Never free from conflict, Couture fights another public battle
The day he pulled aside UFC co-owner
But another was brewing.
He didn't know -- no one could have known at the time -- the decision to return to the Octagon would come back would spark an even uglier out-of-competition confrontation, culminating with the need for a restraining order the week of the fight.
Of the many side businesses Couture picked up in part to his years as UFC champion, his gym and clothing line, both labeled "Xtreme Couture," are two of his most important. With his return to fighting, Couture's clothing partner, Affliction, became a direct promotional competitor to the UFC.
In late September, Couture and representatives for the competing companies met in Las Vegas to discuss the heavyweight champion's desire to wear Xtreme Couture-branded shirts at UFC events. After waiting for UFC President
Discussion eventually turned to a relationship whereby Affliction would give up promoting MMA in exchange for becoming the official t-shirt licensee of the UFC. Despite closing out the Sept. 26 meeting with both sides agreeing to reconvene after drawing up proposals, there wasn't much forward movement from Affliction, whose executives appeared to disagree on the best course of action.
Weeks later, when
Beard then went after Couture and his wife
On Wednesday, just days before Couture was to step into the Octagon against Lesnar, a restraining order against Beard was granted on behalf of the fighter, his wife, and their attorney,
Forced to resign the following evening, Beard publicly apologized for his actions. Those close to Couture say the recent distractions haven't upset his focus. Rather, the only thing worth focusing on, Couture decided, was fighting.