UFC Signs Boxing Champion James Toney, Debut Date Uncertain

James ToneyAfter a long period of off-again, on-again courtship, the UFC has pulled the trigger and signed 41-year-old boxing champion James Toney.

UFC President Dana White confirmed the signing to MMA Fighting after it was first reported by FiveOuncesofPain.com.

Toney had actively campaigned for a contract from the UFC, following White around the country to several events and eventually meeting with him in Las Vegas. Toney reportedly turned down at least one contract offer before signing.





Asked when Toney would debut, White said he had "no idea."

With a professional boxing record of 73-6-2 with one no contest, Toney is among the great boxers of his era, winning titles in six different weight classes ranging from middleweight to heavyweight. He last fought in Sept. 2009, earning a second-round TKO victory over Matthew Greer.

It's unknown which weight class he will compete in, as his weight has fluctuated from anywhere between 219 to 257 in fights over the last few years, though heavyweight seems the most likely possibility.

In the past, White noted that he may have some trouble promoting Toney as a legitimate mixed martial artist after criticizing other athletes that had made late-career changer like Strikeforce star Herschel Walker, but he always voiced an interest in Toney as a "real fighter" capable of making the transition.

"Listen, let me tell you what: I got blasted this week? Let me make this fight (with Toney)," White said after UFC 108. "That will get me f****** blasted. I'm the first guy out there going, 'This is a freak show. Who would put on a fight like this?' I'm the first guy that would say that. I'm always saying it when freak shows happen. I don't know what's going to happen."

Toney has reportedly been training in MMA for some time in hopes of making his octagon debut. Now it appears he'll finally get the chance he's campaigned for, and in doing so, he will become the most decorated boxer ever to fight in the UFC.

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