By Benjamin Bieker
I guess when you have nearly five billion dollars at your disposal you can secure the services of a multi-divisional champion and UFC Hall of Famer, because that is what Spike TV has done. Most likely through the funding of their parent company, Viacom, Spike TV now has Randy Couture at their disposal thanks in part to a multi-year deal he has signed. Specifics on the deal are limited now, but Spike has announced a media conference for next Tuesday to go more in depth with what they plan to do.
What is known now is that Couture will be part of Bellator’s new reality program where he will be a coach. The program is set to start taping next month for an air date later in the year. Since the contract is for Spike TV they will be using Couture for more than his MMA knowledge since he has reached a broader audience through his career in Hollywood. This is a game-changer as Bellator, Viacom, and Spike TV who have joined forces to make a go at being the second biggest promotion in the sport of MMA.
For Couture, this is not the first time he has went against the UFC. He famously left the promotion while still heavyweight champion in hopes to secure a bout with Fedor, but that fell apart. Another time he signed to be in the Electronic Arts MMA game which left him oddly absent for the UFC MMA game that was made during the same time. Now, he has more than likely severed a lot of ties with Zuffa as Dana White and other executives are not going to use Couture for future programming. He had been a guest analyst for many Fox programs, but obviously he will not be able to do that anymore under his new contract.
This announcement comes at an odd time. It is rumored that Couture signed this deal sometime in December, but they have just decided to announce this right after all the disputes with Eddie Alvarez have been going on. This seems to be Bellator striking out to take a little bit of wind from the UFC’s sails. While former superstars like Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes have stuck with the company that helped make them famous there are other fighters that Viacom could secure the rights to. Quinton Jackson just completed his contract with the UFC, and Tito Ortiz has not been offered a job with Zuffa either. Who knows what will happen next, but just like Pride, Affliction, and Strikeforce before UFC is sure to strike back at Bellator. In the words of Dana White, this is going to get ugly.
What are your thoughts?