Randy Couture knows a thing or two about the difficulty of negotiating with the UFC. He understands the issues Jon Jones is having, and says that Logan and Jake Paul are somewhat to blame for why Jon wants to be paid so much more.
During his time in the UFC, Couture regularly butted heads with the promotion over the money he was making, and the opportunities he wanted in the sport. These issues have even led to him being dismissed by the UFC, with his legacy in the sport not being given the same respect many feel it should receive.
Speaking in a recent interview, the former two-division champ says that Jon Jones is going through similar issues as he did, trying to negotiate with the UFC for a move to heavyweight. That said, Randy notes that there is a big difference now, after the Paul brothers have shown how much more money can be made in boxing, even with their lack of experience.
“Obviously, we’re seeing Jake and Logan Paul shine a light on the disparaging difference between what boxers are getting paid, and these guys are YouTubers that are making more money than a lot of MMA fighters have made in their entire careers. It’s disparaging, it’s irritating,” Couture said.
“I think that’s where Jon’s coming from. It’s a big move up to heavyweight, I think he wants to solidify his legacy as a two weight champ, and really challenge himself. I think that’s a smart move for him, and he’s right. We don’t get paid the same way that boxers do.
“The transparency in the sport just isn’t there,” Couture continued. “We don’t enjoy the protections of the Muhammad Ali Act that was implemented in boxing in 1996, to create that transparency and protect fighters, boxers, from promoters and these very restrictive contracts, signing away their ancillary rights forever, all kinds of things that are going on, that unfortunately are still going on in the sport of mixed martial arts.
“I think that’s where you’re seeing the rub. I mean, when you sell a company for 4.2 billion dollars, you kind of get everybody’s attention. Especially if you are a fighter, stepping up in that cage and putting your blood and sweat in that, and you’re not getting renumerated appropriately, in my opinion.”
Randy Couture Regrets Nothing
As previously stated, Randy Couture had issues with the UFC that led to him parting ways with the promotion and losing respect from Dana White and the rest of the Zuffa leadership. Despite that, he says that he has no regrets about making the choices he did.
Randy says that he was making the best decisions for his family, and even though he did not get support from fighters at the time, he thinks that the opinions of UFC athletes are slowly starting to change. He hopes that his efforts will eventually lead to the Ali Act being adopted in MMA.
“I don’t regret (anything). I was doing what I thought was best for me, for my career and my family. I didn’t get a lot of support from any of the other fighters, standing up for my ancillary rights and the stuff that I fought for. I think all of those things are now coming to the forefront, and fighters at the highest echelon, those guys that are making great money, are trying to stand up for our rights, and for us to have transparency, and for us to get our fair share of the market and the revenues that are generated with every fight,” Couture explained.
“It’s that simple. The simple amendment to the Ali Act, and the definition of changing from boxer to combative sports athlete, and there are some terms in there specific to boxing that would have to be generalized for combative sports… It’s a pretty easy fix honestly. (The UFC) are lobbying hard to keep that from being voted on, and they have been for a few years now, hopefully at some point the fighters will (form an) association and demand some minimum criteria, some 401K, some different things that other athletes enjoy in our society.”
These are some interesting points from Randy Couture, who has been at the forefront of trying to get fighter’s rights for a while. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it, after the anti-trust lawsuit runs its course.