Non-UFC sources say that the contract Couture negotiated and signed before his comeback fight against Tim Sylvia in March is for four fights and between $13 million and $15 million, which puts him behind only Chuck Liddell, at four fights and $17 million, in the UFC salary pecking order. Those numbers are believed to include percentages of pay-per-view money.
I would take this at face value. Kevin Iole is a respected writer and has credible sources but this is a non-UFC source. The UFC has never before released figures of what people make and for good reason. If those figures were to get out to people the fighters may have more leverage at the negotiating table. Something I highly doubt the UFC or Dana White want to deal with. If this is brought up I'm sure they'll dismiss it as it isn't even coming from someone inside the UFC.
Here are two more interesting points about Randy's Retirement. Sam Caplan provided us with some insight earlier in the week with regards to this situation. Check out what Iole has to say:
Couture believes he can be a free agent after sitting out nine months, which would mean he figures he can fight Emelianenko sometime in late spring or early summer of 2008.
UFC president Dana White insists Couture must fight twice for the UFC to fulfill his contract and become a free agent
Kevin also went on to post about the future of the heavyweight division:
The winner of the Brandon Vera-Tim Sylvia fight on Saturday at UFC 77 in Cincinnati will meet Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the vacant heavyweight title sometime early next year.
Either winner to come out of Saturday nights UFC 77 fight will make a good opponent for Big Nog. Nogueira was the PRIDE heavyweight champion before Fedor came through and took the belt and has had it ever since. Nogueira is arguably one of the best BJJ practitioners in MMA. He also complements his ground game by working on his hands with the Cuban National boxing team. My prediction is we'll see Brandon Vera take on Nogueira, which will start the reign of Big Nog as the UFC Heavyweight champ.
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