Rattling the Cage Book Review: “Becoming the Natural:My Life In and Out of the Cage” Randy Couture

Monday, September 5th, 2011 by Tony Reid

“Becoming the Natural: My Life In and Out of the Cage” by Randy Couture (with Loretta Hunt) was a book I was quick to pick up. I, as do many, many others consider Randy an icon, role model and hero in the sport of MMA. Randy, in my opinion, will be looked back on with the same reverence in MMA as Babe Ruth is in baseball. He is a highly decorated Greco-Roman wrestler, a UFC Hall of Famer and the only man to hold the championship in both the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. He has played a vital role in the sports development from being considered a sideshow to the cultural phenomenon it is today.

His story begins as it speaks about the young boy in the northwest, trying to find and connect with the most important man in a young boy’s life, his father. He becomes a young father himself and he discovers wrestling at a young age and excels. As his career on the mat came to a less than storybook ending after not making the Olympic Team he, almost by chance, stumbles into No Holds Barred fighting. After being talked into entering an event he quickly shows the warrior spirit and becomes a force in the sport, whether the UFC brass liked it or not.

We are all familiar with his battles in the cage with legends like Vitor Belfort, Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. We also know about his improbable comeback against Tim Sylvia and defense against Gabriel Gonzaga. We know Randy’s career in the public spotlight but would the book tell us what we don’t already know? In a word, yes.

The book delves into his “relationship” with his father and as many fighters’ stories go, it wasn’t great. He also touches on his transgressions with the women in his life, from marriages 1 through 3, including Kim Couture. One such story he explains, while coaching wrestling in college, an affair he has with female coach and a specific story in which he had to literally crawl under the desk in an office as to try to keep his wife from finding out. There is also a story of an emergency room visit where “The Natural” is caught in an embarrassing position.  The book doesn’t gloss over any detail, whether it is a complimentary one or a derogatory one. Couture speaks with brutal honesty and it makes the reader respect him that much more.

The book draws to a close with his future still hanging in the balance after extended contractual squabbles with Dana White and the UFC. He still eyes a fight with Fedor, hoping against hope that it can become a reality before it’s too late.

Randy Couture is admired, idolized and respected throughout the mixed martial arts community like no other human being on earth. His failures are as celebrated as his successes, which speaks to the level of reverence in which he is held. He is the consummate professional if there ever was one. He carries himself with such dignity and class that you can’t help but like him as a person. This life story as detailed in the book will do nothing but solidify that opinion of the man. It is well worth the read. If you pick up one MMA Biography make it this one.