October 13, 2007
Shocked by Couture's UFC departure
By "Hotshot" JOHNNY DEVINE - SLAM! Wrestling
The MMA world, fans and foes alike, were shocked this week at the retirement of "The Natural" Randy Couture from UFC. Apparently upset over the amount of money being offered to Fedor Emelianenko for their hoped for upcoming fight, Couture vacated his heavyweight title and announced his retirement. This is a huge blow to the MMA world and UFC in particular as Randy was looked upon as one of the -- if not the -- top stars in the game right now. And it brings to light a disturbing fact and trend not only in the MMA world but the sports world in general.
How is it that a guy who is not already a member of a certain roster can come in and immediately be paid more than the top star? In any sport??? Why are rookies in the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB, and many other places given SOOOOOO much money before they have proven themselves to the team/fans of said organization? I can't begrudge the guys themselves for asking for and in many cases getting exorbitant sums. But I can ask what the hell are these owners and management thinking?!?
When I see rookies in the NBA at 19 or 20 years old making the ridiculous sums they get as first and second round draft picks, having chosen to skip college or university, it makes me sick. Or any league or what have you. What have these guys done to warrant such amounts? I can honestly say Fedor is a hell of a fighter and worth a lot of money as an MMA draw. But to pay him more than your top draw, and your champion no less, is asinine. Same goes for any rookies or new team members on any team. There needs to be a set salary for new players and a bonus structure for "future stars." Golf seems to be the only sport that has it right. Pay for play. If you are not one of the best/top players you donít make near as much. If you fail to produce you make less. If you produce and win you make more. It doesnít seem like rocket surgery to me.
Randy Couture is a guy you can build a company around. Well spoken, popular, charismatic, and a winner, he is all the things you want in a top guy. I was lucky enough to be in Columbus for his win over Tim Sylvia and the crowd loves this guy. The noise that night in the arena was deafening. And when Randy won the place went bananas. There are so many examples of injustices like this happening in every sport that is makes you wonder how teams and companies keep getting away with it. As a UFC fan myself I am disgusted that they would do this to their champ and a guy as great as Randy. Just as I would be disgusted if my favorite football team gave a ridiculous amount of money for a guy who ended up sitting the season out, not making plays or becoming a criminal.
I really hope Randy doesnít retire and end his career this way. Not that he doesnít deserve to go out in any way he so chooses, but more for it would be a shame for him to leave because he felt disrespected by the company for which he is champion. It is not right. I hope Dana White and the Ferttitas correct this huge mistake. If they donít it really will be a huge black mark on the steamroller that has been UFC.
Editor's note: For more on Randy Couture's departure, see SLAM! Fighting.
For those of you in the Toronto/Hamilton area looking for some Halloween/Wrestling fun. I urge you to check out Living Legendís Wrestlingís Final Hour show on October 27th in Hamilton. A good friend of mine, Chi Chi Cruz, will be having his retirement match, a one-hour Iron Man match, and it promises to be a great card all around. There are prizes for best costume and much more so check it out at the LLW website for info and tickets. Having worked all over Canada and the U.S., Chi Chi is one of the few true vets left one the Canadian Indy scene. I implore you all if you are wrestling fans or workers themselves to come out and check out his last match as you are guaranteed to learn something and have a great time doing it.
I will be holding a three-hour seminar before that show that day at 1 p.m. covering some of the basics of wrestling as well as some advanced psychology and etiquette. Iíll also talk some the tryout process and much more. Cost is $50 and includes a ticket to the show. To register please email either the LLW at or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited to ensure everyone gets time, so first come first served.
For those of you looking to get into the wrestling business and in need of a good place to train, check out the CanAm wrestling school in Windsor by emailing email@example.com. It has produced some of the best talent currently in the wrestling business with names like Rhino, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelly (aka the Motor City Machine Guns), Petey Williams, Tyson Dux and many more. New students are always welcome.
Make sure you support your local indy wrestling and check out the shows near you. You never know who could be on tv in a short amount of time and no longer a short walk/drive/bus ride away to see live.
As always any questions, concerns, queries or quandaries or booking requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the mean time and in between time, thatís it. Another edition of Devine Intervention.