Randy Couture wants one major change to come to fruition in MMA as the sport continues to grow worldwide.
Couture is one of the most accomplished athletes in the history of mixed martial arts. He is a UFC Hall of Famer after a legendary career that featured memorable title fights, knockouts, and moments that changed the sport forever.
Couture has also witnessed the sport’s growth over the past two decades. Superstar fighters such as Conor McGregor have changed the way that the general public feels about MMA and combat sports.
Couture is vocal in his desire for better fighter pay and overall treatment across the sport. Dating back to his time in the UFC, he’s been critical of the business models of some promotions and the way that contracts are negotiated.
Couture wants some of the top leaders in MMA to come together to make a universal change in the form of the Muhammad Ali Act to include mixed martial arts in the law.
Randy Couture: We Need To Amend The Muhammad Ali Act
During an exclusive interview with MMANews, Couture expressed a desire to make one profound change that will benefit the sport moving forward.
“For me, that’s a simple answer,” Couture said. “To amend the Muhammad Ali Act to include all combative sports athletes and not just boxers. It’s an easy fix, it creates transparency in our sport, and it eliminates a bunch of restrictive contracts that are controlling athletes across the board. Maybe then we’ll see some cross-promotional fights at the pay-per-view level. That’s the fight that Fedor and I would’ve loved to see happen that never happened…
“That’s why the UFC spends millions and millions of dollars lobbying against that change being amended. Every promoter will have to disclose what each fighter made after every event…knowing exactly what money is coming in, and how much should be going to the athletes…they don’t allow us to represent ourselves or go to other promotions and get the best deal possible.”
The Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2000, protects the rights of boxers and aids boxing commissions on a federal level. The Ali Act was introduced after widespread abuse of boxers, including rigged fights and athlete rankings.
The law also prohibits boxing promoters and managers from moving forward with restrictive contracts. In 2016, then-congressman Markwayne Mullin introduced an amendment to extend the bill to mixed martial artists.
Couture’s comments come after former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou signed with the PFL. He had a long contract dispute with the UFC, including demands for fighter health insurance and other non-monetary incentives that the UFC were unwilling to oblige.
The PFL is beginning to set a standard for fighter pay and treatment, but Couture feels their system should be universally accepted to end restrictive fighter contracts.
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