(Would James Toney have bothered to try MMA and would Dana have signed the aging boxer if this happened?)
In an effort to mix things up around here and to give you something more to do on Fridays than hide from your boss and play solitaire, we’re going to start running a weekly “What if…” Photoshop feature series to make you contemplate a bit. The theme is simple: What could the results have been if facets of the history of the sport happened differently than they did.
If you have an idea or a ‘shop you want to submit to be featured on Friday, send it to email@example.com.
(So if Vitor is Tyson and Anderson is Ali, who’s Don King?)
Yeah, we know "Iron" Mike and the boxing legend formerly known as Cassius Clay never fought, and we aren’t saying that Vitor and Anderson are anywhere near their level as boxers, but when you break down the pugilistic styles and look at some of the past fights of Belfort and Silva, it’s remarkable how similar they look to their boxing counterparts.
Whenever fans and pundits talk of the imminent match-up between Belfort and Silva, most give the boxing edge to Vitor based on the fact that he has professional boxing experience. The truth is, he really only fought once as a professional, but his win was so impressive it makes people forget that.
(Video courtesy YouTube NightcrawlerMMA)
Contrary to popular belief though, Belfort isn’t the only one of the two who has boxed professionally.
Silva, who like Andrei Arlovski and Georges St-Pierre, has spent some time with Freddie Roach honing his boxing chops, holds a 1-1 professional boxing record, meaning he actually has twice the experience of "The Phenom," yet he’s still rarely given the edge in the boxing department by analysts.
It looks like Vitor Belfort has one-upped Anderson Silva’s secret training weapon.
If you recall, prior to his UFC 117 bout with Chael Sonnen, the longtime UFC middleweight champion spent some time with 7th-dan Aikido black belt Steven Seagal to learn slap blocks, wrist locks and throat strikes — none of which helped him from being dumped on his ass and pounded on for the majority of five rounds by the testosterone deficient Republican.
After trying in vain to secure Ralph Macchio to help him prepare for his upcoming UFC 126 bout with Silva, Belfort had to settle for the next best thing: Mike Tyson.
I remember watching Mike Tyson calling out Bob Sapp (*Editor’s note: How the hell is Bob Sapp only 35?) after "The Beast" beat Kimo Leopoldo at K-1 World Grand Prix event in Las Vegas in 2003 and thinking, "Man, I wish Tyson would fight somebody good in MMA."
Well, it turns out that in 2003 "Iron" Mike had a contract with PRIDE and was supposed to fight two of the Japanese promotion’s best heavyweights: Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Fedor Emelianenko.
The bouts never came to fruition for several different reasons, but if they had, Dana White likely wouldn’t have had any interest in bringing James Toney into the UFC to solve the, "Who would win between a boxer and a mixed martial artist?" question.
Imagine how differently each man’s career would have turned out if Tyson had knocked Emelianenko and Filipovic out in the 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Sure, we tune in for the fights at the end of each episode, the trash-talk between the coaches, and Dana White occasionally showing up to kick somebody’s ass out of the house. But over 12 seasons of The Ultimate Fighter, it’s the peripheral characters that are responsible for the show’s best moments. Take this season, for example — would it be nearly as interesting if Coach GSP didn’t bring in a special guest every week to shake up his team? With that in mind, here’s our tribute to the under-appreciated minor players that have kept TUF on its toes for the last six years…
In an effort to inject some eye candy into their new reality show, the UFC cast model/singer/actress Willa Ford as the host of The Ultimate Fighter‘s first season. (Her main duty was to introduce those weird elimination challenges that marked the show’s early days.) Willa was gone by season two, leaving us with fond memories of a time when TUF‘s non-stop sweaty dudeness was occasionally broken up by a pretty face.
(The beginning of the Johnson/Wilkinson battle from last night. You can watch the rest here. Props: SignofBelief)
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres may have impressed us in last week’s fight, but he’s making no friends in the house by bragging about his victory non-stop. While hanging out with the defeated Jeff Lentz, he says that Jeff may have been "underesterating my talents and skills," and claims that every head kick bounced off his afro. Lentz manages to avoid strangling the bastard, but the other TUF guys are quickly losing patience.
GSP brings in wrestling world champion Guivi "Gia" Sissaouri, to work with his squad. Homeboy is sick on the mat. It’s a great little master-class for the guys, but Georges has another visitor coming in later that will make Gia look like small potatoes. (Hint: Face tattoos, tigers.)
Down 0-1, Koscheck is playing catch-up. His fighters already seem to be breaking down, physically and emotionally, so Kos makes it clear that they need to toughen up and quit ass-dragging in practice. Training seems to improve after that.
It’s fight announcement time, and since Team GSP won last week, they retain control of the picks. St. Pierre selects Michael Johnson (his craftily-obtained #1 draft pick) against Aaron Wilkinson (Koscheck’s #6 pick??). GSP is obviously looking to take Koscheck’s heart with a brutal victory, but is it a wise strategy to waste your ace on the other team’s weakest link? (Keep in mind that Jeff Lentz was Team Koscheck’s #7 pick.) Still, a badass wrestler vs. a British guy. This seems gift-wrapped for the red team.
In this edition, White hangs out with former multiple time world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson and the conversation inevitably turns to the Randy Couture-James Toney bout set for Saturday night in Boston at UFC 118.
Tyson calls the bout intriguing, but seems to be leaning towards Couture as the favorite. The most interesting comments made by Iron Mike in the video were regarding Toney’s personality. "Toney’s a crazy guy. He’s a really dark kind of crazy guy…. ha…ha..ha..ha..ha!!"
When Mike Tyson calls you dark and crazy, it might be time to re-examine things.
(Eat up Mr. Feathers. I chewed up these worms and grubs special for you.)
From the time he first began knocking out anyone who was foolish enough to stare across a boxing ring at him, Mike Tyson has been one of the most polarizing fighters in professional sports.
From his highly publicized problematic personal life that included a stint in prison for a rape he still contends never took place to his falling out with promoter Don King and his business managers who he says all robbed him blind, Tyson walked a thin, yet precarious line of contradiction between the seemingly invincible, cold, calculated killer in the ring and the frail, emotional and mental midget outside of it. If you were a fan of boxing in the 90s, you were more than likely a fan of Tyson. Pound for pound, many feel he was the best fighter who ever competed. He was the "Anderson Silva" or the "Fedor Emelianenko" of boxing long before either fighter ever competed in a cage or ring. In recent years, the former champ who was purportedly once worth more than $300 million has suffered a lifetime’s worth of tragedy and tribulation, claiming bankruptcy in 2003 and tragically losing his four-year-old daughter in 2009.
I know, I know, this isn’t MMA-related, but there’s something so surreal about seeing a man who was once the most dangerous fighter in the world sipping chamomile and honey at a tea party, that I figured you guys would let it slide just this once.
Mike Tyson sat down with The Daily Line’s Reese Waters for a one-on-one interview that spanned a variety of topics from his torrid relationship with cannolis to selling duplicate wedding gifts at pawn shops.