Over the past couple of months reports have been circulating of boxer James Toney’s submission prowess in training against respected MMA fighters like Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal and Dean Lister.
Lawal came first, suggesting that Toney had submitted him with a standing guillotine choke while training takedown defense with the fighter.
On Monday’s edition of The SDS on Sherdog however, veteran reporter Greg Savage suggested that the incident was just a figment of Lawal’s imagination.
“People believed Mo Lawal when he went out and said, ‘Yeah, I’ve trained with James Toney and he choked me out,’ you know? Or James Toney said he choked out Mo Lawal, you know. That’s Mo Lawal joking around, you know, playing with people. Mo Lawal was never training with Toney when all those statements went down,” Savage said.
Weeks after Lawal’s comments Dean Lister, a jiu-jitsu specialist said in an interview that Toney had almost submitted him as well in training.
Speaking to MMAJunkie today the man Toney will face on August 28th, UFC hall-of-famer Randy Couture doubts the validity of both submission stories.
‘”Nah, I don’t believe that’, Couture chuckled when he was reminded of Lawal’s story, “He’s probably doing some wrestling with Mo Lawal. That wouldn’t surprise me.”
Couture also shot the Lister story down in flames at the same time.
“I know he’s not training with Dean Lister. Dean called me himself when that one broke and said, ‘I’m not training with that guy. Don’t believe that stuff.’ But it doesn’t matter. All the talk is just talk. No matter who he can get to say he’s tapped them out in training, on the day he’s still going to walk down to the cage and get in there with me and that’s when all that stuff stops.”
This is certainly not earth-shattering news, most people take anything Toney says with a pinch of salt, but it’s an indication of the kind of mind games the veteran fighter is employing ahead of his MMA debut.