Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ve heard of him. Kimbo Slice; the Miami street-fighter turned MMA fighter, had his 3rd professional fight on Saturday night under the EliteXC promotion. The event had a great deal of hype leading up to it as it was being aired on CBS – giving it the potential to be the most viewed MMA event in history.
Kimbo Slice certainly did his part on the promotional side of things. To quote Gary Shaw; EliteXC’s president – “Kimbo carried this promotion”. The statement was in reference to all the appearances and interviews Kimbo did leading up to the event.
Given his streetfighting background, Kimbo is surprisingly well spoken and, when he’s not knocking people around and punching out eyeballs, he genuinely seems like a nice guy. His pre-existing internet fanbase, nice-guy attitude, work ethic and American fan-friendly brawling fight-style have made him one of the most marketable MMA fighters in the history of the sport.
However, with Kimbo’s incredible marketability, it’s no secret that the upstart EliteXC promotion has an invested interest in his success. The favouritism became all too evident this past Saturday. The event was running behind schedule and the controversy began during the 5 round title fight between Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler. While it lasted, this was an incredible fight. Both fighters are tough as nails and they both came to bang. Lawler, who was getting the better of the stand-up, accidentally poked Smith in the eye in the third round.
This is nothing new in MMA competition. In fact, it happens so often that there’s a pre-determined protocol in place to handle such matters. Typically, when a fighter is accidentally poked in the eye or hit in the balls, they are given a full 5 minutes to recover (if needed). In this particular instance, Smith wanted his recovery time but his request wasn’t granted. He made it very clear that he wanted the fight to continue and looked devistated when it was stopped.
Up to 5 minutes to recover and the remainder of the 5 round fight – I highly doubt that EliteXC wanted to wait that long to air the Kimbo Slice fight. Especially considering they were behind schedule.. Sure, the logical explanation for the stoppage is the old “fighter safety comes first” line but if that’s the case, why would they allow Kimbo Slice to be pinned up against the cage and take unanswered elbow shots for a minute straight without defending himself? Sure, he gave the thumbs up sign to the referee to prevent him from stopping the fight but why was Scott Smith not awarded the same luxury? Smith wanted to continue. Smith stated that he would be good to go. Seems like a double standard to me.
Then came the “devastating” knockout of James Thompson. It was so brutal that Thompson didn’t even hit the ground. It was ridiculous. While Thompson may have gotten knocked out with a couple more shots, it was a pre-mature stoppage in my honest opinion. His reaction following the stoppage says it all..
This article was not intended to be a knock on Kimbo Slice; as I truly believe he has the tools and work ethic to make it far in the sport. He’s come a long way in such a short time and I will be tuning in for his next fight. And with all the invested interest in his favour, you can bet that Kimbo Slice for the win is a pretty safe bet for the future.