Published Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009 | midnight
Updated Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009 | midnight
Randy Couture may be one of the baddest men on the planet, but when it comes to the military the former UFC champ has a big soft spot in his heart.
Like several GI events he’s hosted in the past, Couture, a veteran of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, will be the main man today at second annual “Operation All In” poker tournament that takes place at 2 p.m. at the Golden Nugget.
The $330 buy-in/$100 re-buy event benefits injured troops.
“Having spent time in a uniform it became a personal goal of mine to find a way to give back to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces for the sacrifices they make defending our freedoms,” said Couture, who is a week away from his homecoming fight in Portland, Ore., against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102.
The poker tournament will feature several fellow fighters including Dan Henderson, Stephan Bonnar, Frank Trigg and Phil Baroni, and a handful of pro poker players in Todd Brunson, Lee Watkinson, Chip Jett, David Williams and Adam Schoendelf.
The grand prize is a $12,000 travel package to the Sports Legend Challenge in the Bahamas, which includes a $10,000 seat to the poker tournament at Atlantis Paradise Island & Casino. The four-day event from Sept. 14-17 features such sporting legends as Troy Aikman, Sugar Ray Leonard, Richard Petty, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Namath and Reggie Jackson and poker pros such as Jamie Gold, Annie Duke, Johnny Chan and Mike Sexton.
In addition to the tourney, today’s event will feature live and silent benefit auctions and autograph sessions.
Couture says obviously people should come out for the good cause , but his fans in particular will have their only chance to “beat up Randy Couture” in a face-to-face competition.
“It’s only my third time playing. I’m gonna get my butt handed to me,” Couture said with a big laugh. “But that’s OK, it’s all for a great cause.”