UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture has quit the UFC according to The Fight Network, citing the promotion’s inability to sign top-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko as his primary reason for walking away from the UFC and vacating his heavyweight title:
At the height of its power and popularity, the Ultimate Fighting Championship today lost the man many recognize as the face of mixed martial arts. UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture announced his resignation from the Las Vegas-based promotion, leaving two contracted fights, his job as an on-air analyst and his heavyweight crown on the table
“I appreciate this opportunity the sport of MMA and the UFC has given me,” the UFC Hall-of-Famer said. “However, I’m tired of swimming upstream at this stage with the management of the UFC. It only makes sense at this point in my career to fight Fedor Emelianenko, and since he’s now signed with another organization, I feel like it’s time to resign and focus on my other endeavors.”
“Randy’s contract was on a fight-by-fight basis, and that’s the way he said he was always going to take it – fight by fight,” said Matt Walker, Couture’s agent at The Gersh Agency. “His acting career is accelerating at an astronomical rate, and without the support he felt some of his peers were receiving in the fight business, this was the logical choice.”
Yesterday news broke that Emelianenko had signed with the revitalized M-1 promotion backed by a yet-to-be-named American company. After the prospect of the fight evaporated it appears Couture opted to leave the promotion to focus on acting and other projects though specifics on his future plans are not currently known.