Back in 2008, Randy Couture put his UFC Heavyweight Championship on the line against WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, and Couture came up short, leaving Lesnar to reign as the champion. Now, Couture is stepping up with some pretty controversial opinions on the UFC’s treatment of its fighters — and specifically, Brock Lesnar jumping the line to get a shot at the heavyweight championship.
While Couture didn’t have the kindest words for the way the UFC does business when he sat down with Submission Radio (as transcribed by SBNation), he didn’t actually say anything negative about Brock Lesnar himself. After all, it’s not Lesnar’s fault that the UFC is granting him a title shot coming off of a failed drug test in his most recent fight — which was against Mark Hunt on July 9, 2016.
First, Couture talked about the UFC’s official rankings, which were introduced back in February of 2013. He doesn’t seem to think that the UFC actually cares about said rankings, implying that the company only cares about PPV buys and business.
“Obviously, the rankings and all of that stuff, they manipulate that however they want anyway. Whatever makes business sense to them is all that really matters. They don’t care about the fighters. They don’t care about those rankings.” Couture said on how the UFC treats rankings.
Whether he’s the best challenger in the heavyweight division or not, Brock Lesnar is a huge draw. A match between him and current champion Daniel Cormier should do huge numbers in terms of pay-per-view buys. On that, Randy Couture certainly has some interesting thoughts, thoughts with which many UFC fans are likely to agree.
“You know, lots of guys have jumped queue. It’s certainly not based on merit. So, that’s nothing new. I’m not surprised. He’s a huge draw. I mean, at the end of the day that’s the business of it. It’s about selling pay-per-views. Certainly, DC is the champ and rightly so, they’re gonna put him in there with a guy like DC and that’s gonna draw huge pay-per-view numbers. So, that’s what it boils down to for them.”
The UFC introduced its anti-doping policy with USADA in June of 2015. Since then, there have been many fighters who have been flagged for performance enhancing and recreational drugs. Brock Lesnar is among the fighters who failed a test.
Randy Couture is a little curious as to why the UFC has these policies in place, if fighters are going to get rewarded with title shots immediately after failing a test.
“Well, you know, they want to tout their USADA and all their strict rules for drug testing, but somehow this guy managed to get through and still managed to fail a test but still compete,” Couture said. “Which begs the question, what’s going on?”