April 28, 2011
Randy Couture’s imminent retirement isn’t just bad news for Canadian MMA fans; it’s also a huge blow for the promotion of lacrosse in Edmonton.
Couture plans to step away from the octagon after Saturday’s bout at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. With the end of his 30-fight career, he’ll also take away one of professional lacrosse’s most notable pieces of cross-promotion – Couture’s sponsorship arrangement with the National Lacrosse League's Edmonton Rush.
Couture signed on with the Rush in 2009 in a mutual admiration deal that saw the lacrosse team sport “Extreme Couture” logos on its shorts, while Couture wore the Rush logo on his fight shorts.
Rush captain Brodie Merrill and other teammates also trained with the fighter. Couture told the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix at the time that the lacrosse players’ work ethic struck a chord with him.
“They were great guys. The athletes we worked with were phenomenal and it was cool. Very humble, earthy group of guys that just liked to work and loved their sport. I really, really respect that. So I found them fun to be around and fun to work with.”
Couture’s son Ryan also wore the Rush colours in the octagon, and Randy also acted as the celebrity guest at a Rush poker tournament.
The Rush have wrapped up their 2011 season after missing the playoffs, but Urban is still pushing the Rush-Couture partnership, albeit in an entirely different arena. Urban has created the “Capital EX Monster Truck Show" that will take over Edmonton’s Rexall Place for three days in July; the centerpiece is a truck built to look like Couture, with “Rush Lacrosse” printed on its gloves. The Rush share title sponsor billing with Urban’s company, Western RV Country.
For more Canadian lacrosse coverage follow Andrew McKay on Twitter @apmckay