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Toney-Couture fight shows UFC's rise, boxing's fall

The fight between James Toney and Randy Couture was built up to be two locomotives from two different sports settling a long-debated topic: Which sport has the superior athletes, MMA or boxing?

How fitting that champions of both sports met in the octagon in Boston Saturday night to set the record straight. Both men are in the twilight of their careers but one thing was for certain: These men understood what was at stake -- bragging rights! Let's just say that if James "Lights Out" Toney was the best that the WBO, WBA, or any other boxing sanctioned bodies had to offer to represent a storied sport, he did boxing a great disservice. Toney's physical appearance showed that he did not take training and his diet seriously for this fight.

So the brilliance of Dana White (the UFC president) came shinning through in this match up. Couture is the complete opposite of the very outspoken Toney. He comes across as a humble, soft-spoken person who respects sports and competition. So much so that he trains harder than anyone in Mixed Martial Arts. If you did not know that Dana White knew that Couture's positive appeal to all audiences vs. Toney's villain-like persona, created a classic battle of good vs. evil then you are fooling yourself.

So when the legend from MMA slayed the dragon from boxing, it instantly sent a clear message out to the world: Mixed Martial Arts, and specifically the UFC, cannot and will not continue to be looked at as second to boxing.

Couture choked Toney's lights out -- yes, pun intended -- a decisive first round submission for Couture and White's UFC. While boxing enthusiasts will argue that Toney was never truly an elite boxer, even with all of the belts he has won over the years, and that a MMA fighter would never be able to out-class a true boxer, it may be time for the sport to concern itself with the growing competition between boxing and MMA. What type of long-term effect will there be if the curiosity of over-confident boxers continues to lead them into an unfamiliar environment like the octagon.

What were your thoughts on the fight?

By LaVar Arrington  |  August 29, 2010; 5:27 PM ET
 
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Comments

Put Ray Lewis in the MMA octagon and that league is over with.

Posted by: eternale5150 | August 29, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Toney would annihilate Couture in a boxing match, just as Randy did him in last night. Hardly shocking that people from different sports can't step in and beat guys who've trained that way there whole lives.

The idea that one is superior to the other is just a way for Dana White to sell PPVs, the reality is they are completely different sports.

Posted by: divi3 | August 29, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

you mean Ray "The Slasher" Lewis.

Posted by: jfwil | August 29, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

you mean Ray "The Slasher" Lewis.
might as well put Donte "Manslaughter" Stallworth in there as well.

Posted by: jfwil | August 29, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Ray Lewis is just one example. There are 100 guys in the NFL that would destroy the best UFC fighter. Let's see them take down Haynesworth. Haynesworth would pick them up and crush them against the side of the cage like a bug. Also, Steve Smith on the Panthers would ball in MMA.

Posted by: eternale5150 | August 29, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

All this fight did was create a bigger gap in the argument. This proved that in a MMA fight that an MMA fighter is better. If this fight happened with boxing rules than Toney would have won no doubt. There will never be a solution to this. It's like trying to put a football player in a hockey rink to see who's the better athlete. You're taking one fighter out of his element and into another.

Posted by: mitchdisaster | August 29, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Most of these comments aren't sensible. MMA fighters have an elite set of skills. No, a football player could not step in the cage and defeat an elite Mixed Martial Artist. There are several that have tried. James Toney wanted to challenge himself and he got his butt kicked. There are few mixed martial artists that could step in a boxing ring and defeat an elite boxer, but that's only one aspect of their training. There is a lot more to it than just going in the cage and throwing punches. If you don't know how to take someone down, or how to prevent someone from taking you down, or if you don't know how to fight off of your back, you will get destroyed. Stop thinking that because someone has muscles or is a good athlete, that they can fight. Mixed Martial Arts is NOT street fighting.

Posted by: rwgreen61 | August 29, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Ray Lewis would destroy a MMA fighter in a fight? What are you smoking? Even Ray and all his arrogance would tell you he doesn't stand a chance. Shaq says they are the baddest dudes on the planet. A ton of athletes from different sports are now training with MMA fighters.

As for what this proved, to me, not much. Toney, Mayweather and other boxers have said that they could get in the cage and beat a MMA fighter at their own game. Well, Toney lost and lost bad. I'd love for Mayweather to step in. I'd love for Fat Albert to step in. If he can't play 3 snaps in a row without getting carted off the field, how can he last 5, 5 minute rounds?

Boxing and MMA are totally different. I enjoy boxing but I also enjoy MMA. There's a place for both, but boxing won't leave it alone and what happened Saturday night is what would happen every time in the cage. Just like if they stepped in a ring the boxer would win every time.

Posted by: themightyzep2000 | August 30, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I would love to watch fat Albert get choked out. Especially by one of the little guys in MMA. Although I am curious when Michael Westbrook will make it big and win the workd championship.

Posted by: MrDumberton | August 30, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

This fight did nothing for either sport. For as far and as popular that MMA has come, it will NEVER eclipse boxing. Boxing's history ensures that, too many great fighters, many epic battles.What MMA matchup would even closely generate the buzz, water cooler talk and PPV that a Mayweather/Pacqiauo(sp)fight would? None.In reality this fight may have done more harm for MMA than good, did it really need to resort proving what sport is better by giving us a WAAAAAY past his prime, grossly out of shape boxer. This proved nothing at all. Until MMA starts having the best fighters, regardless of affiliation, fight each other, it will forever remain in boxing's rearview.

Posted by: fells_mc | August 30, 2010 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Boxing has suffered from the greed of the promoters and the multiple sanctioning organizations over the last 20 years. MMA is exciting and the athletes are world class but no MMA fighter will ever be remembered like the true boxing champs from the days of a single belt like Ali, Duran, Hagler, Robinson, Leonard etc. Most NFL players would not last a round with the MMA trained fighters. Large lineman would simply buckle under leg attacks and once on the ground, would be close to defenseless. But send an MMA fighter across the middle on a slant route and Ray Lewis would kill them. To each his own.

Posted by: loanphd | August 30, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

"There are few mixed martial artists that could step in a boxing ring and defeat an elite boxer, but that's only one aspect of their training."

Actualy there isnt a single mma fighter in the entire sport that could do that. All the elite mma fighters do some training with high-level boxers, and if there was a chance in Hell that any of them could step in with Mayweather or MannyPaq and earn $20,000,000 you can guarantee they'd be on it like white on rice.

But they know they'd get knocked out within a round or two. MMA and boxing are completely different disciplines, and mma fighters are actually rather lousy boxers in almost every instance.

Posted by: divi3 | August 30, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Lavar shows he knows little to nothing about sports other than football. What a ridiculous article, comparing apples to oranges. anybody with any sense knew this "match" was a joke to begin with. Put those 2 in a boxing match and couture would likely suffer the same fate. But MMA's promoters are too smart to do that because it would show how unskilled the MMA fighters really are.

Posted by: shanks1 | August 30, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

James Toney only embarrased himself not Boxing. All you saw was an amateur MMA Fighter getting schooled by a seasoned pro. I love Boxing and I also have enjoyed looking at MMA. I don't know why people keep acting like you either have to love one or the other and not both. Get tired of hearing haters on both sides talk nonsense. The people on here writing about Football guys beating MMA guys in MMA fights don't need to comment on anything they know nothing about. I'm sure there's a Fantasy Football draft or something for you to work on.

Posted by: moseley_brian | August 30, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

This is, and will always be a pointless argument. Its like comparing basketball to football just because its a team sport with a ball. Boxers are not accustomed to be grabbed and taken down. MMA fighters would struggle to bob and weave on their feet for 12 rounds. You notice it has never been the other way around? No MMA fighter is jumping in the ring to box. And there has never been a non-retired boxer jumping in the octagon.

Posted by: cnewso01 | August 30, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I am so GLAD he made Toney tap. This guy disrespected MMA in general and 'The Natural' in particular. He was in poor shape and was a poor representative of the 'boxer to MMA' trend.

I only wish it was Lesnar instead; he would have prolonged his suffering and made him quit in his corner, afraid to come off the stool

Posted by: kahlua87 | August 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

might as well put Donte "Manslaughter" Stallworth in there as well.
=================================

You mean the guy who was driving 50 MPH in a 40 MPH zone, slightly under the influence (.12), when the victim ran out in front of his car? The guy who according to Yahoo sports "could have fought all charges with an excellent chance of being found innocent" but sought to be tried for a felony in order to do what he felt was morally right, because he felt the situation was enough of his own fault and he didn't feel the victim's family needed to relive the entire tragedy in court.

On the one hand, it's easy to sit at your computer and judge, but it's clear Stallworth is not a bad apple, just had bad luck. And on the other hand, you're an idiot.

Posted by: jksesq1 | August 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Of course NFL players would dominate the MMA. They are the best, most prolific athletes on the planet and they are in their prime. Some of these guys have athleticism that is unmatched in any sport. MMA is guys that didn't make the NFL. Ray Lewis would literally murder anybody in UFC. He would be bigger, faster, stronger, and would get straight primal in the octagon.

Posted by: eternale5150 | August 30, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Lavar shows he knows little to nothing about sports other than football. What a ridiculous article, comparing apples to oranges. anybody with any sense knew this "match" was a joke to begin with. Put those 2 in a boxing match and couture would likely suffer the same fate. But MMA's promoters are too smart to do that because it would show how unskilled the MMA fighters really are.

Posted by: shanks1
---------------
Great post shanks. Couture even admitted that he stood no chance in a boxing ring against Couture.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | August 30, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Put Peyton Manning or Chad Johnson or Darrelle Revis playing SS in baseball and trying to hit a 100mph fast ball or 92mph curve and we'll all realize the enire sport of FOOTBALL is over!!!

Posted by: vmrg1974 | August 30, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Boxing and MMA are to different sports, most fighters from each know that and are not dumb enough to really think they would stand much chance in the other... James Toney simply is one of the dumb ones.

Posted by: soriphius | August 30, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

shinning

Posted by: goose33 | August 30, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Any MMA fighter would pwn in an eating contest with Joey Chestnut. Also, any MMA fighter would pwn on a racetrack and win the Kentucky Derby.

Posted by: playahatah | August 30, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"You mean the guy who was driving 50 MPH in a 40 MPH zone, slightly under the influence (.12), when the victim ran out in front of his car? The guy who according to Yahoo sports "could have fought all charges with an excellent chance of being found innocent" but sought to be tried for a felony in order to do what he felt was morally right, because he felt the situation was enough of his own fault and he didn't feel the victim's family needed to relive the entire tragedy in court.

On the one hand, it's easy to sit at your computer and judge, but it's clear Stallworth is not a bad apple, just had bad luck. And on the other hand, you're an idiot."

----------------------------------------

LOL, yeah, he's a regular Saint. .12 is not "slightly under the influence." It's 50% higher than the legal limit. I'm not saying he's in the same category as Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis or even Leonard Little but please don't try to downplay the fact that he got drunk, drove over the speed limit and killed a man. It's noble that he decided to "pay his debt to society" by spending a whole 24 days in jail but you have to wonder how noble he would have been if the plea had been measured in years and not days.

Posted by: ouvan59 | August 30, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

To add to my earlier comment. If you placed a world class Olympic sprinter in the NFL and made him a returner or receiver chances are he would also fail due to the fact that Football and Sprinting are two different sports. Sure being able to run fast is a skill set that most if not all sprinters should have but they need a lot more than that to be successful. Which is not to say that the sport of sprinting requires less skills to be succesfull. It's just a more specialized sport than Football.

Same thing with Boxing and MMA. To be succesful in MMA you need more than one fighting style. You don't have to be the greatest at all of them just competant enough.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | August 30, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

You mean the guy who was driving 50 MPH in a 40 MPH zone, slightly under the influence (.12), when the victim ran out in front of his car? The guy who according to Yahoo sports "could have fought all charges with an excellent chance of being found innocent" but sought to be tried for a felony in order to do what he felt was morally right, because he felt the situation was enough of his own fault and he didn't feel the victim's family needed to relive the entire tragedy in court.

On the one hand, it's easy to sit at your computer and judge, but it's clear Stallworth is not a bad apple, just had bad luck. And on the other hand, you're an idiot.

Posted by: jksesq1 | August 30, 2010 11:35 AM
.............................


hahaha...seriously?! he should have had you as his lawyer. "My honor....da man were just a little drunk...and he barely killed da guy."

yeah, I'm the idiot.

Posted by: jfwil | August 30, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Lavar-

There is no such thing as "boxing vs. MMA." Boxing is a martial art and is one of the many in mixed martial arts. Toney only brought one tool to the octagon. In modern MMA a fighter has to have a few of the martial arts in his/her arsenal or he/she won't last.

Cheers!

Posted by: chachie1966 | August 31, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

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