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Old 04-27-2011, 03:40 PM
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Default Nine Ways of Looking at Randy Couture's Final Fight

From MMAFighting.com I really like these "Nine Ways to Look at . . ." articles they put out:

Quote:


According to Randy Couture, his fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 will be his last. After nearly fourteen years in the cage and a couple failed attempts at walking away from the sport for good, the importance of this fight all depends on how you look at it.

I. Will he or won't he? When Couture says that, win or lose, he'll hang it up after this fight, it's hard to take him at his word. Not to question "Captain America's" credibility, but we've heard this song and dance before. His reasoning is perfectly sound. He can still compete at 47 years of age, but he's also still healthy enough to enjoy the fruits of his labors and he'd like to keep it that way. That makes perfect sense. Then again, it's not like that's a new development in his life. Couture hasn't needed the money for a while now. He's been doing this because he loves it, and maybe just maybe because he's addicted to the feeling he gets from standing in the cage on a Saturday night, listening to an arena full of people chant his name after he's physically broken another human being. You can't buy that kind of rush, but you might, if you're not careful, go looking for it just a little too long.

II. Couture enters this fight with a career record of 19-10, which, on paper, seems pretty mediocre. There are 28-year-olds with similar records getting turned away from 'Ultimate Fighter' tryouts. Tim Sylvia has a career mark of 28-7, for crying out loud. Keith Jardine is 17-9-2! What does it all tell us? That it's not just how many fights you won, but who you beat. Sure, Couture's record benefited from the Steven Grahams and James Toneys of the MMA world, but of his 29 pro MMA bouts, 15 were UFC title fights. If he really does retire after the Machida fight, he'll do so as a man who spent literally half his career in championship bouts. Now that's a legacy.

III. Even when doors have been slammed shut forever, they can usually be pried open again with the right amount of money.
While Couture insists he's done, he recently told Steve Cofield that the UFC would have to really "step up" to get him back. That vague phrase could mean a lot of things. Does he mean step up with a better fight offer? Step up with a cushy executive gig like Chuck Liddell's? We don't know, but we do know that's not something you say if you're absolutely, one hundred percent done. It's more like something you say when you're ninety percent done, but could always be coaxed out by one last enormous payday.

IV. At this point, MMA could benefit more from Couture's retirement than from his continued participation.
As our own Mike Chiappetta wrote earlier this week, Couture has always had a bit of the advocate in him. That voice has necessarily been muted while under contract with the UFC, but once he's out he could be the leader on issues like fighter pay, health insurance, pension funds maybe he could even be the driving force behind creating a fighter's union that would address all those issues. MMA needs an elder statesman with the clout and the fearlessness necessary to lead that charge. It also needs someone willing take on this battle even though he doesn't personally need the spoils from it. If that someone isn't Couture, then who?