Randy Couture (19-10) sent his online fan base into a frenzy last night when he announced on Twitter he may be retiring soon. Though no formal announcement has been made and Twitter has repeatedly been debunked as an accurate forum for news, the writing has been on the wall for Couture's MMA departure since he began his acting career.
Couture had to fight in court just to fight in the cage before his triumphant return to the UFC, and Dallas Mavericks and HDNet Fights Owner Mark Cuban eventually ceded his interest in the fighter so Randy could finish out his contract in the octagon. Now Cuban is actually a bondholder for the UFC's parent company Zuffa, LLC. Couture has made nice with the UFC brass since his brief departure from the sport ended. "I'm tired of throwing money at lawyers with no end in sight. Best place for me to fight is a cage, not a court room," said Couture in announcing his UFC 91 return in September of 2008.
Now it seems the best place for Couture to fight is on the silver screen. Couture's actually in Grand Rapids, Michigan right now, where he's filming a role in the upcoming movie "The Setup" co-starring Bruce Willis, rapper 50 Cent, Ryan Phillipe and James Remar. In March Couture will begin work on "The Expendables 2," though it's not clear how many other stars of the original film will be returning for the sequel. The first movie included Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Steve Austin, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, and cameos by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwartzenegger.
But, is it really over as far as cage fighting? Not quite, it seems. Couture's representatives have debunked talk of retirement, and Couture himself has said he's willing to fight Mauricio "Shogun" Rua or Lyoto Machida before hanging up the gloves for good. Machida appears to be the best option at this point since Rua is already signed to fight Rashad Evans next March. Perhaps this is the reason Dana White immediately dismissed any possibility of a Machida/Jackson rematch after the controversial decision in that fight.
Couture has been impressive in his last three fights in the UFC, beating Brandon Vera, Mark Coleman, and James Toney decisively and cementing his legacy as "Captain America." The 47-year-old fighter has a diverse background outside the sport, though. He operates multiple businesses including his own gym, a clothing company, and a supplement line.
One final fight will give Couture the chance to say goodbye in public and not by tweet. It will also give him a shot at notching his 20th win to finish 10 fights over .500 without a freak show, experimental opponent like Toney. Between his acting gigs he may end up doing some commentating work and is not likely to fade away from MMA entirely. He will always be a recognizable personality who represents the sport's roots, and he stands as a perfect example of what a smart fighter can do to transition from fighting to retirement with "Xtreme" success.