When the UFC signed 41-year-old boxing legend James Toney to a multi-fight contract earlier this month, MMA purists wondered what company president Dana White was thinking after previously bashing rival organizations for making similar “circus act” moves.
“We sat down in my office and he said, ‘I’m a proud guy, and I wouldn’t do anything to embarrass myself,'” White said at Wednesday’s UFC 111: St-Pierre vs. Hardy” pre-fight press conference.
Immediately after inking Toney, White justified his move by running down Toney’s extensive resume.
“Lights Out” owns a dominant 72-6 professional boxing record, including 3 draws and 2 no contests. The IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight titles have all been wrapped around Toney’s waist at one point during his illustrious career.
However, less than four weeks after their controversial signing, it appears White is having reservations about allowing the heavy-handed striker into his Octagon.
“To be honest, I don’t know why I did it,” White told the Radio City Music Hall crowd. “But we did it. I did this deal, and now I have to figure out what to do with him.”
Any time a boxer wants to dabble in the world’s most popular combat sport, haters automatically attack their lack of wrestling experience, then their inability to throw or defend kicks, BJJ, clinching, and all the other wonderful things MMA scraps provide that boxing matches can’t. All issues Toney has appeared to willingly accept head-on.
Plenty of names have offered to roll out the MMA welcome wagon for Toney, including UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.