Well you can’t say James Toney doesn’t know how to generate hype. Here’s a press release from Inside MMA:
Tonight on HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” one of UFC’s newest fighters, former heavyweight boxing champion James “Lights Out” Toney, who scored a major victory in 2003 overEvander Holyfield, tells Kenny and Bas he wants to fight Brock Lesnar. “I want Brock Lesnar,” says Toney. “I’m the heavyweight champion of the world vs. the UFC champion. That’d be a hell of a match … I’ll fight anybody you got.”
This week, renowned boxing trainer Freddie Roach enters Kruck’s Korner to talk about working with BJ Penn, Anderson Silva and other MMA fighters. Freddie also tells Ron which boxer he believes would make the best mixed martial artist.
Speaking of Freddie Roach, he had some comments yesterday on Toney in the UFC:
Crave Online: What do you think of MMA?
Freddie Roach: I had two guys fight last night. They had 5 MMA fights and 5 boxing matches each, so I’m around the fighters a lot. I like the standing part of it better. Two guys on the ground doesn’t appeal to me but I understand there’s a science to it. I’ve had a few fighters: Andre Arlovski, BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, Tito Ortiz and I work with those guys occasionally. They all have talent.
Crave Online: What do you think of James Toney in MMA (he just signed with UFC)?
Freddie Roach: I think they’re using James as a way to say MMA fighters are better than boxers. If he fights a quality ground guy, once he goes to the ground he’s gonna get killed. But If a guy chooses to stand up with James, James is gonna destroy him. That’s why they call him “Lights Out”. I really don’t think there’s one fighter in MMA that could stand with James.
To which Zak Woods replied:
The UFC using an out shape, over-the-hill fighter for their own gain? That will never happen…
Look, the UFC still doesn’t even know what to do with James Toney an the more WKR thinks about the situation, the more likely it seems that Zuffa signed Toney as they didn’t want to see him in Strikeforce. Why else would there be so much uncertainty from the UFC on what to do with James? To quote The Hunt for Red October “People from Zuffa don’t take a dump, son, without a plan” (we changed a word, guess which one?). But in this instance there doesn’t seem to be much of a prepared plan other than having Toney signed to a non-exclusive contract.
Perhaps the UFC was hoping to use Toney on the reported counter of Strikeforce this April but as there hasn’t been any mainstream press regarding the Toney signing –like there was with Herschel Walker– it is plausible that the UFC is unsure about pulling the trigger and would rather bluff about the March card in an attempt to get Strikeforce to switch dates.
I completely agree with Zak. I think it is clear that the UFC signed Toney after seeing the kind of attention Strikeforce got from the Herschel Walker fight and wanted to head a Walker vs Toney freak show fight off at the pass.
A James Toney vs Brock Lesnar match is a pretty laughable proposition, but if Toney were to surprise everyone by reeling off a couple of decent wins in the UFC, I think that hype would be impossible for anyone involved to resist.
We’ll see if it ends up being a win or a black eye for the UFC and MMA.
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