Following the UFC’s surprise signing of 41-year-old heavyweight boxing champ James Toney to a multi-fight deal on Wednesday, UFC President Dana White discussed Toney and his MMA debut with Yahoo Sports:
“We threw the kitchen sink at Brock when he came in. Are we going to do that same thing with James? I don’t know. To be 100 percent honest with you, all [expletive] aside, I haven’t thought it out.
“I like James Toney. He’s one of the greatest boxers ever. I have tremendous respect for him. He said he wanted to fight in the UFC and I was interested. Now he’s here and I have to figure out what to do with him. What we won’t do is make a freak show out of it. I’d be the first to scream if someone else did that, so I’m not going to do it.
“Hey, I don’t want this to be seen as a joke, and it’s not like Herschel Walker or Canseco or any of those guys. James Toney is a fighter. The worst thing anyone can ever say to me is that they were watching one of my fights and they changed the channel. That’s why I’ll never put [expletive] fights on.
“James is an interesting case. We know how much talent he has as a boxer and he insists he’ll surprise people by how much MMA he knows. I’ve still got some thinking to do. But if we promote him and he does well and that raises his profile and he gets a Klitschko fight and makes a lot of money for himself and [boxing promoter Dan] Goossen, I’d be cool with that. But James came to me and he literally chased me around the country to do it, so I’m giving him the chance. We’ll get it figured out one way or another.”
While the UFC has yet to determine the first opponent for Toney, who is training with Juanito Ibarra, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s former trainer, for his debut, five-time UFC champion and hall of famer Randy Couture put his name in the mix after calling out Toney on Twitter on Wednesday.
Pictured: Dana White