Just before turning 40, Randy Couture defeated Chuck Liddell – the current star of a Miller Lite Commercial – for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Ten years later, the legendary fighter is preparing to film “Expendables 3,” but first he will take some time on Memorial Day weekend to remember his days in the Army by raising money for wounded veterans during his sixth annual Poker Run around Las Vegas.
“I wore the uniform for six years in the 80s, and I have a unique understanding for the dedication it takes to serve,” Couture told Breitbart Sports on Thursday. “The technological advances that have been made are letting troops survive [IUDs] that would have killed them in the past. The downside is you have a lot of guys coming back missing limbs.”
The photo includes (from left) Yu Nan, Terry Crews, Sylvester Stallone, Randy Couture and Dolph Lundgren.
The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation raises money for wounded veterans year round, but the biggest of several charity events is Sunday’s Poker Ride, which is featured on his foundation’s website.
“Every year I get to go out to DC hospitals. Believe it or not, one of the hardest things we had to do was find the families that need help. They obviously want their privacy,” said Couture, who did not go into details about any particular wounded soldier.
Couture remains one of the most admired fighters in the history of Mixed Martial Arts partly because he kept winning UFC fights even at the age of 47, and he was actually the UFC champion until the age of 44, in perhaps the most grueling sport in the world. Ironically, he actually aspired to be an Olympic skier before becoming a national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling before going into the Army after majoring in German at Oklahoma State.
“This is one of several small events my foundation does. We have low overhead – the guys at the gym help me put it together, and I’d seen Poker Rides with horses in Seattle and thought with my small bike shop this would be a great way to raise a little money,” he said. “I believe we’ve done that, raising about $400,000.”
When asked about making the transition to acting after defying age to fight until the age of 47, Couture said there are some similarities.
“Acting and fighting are both a grind. Obviously training is a lot more physical 10 to 12 weeks,” he said. “The mental toughness can help prepare you for acting. It can be three weeks to three months of 12 to 14 hour days.”
In addition to starting filming on his third Expendables movie, he was in “Setup” and will begin filming “Distant Shore” before starting back on Expendables 3.
Couture claimed the world title six times, alternating between heavyweight and light heavyweight, and in addition to acting he has gone on to own a chain of gyms (Xtreme Couture MMA), a clothing line, a cologne, and a supplement company. His new Spike TV show, “Fight Master: Bellator MMA,” premiers in June.