By MATT BOONE
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
UFC president Dana White made things simple for fans and members of the MMA media who were questioning what happens next with James “Lights Out” Toney and the UFC in the future: nothing happens next.
White confirmed the end of their working relationship in his post-UFC 118 interview with Ariel Helwani and AOL Fanhouse on Saturday night in Boston.
The interview, which was shot shortly after the UFC 118 post-fight press conference , featured White point-blank stating that we won't be seeing Toney involved in any future MMA fights. Well, at least any MMA fights that are promoted by Dana White and the UFC.
The news doesn't exactly come as a surprise as Toney fought (if you can call it that) what was basically the worst performance one could, even under the circumstances he was facing. As we reported last night, for all intents and purposes, James Toney statistically shot an air ball in front of the entire world, with the game for his team (boxing) on the line. As far as MMA fans are concerned, and we're talking the type of MMA fan that has zero interest in boxing (which doesn't seem possible, by the way), Toney will likely be recognized in the MMA world strictly for what was one of the most embarassing outings in octagon history.
Speaking of a fighter's place in history, there are comments going around that have hit a nerve with yours truly. Some in the MMA media are starting to talk as if Saturday's victory will go down in history as Randy Couture's defining moment. Basically claiming that if Couture is remembered for one thing centuries from now, when the young folks are thumbing through the MMA history books, it will be for his performance in the “UFC vs. boxing” showdown against James Toney at UFC 118 in 2010. C'mon guys, knock it off. That's crazy talk. Everyone is well aware of the historical significance of what Couture did in a fight that was promoted and viewed by the public the way it was, but remember who we're talking about here.
The argument could be made that without Couture, UFC might not have survived during a rough period in the company's history. Couture was 50-percent of the star power on the reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), that kind of saved the day for the UFC. Couture's fights with fellow TUF 1 coach and three-time octagon rival Chuck Liddell would result in record PPV business, as well as other meaningful statistics that resulted where it counts: the state of the company's business. Dollars and cents.
You could always go the “in-the-cage” accomplishments route, as there's no shortage of bullet points to include under the name “Randy Couture” whenever the aforementioned MMA history books are in fact written. “The Natural” is the first guy to win multiple titles, in different weight classes, all the while setting an age standard that almost no human being will ever be able to duplicate. What are we talking about here? Stop it.
Couture certainly added another notch on his historical belt, but it's not like he got a new belt altogether that out-shines the one he's been filling with holes for all of these years. He did get a new belt this weekend, his jiu jitsu black belt, as we found out after the fight. As far as history is concerned though, Couture is still working on one of the most insane belts ever known.
How do you see things going in terms of Randy Couture's place in history? If he is allowed only one accomplishment to define his career, would you go with it being as the guy who proved that boxing is only one element in a real fight? If not, which single accomplishment would you think stands out the most? Get involved in this ongoing discussion today in the official MMANEWS.COM Forums, or if it's more convenient, the official MMANEWS.COM Facebook.