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Face of the Modern Warrior: Engaging Self-Portrait of an Extraordinary Athlete,
This review is from: Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage (Hardcover)Perhaps no one personifies the face of MMA more than Randy Couture. "The Natural," "Captain America" and "Old Man" are perhaps a few of his better known nicknames. His mixed martial arts career spans the explosive popularization of what was once a fringe sport into its mainstream position currently.
Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz have all launched their own autobiographies over the past year. Now "The Natural" adds his. Couture provides an absorbing narrative of a working class kid from the Northwest who became a teenage father, got involved in wrestling and showed a quick aptitude for it. As his Greco-Roman career wound down and his Olympic dreams receded, the UFC was just appearing on the horizon and -- almost as an afterthought -- Couture was talked into entering one of the competitions. He quickly distinguished himself as a formidable warrior in the octagon.
Most readers will know the major story lines from then on: the bouts with Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz and the three matches against Chuck Liddell. Other memorable bouts are the improbable victories over Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga.
One remarkable aspect of Couture's career has been his sheer longevity, competing on a world class level well into his 40's, often fighting guys a decade younger. No rocking chair for The Natural!! I would have been interested in hearing his "secret" for staying competitive so long.
What all these MMA guys seem to have in common is complex relationships with their fathers, often absentee fathers or fathers with (often alcoholic) baggage. No exception here.
Another feature they often seem to have in common is keeping it in their pants. Fidelity is an issue as the MMA guys often freely philander and, well, "dip their wicks" in various inviting female inkwells. Couture traces the rise and fall of Marriage #1, Marriage #2 and the rise of Marriage #3 to Kim Couture. Having hit the marital trifecta, he is well on his way to an octet! Which woman will truly be The One, since they all seem to get traded in for a newer model after a few years. (Are the 2009 models out yet?)
Guys like Couture keep divorce lawyers fully employed.
Couture has always come across though as a regular nice guy with his head screwed one and this memoir is consistent with that impression. It's impossible to dislike the guy. He gives you his side of the developing feud with the UFC brass and the ups and downs of his personal relationship with the ever polarizing Dana White.
As "Becoming the Natural" ends, the reader is left to wonder if Couture's career has had the final coda written. Legal and contractual constraints may do what few opponents have been able to do inside the octagon - defeat Randy Couture. By the time he clears away his legal dispute with Zuffa, will Father Time overtake his willingness to engage? Will the ring rust and erosion of skills allow Couture to compete, especially against the likes of Fedor Emilianko? After seeing Fedor demolish Tim Sylvia on July 19th, it's tempting to give "The Natural" no shot at winning such a match, but the old man has proven me and many others wrong before. One bets against Randy Couture at his peril.
MMA fans will relish this autobiography of an extraordinary athlete - Randy "The Natural" Couture!