LAS VEGAS – Some MMA observers may have misread Dana White's reaction to Randy Couture's new deal with the Viacom-owned Spike.
White's tweet of "I love it" wasn't the pleasant bon voyage it seemed.
Rather, it was an expression of relief at never having to do business with the UFC Hall of Famer again, according to the UFC president.
"Randy Couture comes off as the greatest guy in the world – Captain America," White said. "He's the furthest thing from it, and I'm happy that I don't have to be in business with him anymore. Now I don't ever have to be in business with him again."
Such a venomous comment might come as a surprise to newer fans, who have seen Couture serve as an on-air analyst in the first five UFC events broadcast on FOX, or as deja vu for those who witnessed the fallout from a contract dispute between the fighter and promoter six years ago.
White, though, said it was a long time coming.
"Not for a lot of people that know him it won't be," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "(For) 99.9 percent of the people, that won't be shocking at all. People that really know him, not people that watch him on TV."
In 2007, Couture resigned from the UFC, citing discontent with the promotion's management and a desire to fight Fedor Emelianenko.
The dispute found its way into court, where Couture sued to free himself from a promotional contract and UFC parent Zuffa did the same to block him from signing with rival promotions.
It was there White claims his opinion was set.
"I would say when that whole lawsuit went down, when he lied about his numbers and lied about a lot of things, went into court and it didn't work out for him, I say that's when I really got to know him," he said. "And when that whole thing went down, I was the guy he was attacking.
"It's easy if you look at me and the way that I am in public, it's easy to say, 'Oh, this is the guy we can attack and make me look good.' Of course, everybody's going to side with Randy.
"This guy that he's playing out to be this horrible human being, there were a lot of things that happened in there, but the nail in the coffin was, if I'm this horrible, despicable human being that he speaks about ... when he was in town ... him and his wife were in town when he had just had a brand new baby, they're down in Las Vegas filming 'The Ultimate Fighter' – would you drop your baby off at that guy's house to watch your brand new baby, and leave him there overnight and come pick him up the next day?"
Couture's rep, Sam Spira, declined comment on the matter.
News of Couture's deal with Spike reportedly incensed White, according to a report from Sports Illustrated, which first confirmed the fighter's deal with the Viacom-channel.
As part of the deal, which was also confirmed by MMAjunkie.com, Couture will serve as a coach on the first season of Bellator's forthcoming reality show, which begins filming next month, and a variety of other projects for Spike TV.
Since retiring from MMA after a loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 129, Couture has focused on acting projects. This past summer, he reprised his role in the sequel to the action flick "The Expendables," and had a role in the 2011 feature "The Setup."
Couture's image has been a sore spot with the Zuffa-owned UFC earlier in his career. A spat over likeness rights led the promotion to exclude him from an advertising campaign touting its new ownership.