Another Side of Kimbo Slice

October 2, 2009

Problem:  Rashad Evans, apathetic towards Spike Television’s and UFC’s interest in maintaining Kimbo Slice’s status as a ratings juggernaut, picks Kimbo to fight Roy Nelson (the best fighter in the house) on the third episode of the latest season of TUF.  Kimbo shows little in the (boring) fight and is TKO’d via some weak-looking ground and pound from the vastly more experienced Nelson.

Solution:  Transform Kimbo Slice from street-certified bad ass to a struggling, up-and-coming mixed martial artist, an underdog, and moreover, a good-natured family man.

UFC put together terrific television last night, as the organization turned what many were predicting to be a disaster (i.e., Kimbo’s presumed loss to Nelson) into, well, perhaps not quite gold, but something that’s likely to keep a strong level of viewer interest through the remainder of the season, even if Kimbo does not (as was hinted in the preview of next week’s episode) immediately receive a second chance in the tournament.

UFC took the exact opposite tack as that taken by EliteXC, which promoted Kimbo as an almost unbeatable freak (recall announcer Gus Johnson’s excitement at having seen the greatest “upset” in MMA history when Seth Petruzelli KO’d Kimbo). 

Last night’s Kimbo was likable and intelligent, and even turned introspective towards the camera discussing his need to defeat his “enemy,” his “enemy,” his “inner me.”  Truly great stuff.

I also give credit to UFC for taking a rather dull fight and promoting it beforehand as the most anticipated one in TUF history (just another example of a phenomenon recently discussed by colleague Kelsey Philpott).

Kimbo’s loss on the third episode presented a problem to UFC but things could have been worse.  I’m not certain what could have been done to save the Kimbo intrigue had he lost by bad KO or brutal ground and pound.  As far as losses go, it was fine; going the distance and losing on points was probably preferable, but Kimbo can still be brought back, and he’ll be viewed as a legitimate threat.

Regardless of whether he re-enters the tournament, Dana White has made it clear Kimbo will receive a second chance in the UFC, as he’ll be fighting at the TUF finale.  The smart money says that unless Kimbo is utterly humiliated, he’ll then receive a shot on ppv against a lower level heavy- or light-heavyweight.

You might have cheered him on in the past, but after last night, don’t you just want Kimbo to succeed at this game? 

Something’s changed, and I hand it to whoever was responsible for framing the story behind episode three.

Simply brilliant.

8 Responses to “Another Side of Kimbo Slice”

  1. Rick on October 1st, 2009 11:06 AM

    Well the leak on the internet a few months ago was correct that Kimbo loses to Nelson, the same leak says Kimbo storms out of the house and off the show at some point. If that’s the case will he really be wecomed back by the UFC?

  2. Joseph on October 1st, 2009 11:45 AM

    Laughable at best, and even funnier, Iole said it best:

    “But lo and behold, after Slice accepted an offer to appear on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC is exhibiting much the same behavior that Elite XC and promoter Gary Shaw were so roundly criticized for.

    After generating record ratings for the Season 10 opener, the Slice marketing push from the UFC has kicked into overdrive. White has already said Slice will fight again in the UFC, regardless of the outcome of the show.

    That may indicate that Slice fares better than expected in the show, but it runs counter to the way White has handled other TUF fighters. He has given contracts to fighters who didn’t win on TUF, but it came after the season, not just two weeks in.

    Slice will face former International Fight League champion Roy Nelson on Wednesday in a show the UFC and Spike TV are pushing so hard that they held a conference call with Slice on Monday. They’re touting it as the biggest fight in TUF history, which is saying a mouthful since White himself credits the TUF 1 finale between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin with saving the company.

    Unless Slice somehow defeats Nelson – and I can’t see how he can – it’s extremely hypocritical of White to give Slice a second shot in the UFC based simply on his popularity.

    If Slice wins and defeats Nelson, who is my pick to win the season and earn the UFC contract, then giving him a contract to fight in the UFC is fine.

    Other than that, though, giving him a contract is buying into the marketing hype that White so venomously ripped Elite XC for.

    If Slice loses and proves not to be a capable mixed martial artist, putting him in the UFC regardless would bring to mind the infamous quote made many years ago by boxing promoter Bob Arum: “Yesterday, I was lying. Today, I’m telling the truth.” Finally, please feel free to follow me on Twitter. Now, let’s delve into the MMA mailbag.”

  3. danielle on October 1st, 2009 12:57 PM

    I was impressed with Kimbo personally. I seen improvement and felt like the outcome may have been different if he had more training with Tiki. I did not like or dislike Kimbo prior to this season, but I like him now. I like that he is very eager to learn and doesn’t give up or give in to defeat. Not to add on to the Roy Nelson jokes flying around, but seriously his belly was used as a weapon against Kimbo. I am surprised Kimbo didn’t tap due to lack of air.

  4. shawn on October 1st, 2009 1:20 PM

    I beleive Roy Nelson fought the only fight he could. After being hurt with a punch or two he took it to the mat and Kimbo was lucky the fight was not stoped in the first round due to lack of activity………………The story around kimbo is great and the UFC is showing it that it is more than just a fighting company it is an entertainment company that showing these guys are human like the rest of us……………ant the kimbo comment “The Inner Me” was great…….he had me thinking for a while…….thanks Kimbo Slice…………or shall I say Kevin

  5. Dan on October 1st, 2009 2:59 PM

    Once again, Kevin Iole demonstrates what a hack he is when it comes to MMA journalism. There is an absolute world of difference between the UFC promoting Slice and Elite XC. The UFC is a promotion, yes, and there’s definitely hype, and the hope for ratings and butts in seats, or PPV, but the UFC isn’t propping him up; heck, they even let Kimbo fight a good opponent in just the 3rd ep. The UFC is doing a good job at reframing Kimbo as an up and coming MMA fighter, but Kimbo will ultimately win or lose on his own, not like XC which may have even offered Petruzelli a payoff to throw the fight. Big difference Iole, big difference.

  6. on October 1st, 2009 3:02 PM

    Another Side of Kimbo Slice : The Business of MMA…

    I agree that the UFC has done a great job of reframing Kimbo as an up and coming MMA fighter. Dana White once again shows why, love him, or depsise him, why he is the leading promoter of MMA in the business. Very clever….

  7. David Wolf on October 2nd, 2009 6:19 AM

    I didn’t mention it in the actual article, but Kimbo’s “enemy/inner me” deal reminded me of one of my favorite Dylan lines: “I fought with my twin, that enemy within…”

  8. Brad Spradling on October 2nd, 2009 5:53 PM

    When will the part about Kimbo’s long and deep involvement with porn sites and porno movies come out?

    Kimbo was in some porno movie about 5 months ago that was a parody of Harold and Kumar, where he played the part of some guy who was threatening gay rape.


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