It’s no secret that the world of combat sports has been dominated by mixed martial arts over the last couple of years. Every Saturday throughout the month of April, the Octagon was assembled. In that time, it played host to over forty fights, including two championship title fights.

The first Saturday in May, however, did not have a UFC event on display. But boxing filled the void. Floyd Mayweather, one of the best boxers in the history of the sport, made his return to the ring and defeated Robert Guerrero. In the process, he defended the WBC welterweight title and won the vacant “The Ring” welterweight title.

Most MMA fans were aware of all of the fights that took place over the last five weeks, including even Mayweather’s boxing match, but usually it’s words, not actions, that land a boxer on the MMA radar. Case in point, Tyson Fury.

Fury, a 24-year-old boxer who hails from England, defeated Steve Cunningham by seventh-round knockout on April 20 to move his professional boxing record to a perfect 21-0. He holds multiple minor championship titles and has knocked out 15 of his opponents. Although many fans out there may be scratching their head about why this is relevant, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was not among that group. In fact, he may have been watching Fury’s fight with a bit of added interest.

Despite the fact that there has been a bit of a rivalry between MMA fighters and boxers, some on each end of the spectrum have been more outspoken than others about it. Fury has been one of those outspoken individuals.

“I would take Cain Velasquez out,” Fury said in an interview with ESPN. “MMA, to me, is bullshit. It’s for people who can’t box and like wrestling on the floor. It’s rubbish.”

To be clear, Fury is saying that he would beat him in both a boxing match or a mixed martial arts contest.

One of the reasons that the sport of MMA even exists is based on the theoretical question of who would win in a fight, a boxer or a wrestler. Historically, guys who are professional boxers have not fared well inside the Octagon. Just ask Art Jimmerson or James Toney what it is like to be taken down by an elite grappler.

Sure, MMA and boxing are both sports where two people throw fists at each other with the intent to hit and harm their opponent, but the two sports couldn’t be more worlds apart from one another. It would be like saying that hockey player Sidney Crosby would be an elite golfer due to the fact that a hockey stick resembles a golf club, or that golfer Tiger Woods would easily put the puck in the net.

Unlike Jimmerson or Toney, however, Fury will never get his chance inside the Octagon to back up his claims. When “Lights Out” got his opportunity to don the four-ounce gloves and cross the threshold of the Octagon after chasing down UFC President Dana White from city to city, White finally caved and made a fight. Don’t think for one second that lightning will strike twice and White will allow another pure boxer to enter the cage unless he first has a handful of successful auditions in other promotions. Toney’s performance was embarrassing enough, and at least White had the incentive in that fight of earning money from pitting a famed boxer against a famed mixed martial artist. The same can’t be said here.

The Englishman has not done enough in his career to have a major championship title shot in his own sport, yet he wants to completely jump from one sport to another and take on Velasquez? For White to seriously consider bringing a relatively unknown boxer into his cage just so he can be taken down immediately and submitted by an elite grappler is just silly.

At the end of the day, Fury is simply playing the publicity angle. He wants someone to pay attention to him. It wouldn’t be the first time a boxer took shots at the sport of MMA for the sole purpose of elevating the hype surrounding their own next boxing match (remember, Fury was spouting this rhetoric in the weeks leading up to his recent fight) and it certainly won’t be the last.

Now you know who Tyson Fury is. But don’t take his words as anything more than a fighter in a fading sport trying to claim a piece of relevancy by taking verbal shots at a champion in a sport that is flourishing.

Photo: Tyson Fury (Facebook)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.