James Toney Challenges Marcellus Wiley to MMA Fight

James Toney is 42 years old and coming off a loss to Randy Couture in his first career professional MMA fight. The former five division boxing champion is 72-6 in his career and set to return to the ring against Damon Reed on Thursday night. Prior to his fight, he appeared on 710 ESPN as a surprise guest Wednesday afternoon.

Talking with Max Kellerman and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley, Toney was getting into friendly tough-guy arguments with Marcellus. The former Pro Bowl defensive end kept talking like he could beat Toney in the boxing ring and in an MMA fight while Toney said he wouldn’t have a chance. James was so confident he would beat Wiley up that he wanted Kellerman to arrange a charity fight for the occasion.

Despite Kellerman’s efforts to stop Wiley from his bravado, Marcellus reiterated that he could beat Toney in the cage. Marcellus is known for running his mouth, and I think he’s running into a bad situation here. James Toney is a Hall of Fame boxer who could knock out almost anyone with whom he crossed paths. Stepping into any fighting situation with him is just not a good idea, Marcellus.

Let’s make this happen boys — Billy Blanks’ gym on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. I know Toney’s down — let’s make it happen!

You can listen to the entire interview here

Rich Franklin Tattoo Update: He Got a Henna Dragon

Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin bet that the loser of their UFC 126 fight would have to get a tattoo. We figured it was all in good fun, until we learned last week that Franklin was actually going tattoo shopping on Friday. We commended him for living up to the bet, but now we have learned the whole story was just a hoax.

On Monday, Franklin posted pictures of his “tattoo” on his website:

Yup, he went out and got a gigantic henna dragon tattoo on his back. Two more pics:

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Rich Franklin Gets Dragon Tattoo After Losing Fight, Bet with Forrest Griffin

Before Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin fought at UFC 126, the cleancut fighters put something on the line: the loser would get a tattoo. Griffin won the decision easily, dominating 14 of the 15 minutes in the octagon. After getting hammered in the fight, many people would have figured Franklin would have forgotten about the bet.

But that’s not the case.

Franklin tweeted on Thursday that he had a Friday appointment to get a dragon tattoo. MMA Fighting followed up on the story and got confirmation of the news. While he didn’t get a fruity rainbow or feminine ankle tat, he did indeed get a dragon on his back as they had joked before the fight. We still don’t have any pics of the tattoo but we’ll be sure to post them when they come in. And nobody can deny that Franklin is a man of his word. Even Griffin said he probably would have backed out had he lost, but not Franklin.

Brandon Vera Thought Thiago Silva Was Strong in Ring, Supports PED Suspicion

Brandon Vera lost to Thiago Silva at UFC 125 on New Year’s Day. Silva’s drug test was the only one that reportedly has not yet been cleared, and many people suspect he was using PEDs. Increasing the suspicion was Silva’s removal from his scheduled fight against Rampage Jackson at UFC 130. Also supporting the thought that Silva was on something was Vera’s comments on The Ryan Loco Show this week.

Midway through their podcast, Vera said (as transcribed by MMA News), “I roll with Phil Davis. I roll with Travis Browne. I roll with Junior dos Santos. I roll with the Nogueira brothers. When I’m in the half guard, underneath somebody and I have their leg, and my other leg’s half-cocked up on their arm pit, I can rock people back and forth. I can rock you and either stand back up or get the sweep. I remember when I was underneath him and I was pushing him back and forth, I was thinking, ‘What the hell? Why is this guy so damn strong?’ And I remember thinking during the fight, ‘Yo, I need to start lifting weights again.’ He was one of, if not the strongest dudes I ever rolled with in my life.”

Another interesting comment by Vera was that he doesn’t care if Thiago Silva used PEDs, just as long as the playing field is even. He even added that he was bench pressing 305 pounds at the time of the fight, making it even more suspicious that Silva could physically dominate him to that extent. So Brandon Vera isn’t against PED use, he just wants everyone to be equal, and his commentary about the fight supports the notion that Thiago could have been juicing. Hmm, where have we heard something similar?

Trainer Claims Fedor Emelianenko Was Hypnotized by Big Foot Silva’s Team

Fedor Emelianenko has widely been considered one of the best MMA fighters in the world, and one of the best of all time.  As you know, he lost to Antonio Big Foot Silva at Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix on Saturday — his second straight loss.  When a fighter with Fedor’s reputation loses two straight matches after previously having gone undefeated, people start to wonder.

Silva completely dominated Fedor on Saturday, swelling his eye shut so badly that the doctor stepped in and stopped the fight.  Given the level of respect Fedor has earned in the MMA world, many people were shocked and searching for answers to explain the defeat.  Emelianenko’s trainer, Vladimir Voronov, offered a perfectly reasonable example for the loss on Wednesday — Fedor was hypnotized.

According to a translation by Camel Clutch which has been validated by LBS colleague Diana Klochkova (who writes at “WTF? Panama” check her out here) and Google translator, Voronov told a Russian website that “forbidden psychological technologies,” or hypnosis, were used by Silva’s team and as a result Emelianenko wasn’t himself.  Now, we’ve heard it all.  It’s one thing to make up bogus excuses about losing a fight that have to do with a lack of effort, training, or focus, but pulling the voodoo card?  That borders on insanity.


After the loss, Fedor said he was contemplating requirement.  Is he really thinking about calling it quits, or was he still under the trance?  Someone should catch up with Voronov and ask him how long it took for the hypnosis to wear off so we can get a better idea.

Michael Schiavello May be the Best Announcer You Don’t Know

Watching Strikeforce’s coverage on Saturday, you had to switch between two different networks to enjoy the entire show. The prelims were available on HDNet while the main card was on Showtime. Though the fights and names on the main card were obviously the big draw, I have to say the broadcasting on the prelims was fantastic. Play-by-play announcer Michael Schiavello had me cracking up at every other punch, while former fighter Bas Rutten was outstanding on his commentary like usual.

Honestly, listening to play-by-play voice Michael Schiavello describe the action was like watching a comedy show. The veteran MMA and K-1 broadcaster works his assignments with genuine enthusiasm that engages the viewer, and he does so with a brand of original humor complemented by a good voice.

Seriously, where else are you going to hear fantastic lines like this?

Schiavello described a punch as “stiffer than a honeymooner’s package” and a fighter’s submission attempts as having “more triangles than a band camp.” When one fighter began to rally in the last 20 seconds of a round, Schiavello declared “He might go kleptomaniac and steal the round here.”

Then, my absolute favorite line was when one fighter was getting punched repeatedly and Schiavello said he was “taking more hits than a Dutch stoner,” which was slightly ahead of “Tagging him up more than a graffiti artist.”

Some people will complain about his commentary because no matter what, people love to criticize broadcasters (believe me, I’ve been there before, I know how it is). But Schiavello was original, quick with his quips, and his similes were fantastic. I enjoyed his broadcasting and hopefully you did and have been too throughout the years. Networks should continue to reward such on-air brilliance with more prime gigs; the Australian man deserves to show his talents to a broader audience.

Gina Carano Announces Her Return to MMA, Strikeforce

It was a huge night for Showtime and Strikeforce Saturday as their Heavyweight Grand Prix got off to a great, albeit surprising, start. The excitement was bolstered by an announcement made between fights that Gina Carano would be returning to the ring (an item revealed earlier in the evening by MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani).

In an awkward interview where Carano was acting shyly, the woman called the female face of MMA said she owed it to herself to get back to fighting after taking a year and a half off. “I think I need to settle the score with myself really, I need to get back in there for me,” Carano said.

Gina’s most recent experience in the ring was a bludgeoning by 145-pound champion Cyborg Santos (video of that fight here). She spent some of her time off filming the movie Haywire that is due out in April, and it was recently revealed that she’s begun training again in Las Vegas.

In a voiceover that played during a highlight package of Carano, she said “I just want to walk away from it knowing I left it all there — I left it all in the cage.” It’s clear that she still has something left to prove inside the octagon. Her desire is certainly the fans’ gain.