Apparently unsatisfied with calling Couture a liar in the press and suing him in court, UFC president Dana White seems now to be embarking upon a campaign intended to shame Randy Couture into returning to the Octagon. Just recently White called Couture out publicly in the Canadian Press:
“Come on Captain America, step up and be a man and give these guys the opportunity to win the title,” White said.
“He’s the heavyweight champion. He signed a contract with us less than a year ago and I expect him to honour it. And I expect him to be a standup guy and give these guys the opportunities they gave him.”
When I hear of a quote like this coming from Dana White, I edge further toward the conclusion that he is purposely making himself the most hateable figure in the sport. Note the sarcastic use of the “Captain America” nickname for Couture, the implication that somehow his manhood is in jeopardy. This is pure Vince McMahon meets Lex Luthor. White obviously doesn’t believe that an incendiary remark like this will actually make Couture come back, so he’s settling for potshots from a comfortable distance.
It’s also interesting that White is now trying to frame the issue as if Couture is denying anyone else an opportunity at the UFC heavyweight title. He’s doing this, mind you, on the same weekend that two men are fighting for the UFC (interim) heavyweight title. Does that seem just intolerably disingenuous to anyone else?
It’s not as if the UFC has never taken a title from one person who can’t or won’t compete in their organization (B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, etc,) and given it to someone else. White has said that he is purposely not stripping Couture of the title, vowing “we’ll hold on forever”, with the implication that it serves as a useful legal bargaining chip.
So now White wants to have it both ways. He wants to keep the title around Couture’s waist while simultaneously offering a different heavyweight title to Sylvia or Nogueira, and he also wants to criticize Couture for not defending the title that the UFC is insisting he maintain against his will. Have we all got that, now? Good. Just wanted to be clear.