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James Toney Signs a UFC Contract

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.

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By Zachary Lipari

President of East Coast MMA.

5 replies on “James Toney Signs a UFC Contract”

Zach, do you think that Dana White made this decision based on his urge to reap the short-term benefits of the public’s attention to the matter and the high viewership potential without considering the long-term negative effects it would have on the sport?

I don’t think this was a horrible decision. Let’s see what happens to him. Dana will prob feed him a few cans that are stand up fighters to showcase Toney’s boxing, then as he wins a few will give him a guy like Cheik Kongo who is the gatekeeper of the ufc. Say what you want this guy was a fighter, it’s not like strikeforce showcasing Herschel Walker or Jose Canseco, the worst that comes out of this is Toney gets beat in his first fight.

Well, since I wrote this I’ve given it some thought and I agree that Toney is different then Herschel Walker, Jose Canseco, etc in the sense that he is a boxer/fighter by trade unlike Walker and had performed at a championship level at one point. Maybe Dana White thinks that this will silence critics who say a boxer can and will always win in a MMA fight but I still think its more of a side show than the UFC needs. I think Dana White always considers the potential ramifications of the decisions he makes so they must be intrigued on some level other then just ratings but whatever happens, it isn’t the end of the world its just a little unnecessary from where I’m sitting. Still, that doesn’t mean I wont watch it.

Thanks for the comments guys, keep em coming.

dude, i think dana white allowed this fight to happen to shut james tony’s fat mouth and i think he believes randy couture, a very well rounded fighter, will beat toney and it will show every1 that mma is a serious sport and not any guy who can punch hard is cut out for it. In the end i think dana was just trying to make money n give the world a good fight

This is really interesting. Although the big money is on Boxing compare to UFC, seeing a professional boxing against UFC fighter will be very interesting. Boxer’s are used to fight and prepared for 12 round while UFC is for only three rounds. Lets see how Tooney will handle his future fight.

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