I remember clearly the first time I ever met James Toney.
I was in Boston to cover UFC 118, and Toney was facing Randy Couture in his first (and only, it turns out) fight in the UFC.
We went down to the convention center for open workouts on Wednesday. Workouts are usually held at at a gym or even a hotel, depending on the size of the event in question. Six or eight of the main-card fighters gather and pretend to be enthused by hitting pads so that the photographers in attendance can take their photos, while the reporters wait for them to finish up with the routine so we can ask them questions.
Workouts this time were held at the same place as the Boston Fan Expo, right there in the Octagon that you see if you're a fan walking around on the weekend. It was a nice setup.
And luckily Toney was in a fantastic mood. Which is to say that he was not in a fantastic mood.
After witnessing him verbally berate and threaten Ariel Helwani—which you can see on Ariel's interview with Toney—I asked one of his crew members if I could get a few minutes of his time. I didn't even really want to put Toney on camera. Just a few simple questions, spoken into a tape recorder.
James was standing behind the crew member. After I asked the question, he leaned around and said, in that charming English-but-not-English way of his, that I could kindly go jump off a bridge. Only he didn't say those words, and he didn't do it kindly.
I say all of this to make a point: When James Toney says stupid things, we shouldn't be surprised. He's a scary, imbalanced and possibly mentally insane individual. I hope Rampage Jackson considers this when he hears what Toney has to say about him these days:
That's what you get for being a slave to the white man. Don't be scared. Step up and speak for yourself. That's why I got paid the million-and-a-half dollars and am still getting paid by the UFC. You know what I'm sayin'? The highest paid fighter ever. You feel me, fat boy? Me. And you been there...what, twenty years and you're getting paid pennies? While I make millions?
Let's run Toney's statements through the Truth Machine, shall we?
1. James Toney did not get paid a million-and-a-half dollars by the UFC. He was paid $500,000. Perhaps he got confused and was off by a mere million dollars. Who knows.
2. The only payments Toney still gets from the UFC are royalties from the sales of UFC 118 and other disc sets where his fight is included. These don't amount to much.
3. James Toney is not the highest-paid fighter ever. I'd wager that he wasn't even the highest-paid fighter on that card, because I guarantee you that Randy Couture made much, much more than his reported $250,000 due to the way he dispatched and embarrassed Toney.
I love Toney just as much as the next guy. He's fun to listen to because he's absolutely insane and you never quite know what he says. But let's be sure and not take things like this seriously.
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