Randy Couture To Do Two Reality-Style Shows For Spike; Dana White Upset
Former UFC fighter Randy Couture and Spike have agreed to "a two-year development deal and greenlighted two unscripted" shows, according to Lesley Goldberg of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Couture under the agreement will "serve as one of four coaches" on a Spike show called "Fight Master: Bellator MMA," which would be similar in style to NBC's "The Voice." Couture will also do "MMA Rescue," which would be similar in style to Fox' "Kitchen Nightmares." Couture for "Fight Master" will oversee 32 up-and-coming fighters "looking to brawl their way through a win-or-go-home format into the Bellator tournament and a six-figure cash prize." The Couture-produced three-episode "MMA Rescue" will feature him using "his years of experience in the business of MMA to help turn failing gyms into successful businesses." Couture's deal also includes a "first look at new projects in a number of content categories, with Spike open to nonsports efforts" and Spike Exec VP/Original Series Sharon Levy "not ruling out a scripted venture" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/5). Levy said that "Fight Master" "won't feature the debauchery characteristic of many reality shows." Levy: "It's not going to be a bunch of drunk guys running around acting like idiots. We wanted to give something for the die hard MMA fans but also create a show for the people who are coming to the sport, giving a much more robust, in-depth understanding of [what] the sport is -- strategy, technique" (SI.com, 2/5).
NO GOING BACK: In Las Vegas, Adam Hill noted UFC President Dana White is "fuming at news" of Couture's agreement with Spike. White said that he is "happy he won't have to deal with Couture again." White: "I don't respect him at all, not even a little bit" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/5). Couture said, "If Dana's anything he's predictable. You know how he's going to be. We anticipated that. We kind of knew where it was gonna end up. It's unfortunate that it has to be that way, because I don't think it's necessary. But Dana's Dana." ESPN.com's Josh Gross wrote Couture believes his deal with Spike "signifies a 'death sentence'" with the UFC. Couture: "All the things that have taken place in the last couple weeks, I'd be surprised if there's an opportunity to come back. I don't think there's any going back" (ESPN.com, 2/5).