Tuesday, January 12, 2010

MMA Flashback: Kimbo Slice Comes To Prime Time

By Ross Everett

It wasnt the decisive blowout that EliteXC was hoping far to send Kimbo Slices stardom into the stratosphere but with some seriously tense moments for the former street fighter against a game James Thompson everyone concerned is likely happy with a victory of any sort. Kimbo at times displayed some surprising skill on the ground, while at other times looked amateurish and lost. Slice clearly had the edge in the standup exchanges, and appeared to have Thompson on the verge of going down for the count several times in the fight. To his credit, the British fighter--who developed a reputation for having one of the weakest chins in the sport during his tenure in PRIDE--took Kimbo's best shots and had a tactical answer every time he got in trouble by taking the bout to the mat.

This strategy worked well for Thompson until the final round. Though "The Colossus" kept his feet through several punishing combinations, the beginning of the end came when a Slice punch nearly sheared his ear off. The bloody, grotesque ear was clearly at risk of being seriously damaged and Kimbo punctuated this with four or five uncontested power punches. Thompson by this point was out on his feet and the ref jumped in to bring the proceedings to a halt giving Kimbo a TKO victory.

While Thompson and his corner complained of an early stoppage, given the severity of the ear injury and the four or five uncontested power shots by Kimbo its a tough case to make. Furthermore, it was consistent with the officiating all night which obviously was trying to err on the side of caution in the first MMA event on prime time major network television. The ref was quick to call several of the earlier bouts, and the ringside physician was involved in two more bouts. Clearly, everyone concerned wanted to take no chances and risk an ugly late stoppage or serious injury with a huge broadcast TV audience"many of whom were assumed to be MMA neophytes.

Despite the tough test faced by Kimbo Slice and a disappointing no-contest in the semifinal bout between Robbie Lawler and tough Scott Smith, EliteXC overall has to be very happy with how the event came off. The presentation was highly professional all night, and the announcing was superb. There was no question that Gus Johnson and Mauro Ranallo are solid pros, and Frank Shamrock is obviously a well spoken and experienced expert commentator but the three meshed together exceptionally well.

The emphasis from the start was on selling the sport of MMA, with the promotion taking a secondary role. This was done via nicely produced and informative instructional videos, which would be helpful to a first time MMA viewer but didnt come off as sophomoric to the seasoned aficionado.

Overall, it was a professionally produced and entertaining night of action. The end result is that both of their marquee names among the general public--Slice and Carano--remained undefeated.

About the Author:

No comments: