Are Mixed Martial Artists Better Fighters Than Boxers?
When UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture choked out decorated boxer James Toney in just over three minutes at UFC 118, it answered the question “Are mixed martial artists better fighters than boxers,” right? Wrong.
What we saw at UFC 118 is what happens when one person invades another sport, without training properly. It’s the equivalent of LeBron James all of a sudden picking up a baseball bat in the MLB playoffs with CC Sabathia on the mound. Chances are, LeBron will strike out and a home run is about as likely as George W. Bush admitting he was an awful president. The fight settled nothing other than shutting the big mouth of an older, overweight fighter who had a bright idea.
It wasn’t UFC President Dana White‘s bright idea. For nearly a year, White told Toney “No” as the former three-division champion literally chased White across the states looking to get a fight in the UFC. White has always respected the skills of a boxer, but he also knew MMA is far different than boxing. It’s like the differences between basketball and football—both sports have a ball, and that’s where the similarities end. The fact that MMA fighters use kicks alone gives them a distinct advantage over a boxer. Boxers are trained to focus on the fists, never do they have to worry about someone kicking them in the thigh. They don’t have to worry about being choked out, be trapped in a kimura or being pounded on after someone tackles them. It doesn’t make an MMA fighter “better” per se, it just proves that an outsider can’t come in and take over their sport.
If Randy Couture stepped into a boxing ring with James Toney, we can almost guarantee that “Lights Out” would have turned out Couture’s lights in roughly the same amount of time. The fact of the matter is all sports should be respected. Barry Bonds can’t pick up a golf club and become Tiger Woods. Drew Brees can’t beat Kobe Bryant in a one-on-one game of basketball. It’s really that simple. People who are trying to find out which game reigns supreme are grabbing for straws if they feel the freak show that was Couture Vs. Toney proved anything. It was a cool experiment, but that’s all it was.