It actually happened. After a few months of extreme persistence and incoherent rants, former boxing champion, James Toney, has gotten his way and has signed a deal to fight for the UFC. Toney first started his campaign to fight for the UFC on January 2nd, 2010 at UFC 108, where he was demanding to talk to UFC president Dana White and subsequently stalked him at shows and through viral video blogs on the internet pleading for his chance in the octagon.
Toney was an accomplished boxer in his day. Holding belts in three separate weight classes, he was perhaps most famous for his 1994 super fight against Roy Jones Jr. Now Toney wants to mix it up for the UFC at the ripe age of 41, and one has to ask, why? I understand why James Toney would want to do this; the man is a fighter and the UFC is big business, but why is the UFC getting in bed with a fighter who has no MMA training and doesn’t really care to train MMA (even though he hired Juanito Ibarra, which wont make any difference) and that will bring a great deal of attention to the sport of MMA? Sounds like the UFC just took a step back to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching two guys stand up and fight each other, but the big picture here is that you want to legitimize the sport, not create a circus side show.
Adding to the craziness is that UFC legend and former champion, Randy Couture, has come out to say he would like to be Toney’s first test. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. The potential for viewers would be extremely high, but there has to be some deeper reasoning there and hopefully Dana White has the conscience to never make that fight happen. The potential for a good fight lies with another striker, but if James Toney was ever to win inside the octagon, I would have to believe that there would be no weight class to hold his ego.
Maybe I’m taking this too seriously. In the end, I just like to watch good fights, but I have an appreciation for smart business decisions and I don’t think that this is one of them. Dana White came out against Herschel Walker fighting MMA and that man was as dedicated to training and respectful of the sport as you can get. As always, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Right now, however, it looks like the heavyweight division just got louder.
Please continue to post any questions or comments you may have and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @zachlipari.