Couture vs. Toney a marketing failure

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:15 PM ET

This just in: Last Saturday's fight between UFC icon Randy "The Natural" Couture and boxing champion James Toney meant nothing.

Nothing as in nada. Zippo. Zilch. Squat!

It doesn't prove mixed martial artists are tougher than boxers. It doesn't prove one sport is greater than the other. Heck, it doesn't even prove that Couture is tougher than Toney.

The event was meant to give a pair of aging fighters (Couture is 47; Toney 42) a nice payday as their opportunities to cash in dwindle with each passing year.

It was also a publicity stunt to draw the interest of peripheral fight fans who may have actually bought into the event's billing as a 'boxing vs. MMA' fight.

Truth is, nothing could be further from the truth.

The event was fought under unified MMA rules and despite his swagger that he was going to knock off Couture's head, Toney did exactly as most informed fans and pundits predicted.

He was taken down in the opening seconds.

Like a hapless turtle, he laid on his back as Couture unloaded quick, short punches.

After mounting and punishing Toney, Couture secured an arm triangle and Toney tapped.

In my humble opinion, the worst fight of the night.

But not because either is a bad fighter.

Just because the greatest golfer in the planet can drive a ball 300-plus yards, it doesn't mean he'd have the best slap shot in the NHL.

Likewise, the world's greatest sprinter would not likely last long as an NFL receiver.

As yourself this: How long do you think Couture would have lasted if he had to step into the ring and box with Toney? Not long.

The UFC is, without doubt, one of the world's most savvy and slick marketing machines. But this one was a dud.

This isn't 1993, when there are virtually no rules and the sumo wrestler takes on the karate ace and the reason people tune is because of the freak show carnival the event may become.

Mixed martial arts is its own sport with its own loyal fan base and a set of unified rules.

Trying to stage events that became overdue when the sport was legitimized cheapens what is arguably the world's fastest-growing sport.

If there is anything good that came out of the UFC 118 co-main event, it's that president Dana White has made a commitment to not bill another 'boxing vs MMA' match.

Thank God for that.


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