(Please princess, let me up!! photo credit: USA Today)
It appears that the James Toney experiment has gone the way of the Kimbo Slice experiment, as UFC president Dana White announced at the UFC 118 post-fight press conference that the promotion is done with boxer crossover fights.
"It’s been a fun ride with James," White said as if delivering a eulogy about Toney’s dead UFC career. "It’s been very interesting. He’s a nutty guy."
White pointed out that he didn’t go out looking for the fight, but when it came knocking on his door, he figured, "Why not?"
"Listen, I didn’t try to sell this thing as, ‘Tune in on Saturday night, and you’re going to see the most spectacular battle and a war…I basically said what I was hoping would happen. Anything can happen in a fight. James Toney picked this fight. We’re not after boxing," White explained. "We’re not trying to attack boxing. I love boxing, and I thought this question was answered back in 1993, but I’ve got to be honest, as we got closer to the fight, my stomach hurt, and I was a little dizzy and I was nervous."
White also dismissed the claims that the fight proved which form of fighting was the superior one.
"A mixed martial artist stepped in there against a boxer, but at the end of the day, it’s a fight and anything can happen in a fight. Couture came out and won and Toney lasted longer than I thought he would, actually. It’s unfair to bring a guy in with one discipline, no matter if he’s trained for eight or nine months," he said. "I wasn’t the guy going out and trying to badmouth boxing and take boxing down and hurt the sport of boxing. James Toney picked a fight, and he got one."
When asked if Toney was one and done in the Octagon, White answered with an emphatic "Yes."
"He’s the IBA and the NABO heavyweight champion. He’s a boxer and that’s what he does. He wanted a fight in the UFC. He picked a fight with our guys and we fought tonight. Listen, he’s a tough guy and he’s been around for a long time. I have a lot of respect for James Toney," White said. "When you come in with one discipline, you can’t expect a guy to come in and have great ground work and all this stuff. You know what? He stepped up. He wanted to do it, and he did it. When this thing started, fans wanted to see it, so I made the fight. No disrespect to boxing and not trying to hurt anyone. He picked a fight and he got one."
"James came out and he was hoping Randy was going to stand up longer then he did. He hung in there. He’s a tough guy. He was on his back for a while. He took some shots from Couture. Couture was trying to arm-triangle him early.
He hung in there longer than I thought he would. I’m sure he was as prepared as he could be," White pointed out. "Anybody that knows James Toney over the past few years knows that James isn’t the most physically fit boxer on the planet, but let me tell you what, when I signed him that day in my office, he’s lost a lot of weight since that day. He took it seriously; he went out there and he gave it a shot."
In other news from the presser, White reiterated his statement that Gray Maynard is next in line for a shot at Frankie Edgar‘s lightweight strap. When asked who he wanted to fight next, Nate Diaz said he wants Maynard again, to which Dana replied with a "WTF?" look on his face, "Uh, that’s not going to happen. We’re not doing that to Gray again," he explained, referring to the delay in Maynard’s title shot he was promised before his lacklustre win over Diaz in January made the UFC reconsider, giving Edgar the shot instead.
White opened the presser by announcing that Zuffa will be opening an office in Asia which will be helmed by the former Senior Vice President and Managing Director of NBA Asia, Mark Fisher. Not only will the new office help the WEC and UFC to enter into the lagging Asian MMA market, White says it will also increase television viewership from five hundred milion to one billion homes worldwide.
Since there were no knockouts or TKOs, nobody was awarded Knockout of the Night honors.
This was the UFC’s first show in Massachusetts since state legislators approved MMA in 2009 and by all reports it was a successful debut.
The event generated a $3-million live gate and drew 15,575 attendees, according to White, who released the figures last night.