Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kimbo Assisted in Avoiding Colossus Upset

On Saturday night, a night marked down in MMA history as the first nationally televised fight on prime time, Kevin Ferguson aka Kimbo Slice, escaped what was sure to be an exhaustive upset loss at colossal British underachiever, James "Colossus" Thompson.

Thompson started the fight strongly enough, taking Kimbo down numerous times. Unfortunately for Thompson, Kimbo was able to reverse all the takedowns and avoided any serious damage. Thompson, however, was laying on Kimbo and his massive weight (260+ lbs) would begin to take its toll the very next round. Unlike experienced MMA fighters, Kimbo was not used to throwing the hands and tumbling on the ground with a man bigger than him and with more world class experience.

Kimbo opened up the round strongly and landed a few hard left and rights on Thompson's chandelier chin, but Thompson survived the initial onslaught and Kimbo's eyes went form seriously furious to strangely curious as to how Thompson, whose chin has let him down everytime he's been clocked solidly, was still standing. Thompson then took a visually exhausted Kimbo down and then applied some effective, though definitely not Hughes-ish ground and pound clinic dropping in a series of elbows and short right hands while controlling Kimbo's position on the ground.

At the end of the round, Kimbo was exhausted to the point that the referee had to tell him to get up. All credit to Kimbo for coming out the next and last round and taking the initiative. He landed a hard right to Thompson's wholly inflated cauliflower ear and the blood began dripping out. Kimbo landed a few more hard punches that clearly hurt and staggered Thompson. But unlike the few other times Thompson's bell was rung in the night, this time the referee stopped the fight-- a bit prematurely in this writer's opinion.

A clearly frustrated Thompson immediately asked the referee why he had stopped it and also put his massive left arm on the referee face in anger, it seemed. Kimbo, on the other hand, immediately went to the canvas on his back and stretched his arms in an exhausted, relieved, and victorious elation.

If one thing, it showed Kimbo is nowhere near ready for the sport's elite ... for now.

Another unanswered fight was the middleweight EliteXC championship fight between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith. After almost three exciting rounds, an accidental poke in the right eye of Smith caused the bout to be stopped when Smith twice told the doctor he could not see but wanted the five minutes to recover. A rematch should be in order. No fighter had shown a clear inclination of being stopped at the fights anti-climactic conclusion.

Gina Carano and Kaitlin Young may have been the fight of the night. Carano avoided some serious leg kicks and used her muay thai experience to have the doctor stop Young's chances after her face was rearranged due to Carano's strike.

"What Kimbo showed tonight was garbage," said Brett Rogers when asked by Frank Shamrock after the fight what he thought about the fight. Rogers, who already kayoed Thompson in non-controversial fashion, also kayoed Jon Murphy in under a minute.

Could Rogers go a few strong rounds with Kimbo? Or will Kimbo get a chance for redemption when he fights a fighter who prefers fighting on his feet? Hopefully, we'll get the answer sooner rather than later.

And on a more hopeful note, this should be the last time Phil Baroni should be allowed to fight. A kayo loss does not spell doom for any fighter's career, but Baroni, who suffered another ko loss to Joey Villasenor, has had that chin switch flipped and he will always be susceptible for to a kayo loss.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

CBS Takes (Kimbo) Slice From the MMA Pie

(for more go to

It has been signed, sealed and official for a while now and this Saturday night at 9 p.m. it looks to finally be delivered. Due to the volatile nature of the fight business what with injuries and dirty politics involved, this was no sure bet to come off the ground. So, barring any last minute cancellations to Elite XC's primary line up, what is being billed as the "biggest night in MMA history" on network TV is finally in motion to proceed.

The biggest night of MMA in the USA already happened in its debut in 1993. While immediate reaction was mixed and the subsequent marketing of it was dubious, ultimately it proved a winner. Thanks to the Internet and lively attendance numbers from die-hard fight fans. And while this is a huge step in the right direction for MMA, CBS still seems a reluctant participant in a sport that has everyone craving to get a piece of the action and the profits it may reap.

With less than a week to go, CBS has not promoted its foray into MMA quite as heavy as those in the fight community. You'd think that their home Web page would feature a pictur or link to promote this event or at the very least, a big splash on its Sports page. But no, it's still mainstream sports that's the ticket, no matter how dismal their ratings are on average when compared to MMA and boxing (remember when CBS used to cover it?).

Maybe CBS, or rather the suits at CBS who green lighted it, is trying to be low key about something that has been tried before. First off, MMA on free TV is nothing new. UPN took a stab at it with the IFL, but its team based format did not attract the type of Nielsen ratings those other prime time sitcoms bring. Maybe it was because it was broadcast on a weeknight rather than a weekend? We'll see Saturday night.

Secondly, and maybe most importantly, CBS does not believe in their product as much as the fans. Some people are criticizing CBS for making Slice vs. James Thompson its main event. Many of those same people have also been criticizing the media for overrating Slice. Over rated? Hardly, since he's not in any one's top ten. Over exposed? Maybe, but what fighter would refuse the recognition?

While any knowledgeable MMA fan knows the main event is a farce, Slice and Thompson are not. They both train hard and come to fight. The fact that Brett Rogers, who kayoed Thompson in his last fight, is fighting beneath them on the undercard (and for a smaller purse) shows that the politics of fighting is never as noble as the fight itself. But once a corporation takes hold of something it makes it all its own.

Hopefully for fight fans, Slice and Thompson will fight to their usual standards, or above. Robbie Lawler will defend his EliteXC middleweight belt against famous UFC comeback ko kid himself, Scott Smith. And look for Gina Carano to add some estrogen to the testosterone world of artly combat. Will they try to market the American Gladiator star as a sex symbol as well? We aall will have our answers this Saturday night at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Fitness Jiu Jitsu