The Kimbo saga is over
EliteXC managed to find the only person more fragile than Kimbo Slice’s last opponent, James “Colossus” Thompson, in former MMA fighter Ken Shamrock. The only problem was that Shamrock is so fragile he was injured during the warm-up, thus pitting Kimbo Slice against a different lackluster fighter, in this case it was Seth Petruzelli, who defeated Slice in 14 seconds Saturday night on CBS.
So, the Kimbo Slice saga is over. I would be shocked to see him headline a major card again and he probably won’t earn too many more six-figure paydays. It is tough to ask a fighter to take on an opponent he didn’t prepare for at the last second and Slice’s camp initially refused a bout with any replacement. Slice should be commended for stepping up and taking the fight but as Sam Caplan from fiveouncesofpain.com touched on in a piece on Sunday, Slice’s motivations for accepting the fight were likely financial.
Slice was near the end of his road in the spotlight so making a move to cash out now was probably the right call. Slice literally had nothing else to gain from the fight with Petruzelli. Shamrock had a name and is familiar to casual fans. Petruzelli is a UFC washout (or “UFC veteran” if you take Elite XC’s phrasing) and a win over him would’ve done little for Slice. He had everything to lose and nothing to gain, as far as his career is concerned.
So, if it was money, I think it was a brilliant move by Slice. He’s not a young fighter (34) and he got into the fight game too late to really make a name for himself. Instead, he went from an Internet sensation to a headliner on prime-time national television and made a boatload of money in the process. Slice capitalized on being in the right place at the right time and got absolutely everything he could have out of his position. I respect that.
I know a lot of people have problems with Slice and hardcore fans fret about his “credibility” and things like that but really, that’s not his fault -- you have to pin that on EliteXC. Slice got his and made enough money to set his family up and racked up enough fame to live off of for a while and no one can take that from him.
There will be plenty of people out there debating his weak chin, bashing him for his futile performance Saturday, questioning where his career goes from here, what damage he did to the sport and pondering the other questions on the table now after the loss. I’m not going to take more shots at Slice or throw in any parting barbs. I tip my hat to him. What he was able to accomplish is still stunning. He’ll never be as relevant as he was before Saturday but that’s OK, and that’s the real story from EliteXC: Heat on CBS Saturday Night Fights. Well played, Kimbo.
The scuttled main event and the fall of Kimbo will take precedence in any discussion of the fallout from the show Saturday, which is to be expected, but I thought it was a decent show overall. I thought Andrei Arlovski looked a little sharper than I remember when he took down Roy Nelson, and the fight between Kelly Kobold and Gina Carano was entertaining. I also thought Jake Shields looked good again and, along with Arlovski, was one of the top fighters on the card.
Still, I can’t help but wish the UFC had a TV deal like this. It’s tough to watch a show like that (which was entertaining and, most importantly, free) while knowing that first-time viewers aren’t being treated to the best fighters in the world. The top-caliber fighters in the UFC (or a few more from Affliction would’ve sufficed, for a one-night show) could have put on a much better show and I hope that they get the chance someday soon. Now that the Kimbo craziness is behind us, it’s important for MMA to put its best foot forward when in the spotlight. So, even if EliteXC manages to find a long-term future, hopefully they sign some better fighters (not Tito Ortiz) or partner up with Affliction.
View photos of EliteXC: Heat.