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.
In South Africa shooting scenes for his lead role in the upcoming feature film “The Scorpion King: Rise of the Akkadian,” Couture made the announcement official in a letter to UFC president Dana White. The UFC’s inability to land PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko played a prominent role in the decision to walk away, according to Couture.
“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.”