"Randy Couture can't buy a ticket (to the UFC)" those are the words of Dana White after Randy has moved to Spike for the Bellator reality series. According to Dana around Christmas Randy signed the deal and then lied to Dana that the deal was done. On the flip side in the contract Randy and the UFC had a 30 day out of the one year agreement which Randy executed and since signed with Spike.
And according to Randy who talked to ESPN, "All the things that have taken place in the last couple weeks, I'd be surprised if there's an opportunity to come back," Couture told ESPN.com after a news conference announcing the arrangement. "I don't think there's any going back."
If you are a long time fan of the sport you are no stranger to the on again off again Randy and Dana show. Each time there was a disagreement they seemed to patch things up and move the relationship forward. This time it feels really personal to Dana and that may speak to the visceral reaction he has towards the Spike network or the fact that Bellator is gaining some traction in the contrails of the UFC's departure from Spike. Whatever the reason Randy cannot even corner his own son who is a new UFC transplant in a post Strikeforce world.
To that end Dana actually offered Ryan a chance out of his contract, "I called Ryan Couture, I said, you signed a deal for us to fight in the UFC," White said. "I want you here if you want to be here. But I need you to understand this: Me and your dad are not good, me and your dad are never going to be good, ever, ever again, as long as I walk this f-- planet. ... I want to be honest, I want to be upfront, if you want me to release you from your contract so that you can go do a deal with Bellator and have your dad, maybe work with him and go up and do whatever, I would do that."
Ryan went on to answer that Randy will always be his dad and every fighter dreams of fighting in the UFC so he is all in. As with many emotional arguments this one isn't balanced very well with logic on either side. To me these are the facts. There was a contract and Randy executed a part of the contract to chase his own destiny and while Dana can certainly be angry about that, Randy is well past owing the UFC anything - even something as simple as loyalty.
Will Randy never again be seen at a UFC event? Probably not. But this feud might last a bit longer than the other ones as the Bellator war seems to be reaching for the same intensity as the WWE vs. WCW Monday night wars. What is interesting is that the same vitriol isn't being thrown in the direction of Greg Jackson who is also on the Bellator reality show. While Greg never has worked for the UFC, that has never seemed to stop Dana from going off about him. I find it interesting that while they aren't on the same level of clout with the audience, Greg is one of the most famous MMA coaches in the game who is doing a show for the UFC's newest and probably final enemy.