|Randy Couture submits James Toney: What did you expect?
By Matthew DeGonzaque (Sept 17, 2010)
It may probably go down as the most talked about Mixed Martial Arts fight of the year. Boxer James Toney entered the UFC cage to take on former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture in a mixed martial arts rules bout. This was it, after years of back and forth trash talk between fans of both sports, two fighters were finally going to bring their styles to one another and see who comes out on top.
Toney portrayed himself as boxing's defender, needing to squash boxing to protect boxing's integrity. In reality, Toney
is a fighter with no big money options in boxing so he has turned to MMA for a paycheck.
Needing a big payday, Toney started showing up at UFC events calling out Dana White and the top fighters, claiming the UFC wouldn't sign him because he would defeat all of their top fighters. In April, Toney's PR work paid off and he was signed to a six figure UFC contract. Couture, one of the fighters Toney called out, said he was willing to be Toney's welcoming party to the Octagon. And why not? Couture, like many others, knew what was about to happen.
Toney promoted himself well heading into the fight and downplayed Couture's abilities. Toney bragged about his 83 professional boxing fights, 72 of them victories and 44 by knockout. Couture on the other hand, Toney proclaimed, has only 28 mixed martial arts fight and sports average record of 18-10. He said no way someone with Couture's record could stand up to his boxing skills.
As for his criticism of Couture's record, well Randy Couture has always had the most deceptive professional record in all of MMA. Of Couture's 28 MMA fights, 15 of them had a UFC championship on the line. Couture rarely looks for easy fights and is always looking for new and big challenges. He turned professional at 36 years old after spending his post college life as a wrestling coach trying to make the Olympic team. The man is a consummate professional who has victories over Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Vitor Belfort, Pedro Rizzo, Tim Sylvia, Jeremy Horn, Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera.
So now the fight was on. People were finally going to find out if Toney could stand a chance in the Octagon or if a MMA fighter could defeat a notable boxer.
Couture destroyed Toney. The fight started and Couture immediately took Toney down, taking away Toney's only advantage in the fight. Toney showed no defense off his back, leading Couture to quickly take the mount. From there it was a foregone conclusion, how long would Couture wait to finish Toney off? Couture immediately began raining down the punches to Toney's face while Toney tried helplessly to cover up off his back. Couture quickly put Toney in a head and arm triangle choke hold and Toney tapped out. Couture wins by submission at 3:19 into the first round. Randy's record is now 19-10.
Did anyone really expect anything different? This was never going to be some amazing war for the ages. It was never going to be meshed together version of Griffin-Bonnar and Gatti-Ward. Despite Toney's talk and his impressive boxing history, this was a mismatch from the beginning. To succeed in MMA you cannot survive on just boxing, no matter how great you are at it. That’s why it’s called Mixed Martial Arts because you need more than one discipline to survive. Couture is a mixed martial artist. He trains wrestling, jiu jitsu, boxing and Muay Thai. He had more ways to win than Toney and in a fight, the guy with more ways to win is usually going to win.
Boxing fans have typically said “Well if Toney was boxing then he would've KO'd Couture”. Toney COULD box in this fight. The problem was that Couture didn't allow him to. He forced him to fight on the ground, where Toney had no idea what he was doing and was easy prey at that point, especially for a fighter the caliber of Couture. He came to the fight looking to box, it was his only way to win and Couture took it away from him leaving Toney with nothing to do. In essence, Toney brought a knife to a gunfight while Couture brought a .367 magnum, an M-16 machine gun and a bazooka.
I hope Couture-Toney is the last of these 'MMA versus Boxing' fights. In the end they prove nothing, James Toney the boxer lost to Randy Couture the mixed martial artist in a mixed martial arts fight. Big surprise. Just like it wouldn't be surprising to see James Toney the boxer defeat Randy Couture the mixed martial artist in a boxing fight. Couture has even admitted so himself.
MMA and boxing are two different sports that have nothing to do with one another and shouldn't be compared. The only reason they are compared is by over zealous pundits and fans on both sides. The sports are best kept separate. The only reason this fight happened is because Toney was desperate for a payday and knew he could talk his way into this fight, while the UFC knew they could make a lot of money promoting the fight.
But in the end, the fight proved nothing. Instead they just continue a pointless argument that can't be won. If basketball and baseball fans can enjoy their sports without demanding that the Lakers take on the Dodgers to prove whose sport is superior, then why can't MMA and boxing? It takes away from the meaningful fights especially when guys like Couture and Toney only have so much time left anyway. It's a waste.
Fight fans can enjoy both sports knowing that they are both unique and interesting without having to get into arguments over which fighter would beat which in what rules.
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