Boxing

James Toney Fighting Former UFC & WWE Champion In MMA Return

I guess James Toney enjoyed being humiliated in front of an MMA audience by 47-year old fighters. Toney has signed to fight former UFC Superfight champion Ken Shamrock in what has to be the biggest farce since…Toney’s last fight.

BJPenn.com reported on Thursday that the two former champions have signed to face off in an MMA bout on September 23. No place or promotion has been attached to the fight according to reports. To make this one an even bigger freak show, Toney’s reps told MMAFighting.com that a reality TV show is also on the table as part of the fight package.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for the good MMA fans of Texas, but according to reports Texas is closest to getting the fight. This news comes less than a week after the MMA community in Dallas had to sit through one of the worst big time MMA main-events in history last Saturday when Fabricio Werdum tried to turn his fight with Alistair Overeem into an Abu-Dhabi exhibition.

On the one hand I am very surprised that Toney would have any desire fight again in MMA. He was completely embarrassed against Randy Couture at UFC 118. He was taken down with a novice move by the former UFC champion within the first 20 seconds of the fight. Couture proceeded to smother him with ground and pound and while it looked like he could have ended the fight immediately, Captain America appeared to have a little fun and continue the fight at Toney’s expense. Once Couture finished giving Toney his lesson, he locked on an arm triangle and forced the rotund pro boxer to tap out.

On the other hand I remember Toney talking after the fight about wanting to compete in the UFC again. UFC president Dana White immediately dismissed that idea and had no interest in moving forward with Toney in the UFC. For whatever reason, Toney seems to have some weird fascination with MMA. Although he reportedly was paid $500,000 (plus a hefty bonus) for his fight with Couture, Toney doesn’t have a prayer of seeing those kinds of numbers ever again in MMA.

Toney talked a ton of trash going into the fight and to his credit, turned what most coined as a joke fight into a must-see event with his pro wrestling style promos. However, the height of Toney’s arrogance before the fight came at  Toney’s open UFC 118 workouts. The former boxing champion showed off his best boxing techniques but never once showed any MMA techniques. He obviously didn’t take the fight very seriously at all and came into the octagon in pretty rough shape. Ironically, Toney’s reps claim that he hasn’t done much MMA training since.

Then there is Ken Shamrock. The former pro wrestler, turned shoot fighter, turned MMA fighter, turned back to pro wrestler, turned back to MMA fighter, and now turned joke. Sadly, Shamrock has held on to what was once a respectable MMA career and continues fighting ten years past his prime. Shamrock’s record since 2001 is 4-9, his last eight losses coming from TKO or straight knockouts. And it isn’t as if Shamrock has been losing to elite competition. One of Shamrock’s losses recently made my top twenty biggest MMA upsets list. At this point any wins for Shamrock would be considered an upset.

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Jeremy Botter of Heavy.com summarized Ken Shamrock’s current MMA career the way most see it. “Ken Shamrock used to be the baddest man on the planet. In the early days of mixed martial arts, it was tough to find anybody who inspired more fear than Shamrock. His muscled and ripped frame…his intensity was unequaled in the sport at the time, and his bag of submissions made him a very real threat to any opponent he faced during those early years. But those early years were a long time ago, and Shamrock is no longer even a shell of the man he once was.

The UFC Hall of Fame fighter has probably done more to damage his name and credibility outside of the action in recent years. Shamrock sued the UFC for releasing him from his contract. Not only did he lose, but he had to pay back $175,000 in legal fees to Zuffa, LLC. Yet the biggest black mark against Shamrock came when he admitted to using steroids. What made it worse was when he blamed it on the fans. “When they find out about it, they want to stick their heads in the sand,” Shamrock said. “No one wants to take responsibility, but everyone wants to see.

I can’t imagine any MMA fan casual or hardcore even the least bit interested in paying to watch this fight. Maybe if Toney had never fought before, he and Shamrock could cut strong enough promos to make it work. However, MMA fans aren’t stupid and quite honestly, it is an insult to the sport to take a dime from any fan that pays to watch this live or on pay per view.

Although if I get to see weekly James Toney promos and shenanigans on a reality show leading into the fight, I would tune in every week.


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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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