(James Toney, shown above with one boxing glove, one MMA glove, and an artist’s depiction of what he might look like if he lost 85 pounds.)
By Jared “DangadaDang” Jones
During its rise to popularity, Mixed Martial Arts has become known for the incredible physical conditioning, talent, and (depending whose side you’re on) heart of its athletes. It is a sport built on dedication; simply put, no amount of pink gloves and flirting with overweight TUF alums will make you an MMA fighter.
But as with any sport’s increase in mass appeal, MMA has seen its share of hacks, wannabes, scallywags and jabronis attempting to grab 15 more minutes of fame through a career in “that Ultimate Fighting stuff.” In light of James Toney’s continuing efforts to shake the MMA world with the use of side check kicks, I give you the five worst instances of C-to-D-list celebrities giving MMA the old community-college try.
5. Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson
The phrase “meteoric rise” comes to mind — one minute you were watching Kimbo smoke blunts in the background of semi-public orgies and the next he was being touted as the most formidable opponent to take Brock Lesnar’s crown. Mr. Ferguson landed on our radars through a series of brutal street fight videos in which he fought guys named “Afro Puff,” “Byrd,” “Chico,” and “Mayor McCheese.” These internet videos went viral so ferociously that the now-defunct EliteXC built him up to be their marquee star by feeding him other hopeless big lugs like “Bo” and “Tank.”
Kimbo was given his first “legitimate” opponent in James Thompson as the headlining bout of EliteXC: Primetime in May 2008. Despite possibly tapping to a guillotine in the first round and being on the receiving end of over 1,000 elbows in the second, Kimbo was able to pull off a rare standing-TKO of Thompson late in the third. (Good lookin’ out, Dan.)