NBCSports.com writer Michael Chiappetta has revealed that UFC heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, will become the first mixed martial arts fighter in history to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated sometime this summer.
Longtime Sports Illustrated staff columnist, L. Jon Wertheim, wrote the story, which will look into the life of the only five-time champion in UFC's 14 year history.
At 43 years of age, Couture reclaimed the UFC heavyweight championship by earning a unanimous judges' decision over 6 foot 8 inch giant, Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia, in the main event of UFC 68 on March 3rd.
Sports Illustrated's sudden interest in mixed martial arts is no surprise. Its change of heart towards the world's fastest growing sport parallels that of a number of other sports and entertainment mainstays, including HBO and Showtime.
The only previous coverage, worthy of mention, that the weekly sports magazine ever devoted to martial arts combat sports was a 1997 feature piece that exposed the harsh reality of Muay Thai (Thai style kickboxing) competition in Thailand. The story documented the exploitation of adolescent children, who turn to the national sport of their country, in order to help their families make ends meet.