As judgment day for the epic battle to end all talk of sports supremacy fought between two geritol lubed fighters dawns, something struck me. With all this talk about boxing vs MMA, why has there been such little mention of Butterbean?
The guy has over 80 boxing fights. He is the prototype of boxer turned MMAist. Not to say weighing over 300 lbs should be a prototype for any kind of athlete, but Buttebean has shown that with proper training, boxers can participate in MMA.
The "can a boxer survive in MMA" argument was settled long before Toney even began meeting with Dana. It was settled by Butterbean. Add to that the fact that he has some decent wins on his MMA resume like James Thompson, Cabbage, Sean O haire and the same Zulu that MMA demigod Fedor fought. Given his size and cardio limitations, (he wasn't called king of the four rounders for nothing) that's a commendable career. He's even been involved in Moosin, which turned out pretty well.
Butterbean began fighting in toughman competitions. One of the earliest forms of fighting for anyone who wanted it, kinda like the primordial UFC. From there he went pro, onto a brief K-1 stint and then MMA. He evolved with the sport. From local toughman shows to the cage. His career is proof that it is possible for boxers to evolve and participate in the sport. I've mentioned his physical limitations. Can you imagine the effect a better trained boxer would have in the cage? I'd like to see that and it will happen soon.
James Toney's physical condition is just Butterbean lite.Tonight's fight is nothing more than a sideshow, that will prove nothing. It will only further the myth that it is impossible for athletes in one sport to cross over to MMA. Butterbean is one, but there have been plenty of examples where cross training has been shown to work. Most recently, KJ Noons showed that it is possible to transition between sports. Guys like Vitor Belfort and Anderson Silva have pro boxing bouts to their credit. Success in MMA is possible in spite of a boxing background. If Butterbean can do it, anyone can. No matter the outcome
Its sad that with all the talk of the Jimmersons and Saad Muhammads of the world, this huge example of a boxer who tried to turn serious MMAist was forgotten. In the buildup to the Couture-Toney farce, more attention was paid to boxers that failed instead of succeeded. I still wonder why no one has sought Butterbean's opinion on the transition to MMA.
Regardless of tonight's outcome, I hope more boxers - especially better athletes outside the Toney mold will crossover to MMA.
It has been done by one Butterbean. If a 300+ pound guy can do it, most boxers can do the same with proper training. Pay your respect to him here. He deserves it for trying his best and silently blazing a trail for crossovers from the sweet science.