Randy Couture Opens up About Beef With Dana White

Randy Couture, Dana White

Getty Randy Couture talks about his long history with UFC President Dana White.

Former UFC superstar Randy Couture is one of the most popular and accomplished fighters in MMA history, but the legendary UFC Hall of Famer remains on the outs with UFC president Dana White over things that happened during the two stars’ long and contentious professional relationship.

Sure, Couture and White were mostly able to work together during the first-ever two-division record-setting six UFC title reigns for Couture, but all that came crashing down after the champ retired from fighting.

So if you’re wondering how a UFC legend like Couture could remain ostensibly banned from the UFC all these years while YouTuber Jake Paul can simply stride into an arena to confront White at a UFC pay-per-view event over a bet the UFC boss never made, you’re not alone.

Just don’t expect “The Natural” to have the answer for you.

“You’re asking the wrong guy. I don’t know,” Couture said.

Regardless, Couture found a new home with the Professional Fighters League (PFL). He serves as the PFL’s lead analyst for the telecasts of its cards on the ESPN family of networks, and the company even recently produced a stirring documentary about his legendary fighting career.

ALL the latest UFC news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on UFC newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on UFC Newsletter!

Couture vs. White: ‘At Odds Right From the Start’

Couture and White were “at odds right from the start” after White convinced Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to purchase the company in 2001 and install him as president.

Part of the new regime’s wholesale changes included fighters signing over their ancillary rights in perpetuity, and that’s just not something Couture was willing to hand over without a fight.

So things were rocky right from the beginning, and they stayed that way until Couture left his job with the UFC as an analyst to take the same kind of role at a higher rate of pay for a different organization.

White wasn’t happy about that, and things remain so bad today that it’s hard to find even one UFC-created highlight video of Couture on YouTube.


“Yeah, I’m obviously still persona non grata with Dana White…Obviously, they own the rights to the actual competition, and that’s why I’m persona non grata in the first place because I stood up and fought for my ancillary rights in my contracts when they bought the company back in 2001,” Couture said.

Despite the exile, perhaps most notably encapsulated by Couture being banned from working for his own son’s corner back in 2013, Couture said he doesn’t actually carry around with him any hard feelings about White or the UFC.

“I don’t have an issue with Dana. I know Dana well. I think Dana probably knows me pretty well, too. I worked for the company for 14 years, and half of that was with Dana and Zuffa,” Couture said.

Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Couture Praises UFC Boss: ‘Where Credit Is Due’

Couture was quick to offer praise over the positive ways White and his company have bettered the sport.

“The Fertittas and Dana White took a sport that was on the verge of serious trouble. They revamped it. They had the savvy to change its image, market it better, and get it in a lot of places that it wasn’t before. I think all the promotions in the sport have flourished because of that so I think you have to give credit where credit is due,” Couture said.

Indeed, MMA as a sport has grown considerably over the years. The sport went from being the ragtag younger cousin of professional boxing, one that nobody wanted to talk about or admit that they watched, to becoming the fastest growing and arguably most important branch of the combat sports tree altogether.

Couture recognized White for being a huge part of that.

Follow the Heavy on UFC Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Couture Says Criticisms Are Not Personal Attacks

But that doesn’t mean Couture will keep quiet about other issues. His primary concerns remain how much of the sport’s revenue goes to its fighters.

“I think Dana White and the UFC want to hang on to their big chunk of that and not let go of that. I think that’s shortsighted. I think that sooner or later the sport is going to grow and change. Fighters…are going to unite. We’re going to come together and realize that we’re the commodity. Without us, there is no fight,” Couture said.

Still, Couture doesn’t see any of his criticisms about White or the UFC as personal attacks.

Instead, he sees viewpoints as constructive criticisms ordered toward helping make the sport be the best it can be.

“I’m certainly not trying to bash anybody. I just want to see fighters getting taken care of better,” Couture.

Still, Couture believes White and perhaps other UFC officials don’t quite see things the same way.

“They look at me as a bit of a rogue, but really I was just fighting for my sport, my friends and other fighters…”.

For Couture, offering comments and ideas about how the UFC could operate its business in a way that offered greater benefits to its fighters was never about bashing anyone.

“It really wasn’t anything personal. I think they took it as a personal assault on them and their business and what they were trying to do,” Couture said.

Couture Found New Home in PFL

One of the ways things could be changing in the sport for the better is through more competition.

While the UFC remains the market leader in MMA, other companies such as the Professional Fighters League (PFL) and Bellator MMA, have continued to grow into stronger organizations.

Couture currently works for the PFL, and he believes it is helping to move things in the right direction. Indeed, the PFL has lured some big names over in recent years, most notably former UFC champs Anthony Pettis and Fabricio Werdum, to go along with its homegrown stable of stars headlined by Kayla Harrison and Lance Palmer.

“I think the PFL is doing a great job in stepping up and trying to change things,” Couture said.

But Couture stopped short of saying the PFL was on its way to taking over the MMA world. In his mind, and it’s something that seems to be shared by everyone working within that organization, it’s not necessarily about the PFL vs. UFC.

It’s about the PFL only.

“I don’t think we’re worried about being the chief competitor, or poking the big bear, because the UFC promotion is still the biggest in the sport. I think we’re going to keep our nose to the grindstone, do what we do, and do it as well as we can. The rest of it is going to take care of itself,” Couture.

READ NEXT: UFC’s Stacked Schedule Includes Champs and Superstars

Twitter: @Kelsey_McCarson

YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel