As we move closer to UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 , which is scheduled to take place on Aug. 28 at the TD Garden in Boston, the rhetoric from James "Lights Out" Toney seems to only get more cryptic every time he speaks.
Toney is the current IBA Heavyweight Champion, and UFC 118 will be his professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut. Toney's current claim is his upcoming fight with five-time former UFC Champion Randy "The Natural" Couture will be at a soon to be decided catchweight.
This is a claim UFC officials have confirmed but Couture's camp, who expect to fight at heavyweight, are claiming no knowledge of the sort.
The Natural's lawyer, Sam Spira, said the following. "The Toney camp couldn't agree to a catchweight, and there's been no discussion about it thereafter. I suggest James Toney stop playing with dolls and focus on the fight."
The dolls Spira speaks of is in reference to Toney's antics at a UFC 116 press luncheon, at which Toney brought a Randy Couture figure in a Barbie dress.
Toney claims the catchweight is an effort by the UFC to "make it easy for Randy." But the boxer isn't worried. The way he see's it is "whatever they want to do, we can do it."
Toney has fought between the ranges of 160 to 237 pounds throughout his career, but he has been a heavyweight the last seven years.
The early belief was the fight would take place at a catchweight of 215 pounds, but this idea was supposedly abandoned. With Couture traditionally weighing in at around 230 pounds for heavyweight bouts, it's hard to believe Lights Out would have a significant weight advantage, but that's what he believes.
Toney may have a disadvantage at a catchweight of 225 however, as The Natural has more recently demonstrated an ability to cut weight, having fought his last two fights at MMA's Light-Heavyweight (205 pounds). Whereas, Toney's last 11 fights have been at boxing's Heavyweight. Boxing heavyweight has no weight limit, unlike MMA, which caps off at 265 pounds.
Whatever the case may be, Dana White doesn't seem too worried. At the post-UFC 116 press conference, White made it clear he's "going to make an example of of James Toney."
For those of you who are unaware, White, who himself is a former amateur boxer and gym owner, has been arguably one of the biggest critic of professional boxing, and has forecast its fall for many years.
Toney sees himself as boxing's legitimate representative and plans to keep true to his roots despite training with Juanito Ibarra, Muhammed Lawal, and Gegard Mousasi, just to name a few. Despite the training camp, Toney still hopes to use his fast hands and knockout power to defeat the UFC Hall of Famer and MMA legend, Randy Couture.
But what does Lights Out have to say of his opponents supposed legendary legacy as a fighter? Well, exactly what you would except, that "a guy with 12 losses is a legend. Ain't that a b****." This is also why the "sport is so messed up." Because MMA has "sh** backwards." But don't worry, because James Toney is "gonna clean it up."
Whatever weight the fight takes place at, either heavyweight or catchweight, it will be one fight fans of all disciplines will be tuned in to see as it is still the only time a professional championship boxer will be stepping inside the UFC Octagon.
Of course, even after Couture wins, which he is widely favored to do, many doubt the critics of MMA within the boxing community will suddenly stop and become fans. Fans or not, hopefully they will become more educated, the same way Art Jimmerson was at UFC 1.