UFC Signs Retired Boxer James Toney To Multi-Fight Contract

james toney ufc

The UFC has signed 41 year old James “Lights Out” Toney to a multi-fight contract. The news comes with sharp criticism from fans and media, who think the UFC is taking that lower road, by putting on “Freak Shows”.

Toney has been very vocal in the media about wanting to join the UFC and has even gone so far as to hijack Dana White interviews at press events.

The backlash has prompted UFC President Dana White to defend the decision:

“To be 100 percent honest with you, all [expletive] aside, I haven’t thought it out. I like James Toney. He’s one of the greatest boxers ever. I have tremendous respect for him. He said he wanted to fight in the UFC and I was interested. Now he’s here and I have to figure out what to do with him. What we won’t do is make a freak show out of it. I’d be the first to scream if someone else did that, so I’m not going to do it. Hey, I don’t want this to be seen as a joke, and it’s not like Herschel Walker or Canseco or any of those guys. James Toney is a fighter. The worst thing anyone can ever say to me is that they were watching one of my fights and they changed the channel. That’s why I’ll never put [expletive] fights on. James is an interesting case. We know how much talent he has as a boxer and he insists he’ll surprise people by how much MMA he knows. I’ve still got some thinking to do … James came to me and he literally chased me around the country to do it, so I’m giving him the chance. We’ll get it figured out one way or another.” [Yahoo]

And if you though signing Toney is a joke, guess who is training him? Quinton Rampage Jackson’s former trainer and confidant Janito Ibarra:

“We have been working on stretching, sprawling and movement, all the things he will need to get a handle on. [Sherdog]”

It sure will be interesting to see how this pans out.


  1. corey

    March 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    just don't put him against a ground guy and he should do pretty well.

  2. CobraClutch

    March 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    With both Toney and Kimbo now in the UFC, it does seem to be a little freak-show-like. And if you remember my posts (probably not, I don't blame you, haha), I'm ALWAYS the first to jump to Dana's defense on most things, and almost always give him the benefit of the doubt. But I do that out of fairness, or what I perceive to be fairness of a particular situation.

    So, to be fair, I'm going to call Dana out on what is apparently a freak-show. You can't make fun of Herschel Walker, who legitimately learned some MMA, loved the sport, and wanted to compete. He did pretty well in his first MMA fight, all things considered. I don't think you can call a professional athlete like Herschel wanting to get into MMA a "freakshow" when you praised a few fighters from your TUF10 class as "ex-nfl players," like you were proud of it at the time.

    Just saying what's fair is fair, and if Kimbo and Toney aren't freak-shows, then neither is Herschel wanting to compete and give it a shot.

    Dana also doesn't want women fighters in the UFC, but there are some REALLY talented women fighters in MMA. I don't think anyone can call Cyborg or Gina Carrano "freak shows." They're both legit fighters, and Cyborg can probably kick some guys' asses, too!

    Just had to get that out. hahaha. :)

  3. Nichole Lesniak

    March 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    That's what I don't get. Dana rips on Strikeforce for signing Walker, and then he signs Toney? Huh?? Who's Dana gonna sign next, Canseco?


    March 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

    you think this might be a poke at Mayweather and Jones and other boxers? or just another publicity stunt just to get us to watch

  5. ron shaw

    March 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    first off i think walker is a legit mma fighter. not a title contender but a legit practitioner of the sport. conseco is a joke as always.

    toney was an elite boxer and you can't compare him with walker and conseco who's sports don't correspond at all. all you can compare toney to is ray mercer who had no ground game but ko'd tim sylvia in a few seconds. lets see this guy fight and see if he's legit.

    my money is on toney if he fights kimbo first.

  6. Ken

    March 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

    First off signing James Toney to a contract is not going to turn the UFC into a "freak show". He's not an internet celebrity or an athlete from a sport with no connection like the NFL or MLB. This is a former world class boxer. How many former world class amateur wrestlers are in the UFC and MMA….It's the same thing. And for Dana White it's a win win situation. If the over 40 James Toney is successful he will bring in revenue maybe even from some of those hardcore boxing fans that dislike MMA and if he is unsuccessful then Dana can rub it in the faces of the boxing community. I know it's not going to end the "whose tougher" dispute between boxers and MMA fighters but that wont stop Dana from rubbing it in.

  7. CobraClutch

    March 5, 2010 at 7:19 am

    Ken check out the new post from Jim Rome's show. Rome breaks is down perfectly. They are two different sports. You put a boxer in the cage, and they won't have a winning record. Same with trying to put the best MMA stand-up guy in boxing. It looks the same (two people fighting), but it's not the same.

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