Couture Happily Retired, Believes Fights Like Shamrock-Gracie 3 Build Bellator Brand

By Tristen Critchfield May 14, 2016
While Randy Couture has been a presence during Bellator 154 fight week festivities, the UFC Hall of Famer has no plans to don the four-ounce gloves for Scott Coker’s promotion.

Bellator MMA is not averse to promoting a bout featuring superstars who might be past their prime — Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock 3, for example — but Couture won’t be the next legend to step into the cage. The topic was broached when Fedor Emelianenko came out of retirement last year, but even then, “The Natural” said “No thanks.”

“Obviously that’s a fight that I chased and they really wanted to see….He came back out and it was the first thing that I got asked,” Couture told “Again, I’m happily retired and very comfortable with the decision I made. I’m very happy with the decision. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me at 52 years old, 53 to think about coming back out for a lot of reasons. I’m focused on my acting career and all the other stuff that I built when I was a fighter.”

With that said, the former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion has no issue with guys like Shamrock and Gracie fighting under the Bellator banner. While their third meeting at Bellator 149 was mocked by some in the MMA community, the event was a huge success in terms of ratings.

“I think those guys are still marquee guys that everybody recognizes and knows. From a business and brand perspective it made sense,” Couture said. “I don’t think anybody is operating on the illusion that those guys are on the top of the game and gonna be vying for titles, but there’s still that water cooler talk about that fight. I think that’s what it was about. It certainly didn’t offend me or bother me in any way shape or form.”

Recently, Couture played a role in Spike TV’s Veterans Operations Wellness (VOW) program, which is focused on improving the physical and mental well-being of those who have served in the military. Last week, Couture participated in a special “21 Guns Workout” with veterans to honor the five branches of the military. Footage of the workout will be shown in the SAP Center at Bellator 154 following the VOW Fights bout between Jorge Acosta, Staff Sergeant in the California Army National Guard and J.D. Hardwick, a U.S. Army veteran.

Couture, who served in the U.S Army, believes the program is significant to help veterans who no longer live a regimented lifestyle where fitness was a central focus.

“I think it’s a great idea. It’s one of the things that many of our veterans get out of the service miss, is regular PT, physical fitness,” he said. “To get those guys together not only to work out but to share that camaraderie again is a really good idea.”

While Couture says he keeps himself in shape, he wasn’t willing to speculate on how long it would take him to get ready for a fight. Even considering the notion would give rise to rumors he has no interest in fueling.

“I haven’t been in a fight camp in five years. I’m in good shape. I train on a regular basis, but I’m going to shy away from that question because it’s easy to take that out of context,” he said. “I’m already getting tons of questions about, ‘Hey are you going to come out of retirement?’ I have no intention of coming out of retirement. To make a statement about how long it would take to get in fight shape would sort of beg that question.”

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