Not A Dream! Not an Imaginary Story! James Toney Signs UFC Deal

I kind of vaguely recall Dana White taking every opportunity to dis other MMA promotions for signing fights featuring guys who don't belong in the sport (like, say, Jose Canseco). To this point, White has avoided doing that himself, so love him or hate him, at least you couldn't say he was a hypocrite.

That may no longer be true. Steve Cofield and Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports are reporting that White has confirmed a UFC deal for James Toney. As far as I can tell, it's not a joke or hoax of some sort.

I'd love it if the whole interplay between boxing and MMA would go away, or at least quiet down for a while. I'm a bigger boxing fan, but I appreciate and follow both sports.

This is going to stir everything right back up again. It's hard to see exactly why White would do something like this, but here are a few possibilities:

1. The UFC brass actually thinks Toney will be able to hang with MMA fighters

This is too ridiculous to believe. I dismissed this idea as soon as it entered my head.

2. White wants to shut Toney up and can't think of any other way

At the end of Cofield's post, he includes a tweet from Bloody Elbow's Luke Thomas suggesting that Dana might be doing this to teach Toney, and likely other boxers by extension, a painful lesson. I'd say that's very likely. White is also excellent at rationalizing things to the media, so I'm sure he can spin it somehow so that having Lights Out in the octagon is different from every other fighter with dubious credentials employed by other promotions.

3. Toney has somehow tricked the UFC

Well, he's a champion talker. Maybe James confused them into agreement!

As I've said before, I don't blame Toney for this. He's entitled to try to make money any way he wants, and his constant pestering of White has shown he's pretty serious about this.

There's no point getting all stirred up about this yet, as we don't even know exactly what the UFC has planned for Toney. I just know I'll be pretty sad watching him get choked out in the first minute of his MMA debut.

Posted by The Franchise

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