is Chris and Derek remembered to post this the day I meant
it to be posted!
I forgot to write my tag line...
vs. Wrestler. That’s what UFC 118 presented as their
main drawing card. Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture,
the legendary MMA star and former world-class wrestler who
might be the most impressive 47 year-old man on the planet
when it comes to fighting. James Toney was a World Champion
boxer not too long ago, having his last fight about a year
is 47. Toney, 42. Both of those numbers would normally make
you think they were over the hill, but both have been showing
remarkable staying power. UFC set-up their fight as the
biggest battle between a wrestler and a boxer in decades.
last time there was a fight between a boxer and wrestler
that got this sort of attention, it was Muhammad Ali taking
on Antonio Inoki in Japan. 1976, May. New Japan Pro Wrestling
put together the match, initially with a very simple set
of rule. The plan was for Inoki and Ali to work a match
with Inoki winning. Ali would get a 6 million dollar pay-off.
Inoki would get the win and that would propel him into the
US market as a major star. He was already a good-sized name
among a number of wrestling fans, but he could say that
he beat Ali, and have it shown at major wrestling events
around the country.
were a lot of problems. First off, the plans for major events
around the country to tie-in with the Inoki-Ali fight being
shown closed-circuit went poorly. There was a lot of in-fighting,
and many of the promoters pulled out.
of the reason was the build-up. Ali used Freddie Blassie
as his mouthpiece to wrestling fans, which was great, but
Ali showed up on ABC’s Wide World of Sports,
and that was a major problem. Howard Cosell refused to play
along, saying that it was all a farce and that Ali could
actually get hurt. They taped Ali beating guys at an AWA
show, which was weird. In the end, only the WWWF ran a show
at Shea Stadium and there was a good show in Florida, but
those were the only big shows.
match also happened to suck. In the end, Ali refused to
do the job, so they decided to make it into a shoot and
give these rules that really hamstrung Inoki, who could
not use submissions. Or suplexes. Or pretty much any wrestling
did fifteen rounds, and pretty much the only thing that
happened was Inoki kicking Ali in his legs. Yes, it was
important to the career of Ali, as the punishment he took
shortened his career. (Guess Cosell was right!)
have been a lot of other matches between boxers and wrestlers,
and at the first UFC there was a boxer in the mix. The Couture
vs. Toney fight was the biggest UFC match with a boxer ever,
and it went pretty much as everyone thought.
give me the money..."
couldn’t get a good punch in fast, Couture would take
him down, wrestle him and tap him out. It happened in less
than 4 minutes. Toney didn’t show up to fight, but
merely to accept a paycheck. He was about twenty pounds
too heavy and showed very little. The amazing thing was
that the crowd was huge into the fight, especially chanting
for Couture. They even chanted ‘Thank You, Randy’
at the end.
result is the important thing, because it establishes the
UFC as the home for the best fighters. Of course, Boxing
Supremacists will point out that this was not a boxer in
his prime, though who could really say that Couture was?
I don’t think anyone really could.
thing will only be solved when the World Heavyweight Champions
of boxing and UFC meet. I think it’ll happen some
day, just not soon.