It’s become apparent over the past few days that UFC president Dana White and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture aren’t exactly on the same page when it comes to doing business or the recent career path the Couture has chosen.
There does, however, appear to be a common ground between them when it comes to Randy’s son, Ryan Couture.
They both want to afford him the opportunity to further his career in the Octagon.
Randy recently inked a partnership with Spike TV and Bellator MMA to take part as a coach on the new “Fight Master: Bellator MMA” reality series on the network; host his own reality show, “MMA Rescue,” which revolves around struggling mixed martial arts gyms; as well as other opportunities.
Ryan is a former Strikeforce fighter that was brought over to the UFC when Zuffa shut the door on Strikeforce, assimilating its fighters into the Octagon.
White has been particularly venomous when it comes to Couture’s seemingly abrupt departure from the UFC – where he had provided some commentary duties – and the way that he handled it with UFC brass.
“There's no more of a man when that cage closes, and there's no less of a man when he steps outside of it,” said White on Saturday night, which followed up his sentiment that he is “happy to never have to do business with Randy Couture ever again.”
He did, however, reach out to Ryan Couture to explain “me and your dad are never going to be good, ever, ever again,” but that Ryan, if he wanted it, had a place in the UFC and there would be no animosity towards him over White’s situation with his father.
“(I told him) if you want to leave the UFC, because (Randy) is not cornering him. Randy Couture can't buy a ticket to this (expletive) event,” White recounted the conversation. “So, I said he's not going to be around and I just wanted to be up front.”
White was willing to release Ryan from his contract if he felt the rift between the UFC boss and his dad was too much of a weight to bear on his career, but the young Couture declined, saying that his dad is still his dad, but he wanted to fight in the Octagon.
Randy revealed much the same take on Ryan’s situation as White, albeit from his perspective as a father. He knows it is a tough situation for his son to be in, torn between two of the biggest figures in the sport, but they talked about it and Ryan made his choice… with his father’s support.
“Ryan is his own man, for sure. He's created his own style. He lives on his own merit. It's sometimes almost a burden for him to drag around the same last name,” said the elder Couture.
“He handles all that in stride. He's done an amazing job and I'm very excited for him and the opportunities in mixed martial arts that face him now.
“We certainly had some heart-to-heart conversations about what was going on with me and how that may affect his future in mixed martial arts. He was all for it. He feels very comfortable and confident in his abilities and where he's at in his career.”
Randy, especially as a father, is certainly concerned that Ryan could still get caught up in the crossfire, something that is likely to happen on some level, but trusts his son to make his own career path in the sport that he helped to pioneer.
Randy and the UFC head honcho are sure to go head to head sooner or later, particularly over White’s assertion that his former two-weight-class champion will not be allowed to corner his son.
“I think it's an athletic commission issue and I guess we'll cross that bridge when and if we get to it,” is all Randy said on that front, injecting much less vitriol than White into the situation.
In fact, unlike White’s furor, the elder Couture took to complimenting his former employer, albeit mostly dripping with sarcasm.
“In a lot of ways, you have to thank Dana White,” said Randy. “He's made this transition for me back to Spike very, very good. He's made it easy.
“And gosh, the media storm, the sensation, has been wonderful. I really appreciate that.
“I have to thank him for that. You have to respect his passion for what he does and that's admirable.”
It doesn’t appear that time can heal this wound, at least from White’s perspective, but only time will be able to tell that tale. For now, Randy Couture and Dana White go their separate way, while Ryan Couture is left to sink or swim in the Octagon on his own merits.