UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture suffered a heart attack on Wednesday and is currently hospitalized, a person with knowledge of his medical status told MMA Fighting.
The person, who requested anonymity given the news involves medical information, said Couture, 56, was moved out of the intensive care unit on Thursday. He is expected to make a full recovery after being admitted to a Los Angeles-area hospital on Wednesday.
TMZ on Thursday reported the former UFC champ and PFL commentator walked into the hospital complaining he felt “off” after a workout at the Unbreakable Performance Center in Hollywood. He was immediately admitted and treated.
Couture was most recently seen on television this past Thursday during the broadcast of the PFL’s 2019 playoffs at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. He was also working on several TV and movie projects and recently appeared in a promo for the upcoming movie “D-Day” alongside former rival and fellow Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell.
PFL spokeperson Greg Savage said the promotion had no immediate comment, but is preparing a statement when it gathers all the details on Couture’s status.
Couture retired from active competition in 2011, but continued to train at his flagship Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas as well as Unbreakable.
One of the sport’s most decorated fighters, Couture made his octagon debut in 1997 at UFC 13. He went on to collect his first heavyweight title the same year with a win over Maurice Smith. Three years later, he returned to take the belt from Kevin Randleman at UFC 28. His third heavyweight title win came at UFC 68 in 2007.
Couture was also a two-time undisputed light heavyweight champion, defeating Tito Ortiz and Vitor Belfort. His trio of fights with Liddell, with whom he served as an opposing coach on the groundbreaking “The Ultimate Fighter” series, pushed the UFC’s popularity to new heights.
Upon retirement, Couture embarked on a full-time career as an actor, entertainer and commentator. He snagged a major role in a trio of “Expendables” action flicks alongside Sylvester Stallone, appeared on TV shows such as “Hawaii Five-0,” “Lip Sync Battle” and “The Unit.” He also took a regular role with the PFL, reprising the color commentary he frequently delivered for major UFC events.
An outspoken advocate for fighters’ rights, Couture repeatedly clashed with UFC over pay and image rights. In 2007, he famously resigned from the industry leader, citing its inability to make a fight with Fedor Emelianenko. The promoter and fighter battled in court for nearly one year before Couture signed a new deal to defend his heavyweight title against Brock Lesnar at UFC 91.
Several prominent MMA fighters and industry veterans offered their support for Couture, including UFC star Conor McGregor and Bellator President Scott Coker.
Prayers up for Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture #Pioneer— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 24, 2019