After a failed attempt at trying to conquer the world of MMA James “Lights Out” Toney, decided maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. Toney was taken down early on at UFC 118, by UFC champion and hall-of-famer Randy Couture. But recently Toney’s trainer John Arthur spoke with MMA Junkie about what went wrong and possible return for Toney.
Many fans felt that this attempt was “Lights Out” for Toney, but Arthur says that it’s not so. Toney will be defending his IBA heavyweight title in November, but after that he’s ready to settle the score.
“They might have won the battle, but the war ain’t over yet,” said Arthur.
Arthur attempted to make excuses..I mean..”clear up” what happened when Toney got in the octagon. According to Arthur, there was an “issue” backstage before the bout which caused Toney to fumble inside the cage, but gave no specifics.
“James was so upset,” Arthur said. “He was so mad, he just wanted to hit [Randy]. He wanted to get close enough to hit him one time because of so many things that happened that night that were going against us. There were some things happened that he wasn’t happy with. It’s personal. It drove him to a whole different level.”
Arthur also explained some of the technical mistakes Toney made, and how he didn’t exactly stick to the game-plan.
“I said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t stand in front of the kid because the kid’s going to try and take you down,'” Arthur said. “[He’s] going to take that lead leg. That’s what he did. I told him he’s got to move. I said, ‘You’ve got to get out there and use your boxing skills.’ ”
Arthur also pointed out that Toney was wearing what looked like Muay Thai ankle supports which also caused some issue, Randy Couture himself stated after the fight that the supports gave him a better grip on Toney’s ankles, which led to his takedown.
“He had those damn cufflinks on his feet; those damn things that keep you from sliding, and that’s another bad thing,” Arthur said. “He gave [Couture] something to grab onto.”
And although post-fight Dana White stated that Toney was done in the UFC, Arthur claims he still hasn’t heard anything official from the organization’s headquarters.
“Well, then Dana needs to send me some release papers,” he said. “If we don’t plan on fighting in the UFC, send me the release paper and we’ll take it to the next level. I know the UFC is the No. 1 [promotion] in mixed martial arts, but if Dana voiced that we don’t fight for him anymore, send me the release papers. I don’t have any problem with that. Once that happens, then I’ll start working on stuff. But right now, we’re focused on him defending his IBA heavyweight championship.”
But either way, Arthur says Toney will continue to compete in MMA and boxing even if it’s not with the UFC. Maybe Strikeforce will pick up the sloppy seconds again?
“He’s going to be doing groundwork and boxing,” Arthur said. “He’s going to be a two-sport athlete. The reality is that he wants to do it, and he will do it again. I think the next time I match him up, I’ll make sure I’ll matchup at least 50-50 equal. The cards were stacked against him.”