James Toney and the 5 UFC Fighters Who Didn't Belong in the Octagon
Joe Silva is the best in the business when it comes to discovering talent in mixed martial arts, and finding them opponents that will highlight their skill sets. For example, who would have predicted that Eddie Yagin had any business being in the cage with Mark Hominick at UFC 145 this weekend?
However, on a few occasions, a few duds have found their way into the Octagon. Maybe the pressure of fighting on the grandest stage in the industry got to them. Maybe they weren't ready for the jump in competition that they received. We can only speculate.
This is a look at five fighters who had absolutely no business fighting in the UFC. Enjoy!
When the announcement was made that James Toney had signed with the UFC, fight fans everywhere got excited that we would finally get an answer to the question: How would a boxing champion fare against an MMA champion?
The closer that we got to UFC 118, the more we realized that this fight would inevitably the UFC's version of a freak show. Pairing Toney with Hall of Famer Randy Couture was a move designed to make sure that Toney would spend the entire bout on his back and out of position to throw any punches.
While a bout between Toney and a striker like Rampage Jackson or Mirko Cro Cop would have seen Toney have some sort of prayer of victory, a contest with the legendary Couture guaranteed that boxing would be receiving a sizable black eye.
As expected, Couture put Toney in unfamiliar territory immediately with a shoestring takedown. Toney never mounted a piece of offense in the contest and left after one the most embarrassing performances in MMA history.
What makes things worse is that James Toney was paid $500,000 for his terrible performance inside the Octagon. That sum is greater than the combined salaries of multi-divisional champions BJ Penn and Randy Couture who were on the card.
Gabe Ruediger is best known to MMA fans for his laughably terrible weight cut on The Ultimate Fighter 5. His drama queen performance was highlighted by his decision to eat ice cream cake leading up to his fight, and the merciless lampooning he suffered from his teammates and BJ Penn, alike. Gabe did not make weight, nor was he invited to compete at the show's finale.
When Joe Lauzon needed an opponent at UFC 118, Joe Silva turned to Ruediger as a possibility. The beginning of the end was when Ruediger signed on the dotted line.
In a humorous moment, Ruediger presented Lauzon with a cake at the weigh-in that said "Sorry For Your Loss." Ruediger was dominated handily by Lauzon, who submitted lightweight in only two minutes. Joe Rogan commented that Ruediger "was never in it for a second."
Inexplicably, Joe Silva gave Ruediger another opportunity at UFC 126 against Paul Taylor. After receiving a vicious KO via headkick and punches, Ruediger was sent back to the independent leagues where he belongs.
Don't recognize Dan Stittgen? That's probably because he is conscious in this photo.
With a heavily padded record that consisted of a steady diet of cans and no names, Stittgen stepped into the cage with a record of 7-1. But let's be honest here. Stittgen is a submission fighter who was brought in as food for then undefeated kickboxer Stephen Thompson.
The contest ended quickly as Stittgen ate one of the worst head kicks in recent memory, which will keep him on highlight reels for years to come.
Tim Hague is a nice guy who found success in fight organizations that were not called UFC. But when it came time for Big Tim to step up in competition, he was simply not ready.
Hague began his promising career with a submission win over Pat Barry, however, watch that fight and you'll see that Hague didn't win so much as Barry lost. Giving credit where it is due, Hague took advantage of Barry's non-existent submission defense and submitted the striker with a guillotine choke.
With the first win under his belt, Hague would go on to lose his final four Octagon appearances. If his losses came to the Cheick Kongos, Mark Hunts and Stefan Struves of the division, he likely wouldn't have made this list.
Unfortunately, Hague's losses came at the hands of fighters who weren't in the Top 20 of the division. Hague found himself stopped in the first round by Todd Duffee and Matt Mitrione and additionally lost decisions to Joey Beltran and Chris Tuchscherer.
It's not that Tim Hague is a bad fighter, because he isn't. But if you can't manage a win against four fighters who are nowhere near being ranked then you do not belong in an organization that houses the very best in the world.
Let's call a spade a spade. Just like Toney, Kimbo Slice got his shot in the UFC because of his name value and nothing else.
Originally, Dana White made the statement that Slice would be welcome under the Zuffa umbrella if he won his way in through The Ultimate Fighter. Kimbo welcomed the opportunity when he agreed to be part of the 10th season of the show. Suspiciously, this was the first season in years which did not include an elimination round. Coincidence? I think not.
Not only did Kimbo not win a fight in the TUF house, but he was thoroughly dominated by Roy Nelson in their first-round fight. While losing to the inevitable winner isn't much to be ashamed of, Kimbo showed a lack of heart when he turned down an opportunity to take Matt Mitrione's place in the second round. Kimbo cited arthritis in his knee as his reason for rejecting the golden ticket.
For the record, if you can't fight because of arthritis in your knee, that isn't an issue that is likely to go away for someone who is just beginning a career in MMA.
If you needed proof that Kimbo had no business fighting in the UFC, take a look at his debut fight against Houston Alexander and tell me if he appeared to be of UFC-caliber.