follow them and their success or failures all the way through. I think it’s focused on the right things. Obviously Spike carved out a niche by putting on TUF. When everybody else was pushing back and wasn’t willing to give the sport a chance on television, cable or otherwise, Spike stepped up and they created a niche for themselves in the programming. When the UFC skipped over to Fox, it left a void and I think this is Viacom’s attempt to fill that void and to continue to operate in that space.”
On coaching in general: “The coaches that I’ve had in my life have been in a lot of ways that standup male figure that I lacked. Having a father that was never around, those were the guys that I turned to. They guided me. They shaped and molded me in a lot of ways, so I have a ton of respect for that position and that title.”
On coaching alongside Frank Shamrock, Greg Jackson and Joe Warren on the show: “Certainly all the coaches have personalities. They have skill sets and styles, both teaching and fighting, that are going to be a big part of the interest in the show. It creates another layer for the fans to take a look at and compare and contrast between myself, Frank, Greg and Joe. How we do things, how we look at things, our perspective on fighting and what we teach -- all those things create interest … . I think it is a little bit different. Obviously it’s still mixed martial arts at the end of the day. If you’re a fan of the sport, I think you’re going to like this show.”
On the opportunity he was given: “I think this opportunity to go back to Spike, to lend credence and authenticity to a new brand and give fighters another outlet that’s separate and strong and has a great platform in Spike, is another important thing that needs to happen in this sport right now.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:55:30).