(Always bringing his cock out at the most inappropriate moments.)
Here’s how badly Roy Jones Jr. wants to fight UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva: he’s willing to do it as an MMA bout, where his chances of losing are very, very good. This, according to a new CBS Sports article in which UFC president Dana White admits that Jones has offered to fight Silva in the UFC Octagon under MMA rules, but White flatly refused:
"I could do it, make it huge, make money, but I could have done a fight like this when we were bleeding money [in the early 2000s]," White said. "The fight would make some money, but it hurts MMA in the long term. We don’t do that because we love the sport. That’s a Pride or K-1 matchup. It’s not what we do."
Honorable, right? The UFC could make a ton of money on a Jones/Silva bout (regardless of what you think of Jones’ current appeal as a boxing pay-per-view draw, the sheer novelty of this fight alone would guarantee a better buy-rate than any other Anderson Silva bout in recent memory), but say they’re opting not to because it would be bad for the sport. But how, exactly, does this hurt MMA as a whole?
The UFC’s objection is fairly obvious. Jones isn’t interested in becoming an MMA fighter, as Brock Lesnar was. He’s interested in this one fight. He wants a one-off deal, and he probably wants a ridiculous amount of money for that one fight. If the UFC were to give it to him they’d have a hard time explaining why they won’t give the same deal to Fedor Emelianenko. Plus, there’s always the chance that Silva might try and prove his boxing skills, forgoing the ground game altogether, and end up getting himself knocked out by RJJ, thus diminishing his value as the UFC middleweight champion.
But would a boxer vs. MMA fighter bout really do serious damage to the sport? Not really. It would be a curiosity, slightly more spectacle than sport, but that’s nothing new.
The UFC put Lesnar in the Octagon against a former heavyweight champ back when the big man had only one pro MMA fight. They put Sean Gannon in at UFC 55 based purely on his underground “victory” over Kimbo Slice. In other words, it wouldn’t be the first time the UFC capitalized on someone’s fame outside the sphere of MMA. If Jones agreed to get one MMA bout under his belt first, competing on a small show somewhere so he could enter the UFC with the same 1-0 record Lesnar and Gannon did, would that placate Dana White? Probably not, which should tell us something.
The reality is that a Jones/Silva bout doesn’t have enough of a benefit for the UFC to incur the costs and the risks associated with putting it on. It has nothing to do with integrity of the sport. Even if he’s getting on in years and isn’t the fighter he used to be, Jones is still a legend of the boxing world. There are still plenty of people who would like to see how he could do in an MMA bout. The answer, if Silva chose to use all his tools, would be terribly. There’s no way he could stay on his feet if Silva wanted to take him down, and no way he’d survive longer than a minute once on the mat.
But no matter how the fight turned out, a former boxing great against a current MMA great is still a legitimate enough match-up that MMA would emerge unscathed. If boxing could survive Ali vs. Inoki, MMA could survive this. It’s not a freak show. It isn’t Jose Canseco vs. Hong Man Choi. It’s a real (enough) fight that I’d frankly love to see. The UFC just doesn’t want to stick its neck out – financially and otherwise – in order to make it happen, and that’s fine. But let’s be honest, MMA has been through worse.