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UFC Reportedly Attempted to Prevent Randy Couture from Speaking at Hearing

Oklahoma congressman and former mixed martial artist fighter Markwayne Mullin is sponsoring the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act. Amy Dash of SB Nation’s Bloody Elbow reported Tuesday the UFC attempted to prevent former champion Randy Couture from speaking at Thursday’s scheduled hearing for the Act.

“They have threatened to walk because they didn’t want us to have Randy Couture on the panel,” Mullin said, per Dash. “We want them to participate, buy they can’t be dictating who we can and cannot have on the panel.”

Dash noted Mullin was critical in organizing Thursday’s hearing before the subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade so that the members of the House who will eventually vote on the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act will be more educated on the subject.

According to Dash, the act would expand protections from boxing to all combat sports if passed, “thereby outlawing coercive contracts lasting more than a year, returning promotional rights back to fighters after a year, providing avenues for fighters to sue promoters and creating an independent rank and title system.”

Tim Bissell of Bloody Elbow reported in November the UFC has spent in the six figures lobbying against the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act.

While the UFC initially fought the idea of Couture speaking at the hearing, Mullin said it eventually relented. Dash said Couture is entertainment news philippines the lone fighter scheduled to speak at this point.

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Dash pointed out Couture has previously publicly fought with UFC President Dana White and had other legal battles over contract disputes. Perhaps with that in mind, the former UFC champion didn’t sound surprised when told the UFC didn’t want him at the hearing, per Dash:

Obviously there’s no love lost from me, certainly with regard to the president of the company and obviously the landscape for the entire sport would change if we are successful. They’ve been trying to derail this hearing and not have it happen at all. So I’m not surprised that they are gonna pull out all the stops.

Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting reported in 2013 that White said he didn’t respect Couture after the fighter moved from UFC to Spike TV and Bellator. White did not like the way Couture left the company and said he received a letter from the fighter’s lawyer notifying him of the decision.

Doyle said it wasn’t the first time the two had issues. He pointed to a “famous dustup” in 2007 when Couture came out of retirement and tried to break his contract and fight Fedor Emelianenko after beating Tim Sylvia.

As for the hearing Thursday, it is just one of a number of steps the Muhammad Ali Expansion Act will need to go through before it could be expanded to UFC. Dash said it would need to go through a committee process and review before eventuallygoing to the House for a vote.

A passed vote there would move it to the Senate and then ultimately to the president to sign into a law if it continues to pass.


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