James Brown may have been known as the hardest working man in show business, but there’s little doubt these days that Randy Couture is one of the hardest working men in MMA. Despite his announced retirement from the UFC last fall, he’s been busy running a successful gym and training center, cornering Xtreme Couture fi ghters at Affl iction: Banned, and promoting his new book and movie. I caught up with Randy between engagements the day his new autobiography, Becoming the Natural, hit the stores.
Thank you for making the time, Randy. I know you’re a very busy man. What prompted you to write your autobiography?
Just interested in telling the story of my life and the adversity I’ve been through. A lot of people use that kind of adversity as an excuse not to succeed or to not set goals, and I hoped the story would be positive and would motivate people.
You’ve authored other books – Wrestling for Fighting comes to mind, which is more of an MMA instructional type of book. What was the most challenging thing about writing your own life story?
Well, some of it was fun to write down, and some of it was hard to kind of live through again. Getting it right, making it positive, and trying to eliminate as much negativity as possible so the book portrays what I wanted it to portray was probably the most diffi cult thing.
What’s the most rewarding thing about seeing it in print fi nally?
Well, I put a lot of work into it. We’re just now getting started with the book tour, so hopefully it has a positive infl uence on people. So far the reviews have been good, but I think the jury’s still out on that. So far it’s been a good process, and overall it’s been a good experience.
Tell me about the title, Becoming the Natural. How did you choose that and what does it mean to you personally?
Well it’s all about kind of who I am now and all the bad things I’ve been through. All the people who have affected me in a negative way still contributed to making I the person I am, and what I’ve become. If I’m confi dent and comfortable with that, then I can kind of forgive those people for what they did, because ultimately they contributed to who I am in one way or another.
If an up-and-coming MMA fi ghter reads your book, what lessons do you think he or she can take away from your story?
Well, I think having a little faith that things work out the way they’re supposed to work out, keeping things in perspective and that if the worst thing that ever happens to you in your life is that you lose a fi ght, then you’re doing pretty damned good. Outside of that, I think those are the few most important things.
What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about you after reading this book?
It’s hard to say. It’s hard for me to put myself in other people’s shoes, and I’m not sure what they’ll be surprised by – maybe my failed marriages, I don’t know.
Who do you think are the people or experiences that have shaped you into the man you are today?
Wow, there are too many to put into one sentence. Obviously not having my father around much as a kid had an effect on me, and was one of the motivations that drove me athletically. That drove me further than it may have driven the next kid, but I think my mom, her attitude and her perspective and the hard work that she put in was defi nitely an infl uence on me. My time in the service was formative for me. I learned a lot of discipline and a lot of things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned. I’ve met coaches up and down the line that have affected me in a lot of ways so it’s hard to identify in a short statement all those things.
Since you mentioned coaches, I want to congratulate you and your guys on a great show at Affl iction: Banned. They did very well. How does it feel being a coach and mentor?
I enjoy coaching. It’s what I went to college for and planned on doing – coaching and teaching. I like giving back to the guys, I like working with the guys and seeing guys being successful. It’s very rewarding for me.
So what’s next for you, Randy?
Well, we’ll be pretty busy here for this next month or month-and-a-half, with the book tour and the movie promotions for Scorpion King. Hopefully we’ll get some word one way or another with regard to the [UFC] contract and the language of the contract, and then we’ll be free and clear to pursue the Fedor fi ght sometime this fall.
That would be fantastic. We’re all looking forward to that, and I’m sure no one more than you.
Yeah, I can’t wait.
Do you feel this book does a good job of answering the question, “Who is Randy Couture?”
Yeah, I think it does. I think it tells who I am, where I came from, defi nitely shows my approach to life and what’s gotten me where I’m at today.
If somebody asked you the question, ‘Who is Randy Couture?’ what would you answer?
I think he’s a pretty good person who happens to fi ght for a living.