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Shocker! Randy Couture quits UFC

FightNetwork.com is reporting today that UFC heavyweight champ and legend Randy Couture is leaving UFC. Apparently, Couture sent a letter of resignation to Dana White. From the article, here is an excerpt of Couture's letter to White:

“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.”

Sherdog.com has more on the breaking news here. According to Sherdog.com's article, relatively low pay and UFC's inability to bring top heavyweight fighter Fedor Emelianenko into the promotion were two of Couture's main considerations in retiring.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

"The motivation for the decision is two-fold," he continued. "I know Fedor (Emelianenko) just signed with another organization and that's the only real fight that makes sense for me at 44 years old as the heavyweight champion of the UFC. That's the fight I wanted and if that can't happen it doesn't make sense for me to compete with all these other guys. And then obviously that's not going to happen now. And, two, I'm tired of being taken advantage of, played as the nice guy and basically swimming against the current with the management of the UFC. I have a lot of other things going on in my life that I'm doing just fine with. I don't need the problems. I don't feel like I get the respect I deserve from the organization, and that's motivation No. 2 for the letter of resignation that was sent today."

And, finally Dana White released a statement on UFC.com regarding Couture's resignation.  White acknowledges the resignation with the following statement:

I'm not surprised at all by Randy’s decision. I talked to Randy several weeks ago and he said that if he couldn’t fight Fedor, then he has nothing left to prove in the sport of mixed martial arts.

According to reports, Couture had two fights left on his contract with UFC.  Therefore, it doesn't appear that Couture can jump to another promotion (for example, M-1, which is where Emelianenko signed this week).  In other words, if Couture does want to come back to MMA, he will apparently do so only with UFC.  And, a Randy-Fedor fight appears completely dead in the water.

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