Randy Couture: “Of course it was hurtful. That’s how Dana operates.”

Randy Couture: “Of course it was hurtful. That’s how Dana operates.”

No one would ever question MMA icon Randy Couture’s toughness. The legendary Couture was a champion in two divisions and faced some of the best fighters the sport has ever seen. However, “The Natural” recently admitted the way his relationship with the UFC fell apart was a painful experience.

At the root of the tension between the sides is UFC President Dana White’s anger at the way Couture left in favor of a deal with Spike TV/Bellator. Not surprisingly, White has turned the professional matter into a personal one, leaving Couture and by default his son Ryan Couture – a UFC lightweight – to deal with the fallout.

Couture told CNNSI:

“Dana has said his piece, and the issues really are his. It’s like a marriage. There’s always what happens onstage in front of the curtain, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff that happens behind the curtain that the general public and even some of your closest family members don’t know about. So sometimes it’s surprising when some of those things go public — when a couple breaks up, when there’s a divorce. People are like, ‘Oh my God. I thought they were happy. Things seemed so good.’ It’s never reality. There are always two sides to the story. But this is kind of old news, as far as I’m concerned. I’m staying positive, moving forward, doing the best that I can do for my career.”

“Of course it was hurtful. That’s how Dana operates. That’s the sword that he wields. That’s how the Fertittas use him. They know how he’s going to react. They know he’s going to say the things he’s going to say. He goes out of his way to be hurtful, to be insulting, to drop F-bombs and try to push buttons. That’s how he operates. He’s very predictable in that regard. At the press conference for Fight Master I thanked him for creating such a media storm for the brand new show. And since then we haven’t heard a word from him.”

“Well, he did create a media frenzy with his antics and comments about me personally and by dragging my family into this situation. It’s unfortunate that my son Ryan is caught up in it a bit. I think Dana has crossed the line by not allowing my son to have me in his corner or the brand that we built with our name represented in the UFC. That affects my son’s career, and I feel horrible that Ryan has to deal with that. He’s earned his spot in the UFC. He’s doing the best he can. He deserves a fair shake. And I don’t think he’s getting that.”

“But this is how Dana operates. I don’t operate that way. It’s not personal for me. It’s about making the best business decisions I can for my brand and for the sport of mixed martial arts.”