As popular as the UFC is today, it has dragged along its fair share of controversies. One of the most heated debates surrounding the UFC has been about fighter pay. UFC president Dana White still gets flak about the UFC’s revenue split from reporters, fans, and pros alike. However, when a seasoned veteran of the game speaks on the issue, their voice garners more attention, especially when that veteran is former UFC heavyweight champion, Randy Couture.
A two-division champion and Hall of Fame member in the UFC, Couture is one of the biggest stars of the UFC’s early days. Therefore, it is all the more imperative to listen to his thoughts on an issue that has persisted from his days to the modern ones.
In a recent interview, the 59-year-old was asked about a universal change that is the need of the hour in MMA. ‘The Natural’ did not have to think long to answer it. He suggested that an amendment to the Muhammad Ali Act of 1999 would bring about some real change in the current MMA landscape.
Couture bashed Dana White and the UFC
According to Couture, the UFC has been adamant about not letting anyone amend the Ali Act. The Act grants more protections to the fighters and their rights. It also keeps them from getting exploited by promoters.
Couture said, “… amend the Muhammad Ali Act to include all combative sports athletes and not just boxers. It’s an easy fix. It creates transparency in our sports and eliminates a bunch of these restrictive contracts that are controlling athletes across the board.”
The former heavyweight champion said that it would also facilitate more cross-promotional fights in the future. He recalled that he and MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko wanted to fight each other in their primes. “That never happened because that’s one of the biggest issues with the sport,” said Couture.
He also had some harsh words about his former employers. The ex-army sergeant said, “That’s why the UFC is spending millions and millions of dollars lobbying against us from getting that changed and amended. That’s the quick fix. That’s the way to create some transparency in our sports. Every promoter’s gonna have to disclose what they’ve made off of every event.”
So how exactly would the Ali Act bring about changes in MMA? Couture had an answer for that, as well.
Randy Couture on how the Muhammad Ali Act would impact MMA
In Randy Couture’s own words, amending the Ali Act to include MMA fighters will have manifold advantages for the fighters. Firstly, it would allow them to negotiate a fair price for themselves as they would know the market better. It would also let them know about the revenue split better.
Furthermore, it would save them from restrictive contracts that limit their representation and keep them from chasing better deals at other promotions.
He added, “That’s why Floyd Mayweather’s able to make 100-200 million dollars in boxing. Because he has the protections and the transparency of the Muhammad Ali Act.”
The issues discussed by Couture came to the limelight recently after Francis Ngannou‘s exit from the UFC and his new PFL deal. Ngannou received praise from several notable figures for daring to risk it all to set an example for all fighters.