Posted on: May 8, 2010 10:35 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2010 11:45 am
Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson is up next in a pseudo grudge match from The Ultimate Fighter 10, facing Matt Mitrione at heavyweight.
This is another fight where Kimbo's progress in the ground game shouldn't be such a big issue. Kimbo walks to the cage draped in a Bahamian flag and with American Top Team trainer Ricardo Liborio in tow.
Round 1: Mitrione has been grinning from ear to ear since the introductions. Kimbo throws a right hook. Mitrione throws a high kick. Kimbo catches the leg, lifts Mitrione up and slams him down to a huge crowd reaction. Mitrione immediately goes for a triangle choke. Kimbo tries to slam his way out of it. It doesn't work right away, but eventually Kimbo breaks loose and takes side control.
Kimbo's not terribly busy on the ground, throwing a token strike here and there. Mitrione locks up one of his legs for half guard. Mitrione gets an underhook and escapes to his feet. Kimbo lifts him and slams him down again. Kimbo working from Mitrione's full guard now. Mitrione is going for the triangle choke one more time. Kimbo slips out of it and decides to let Mitrione up.
Kimbo with a pair of fists that connect lightly. Mitrione whiffs on a high kick. Kimbo with a pair of jabs as Mitrione slaps on a Muay Thai clinch and hurts Kimbo with a knee to the face. Kimbo with another jab and Mitrione sweeps him off his feet with a leg kick. Mitrione slaps on a choke and tries to finish, but Kimbo survives the round. 10-9 Mitrione. Kimbo's in trouble here.
Round 2: Mitrione still smiling big. He's got just a hint of crazy in him, I think. Straight left by Mitrione, Kimbo misses with a right hook. Leg kicks by Mitrione. Kimbo is huffing and puffing, and now, he's limping. Several more big leg kicks. Mitrione tries another Gator roll choke, then lets it go.
Mitrione throws a head kick and Kimbo blocks it. Mitrione staggers Kimbo with a boxing combo and a knee to the body. Kimbo's now on the canvas, looking spent. Mitrione has an anaconda choke, then lets it go to throw some big knees to the legs and body. Mitrione takes full mount and begins hammering away at Kimbo's head. This is a straight-up mugging. Kimbo eventually just rolls to one side and covers his head until referee Dan Miragliotta stops it.
Winner: Matt Mitrione defeats Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson via TKO due to strikes at 4:24 of Round 2.
Posted on: December 5, 2009 10:26 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2009 10:49 pm
Up next is Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson vs. Houston Alexander in a 215-pound catchweight bout.
Food for thought: One year ago, Dana White referred to Kimbo Slice as a fraud and considered it an embarrassment that he was in a main event of a major televised MMA show.
Round 1: Alexander looked amped for this one. Alexander misses a leg kick. He's circling on the outside very quickly. He keeps circling and the fans are now booing. Alexander might be trying to draw Kimbo into lunging in and getting countered, but so far, Alexander is circling too fast for that to even become a possibility. Alexander is throwing the occasional leg kick, some connecting and some not. If Alexander were crab-walking right now, it would be Antonio Inoki vs. Muhammad Ali all over again. Three minutes in and Kimbo finally finds his range and throws some strikes. Alexander takes a Muay Thai clinch but misses on his strikes. Neither guy does much damage from the exchange. Alexander uses good head movement to avoid Kimbo's strikes but misses another knee attempt from a clinch. Alexander isn't circling anymore. Inside leg kick by Alexander. And a few more. Kimbo with a pair of jabs. Kimbo needs to open up here, because those kicks are going to do some damage eventually. The round ends. 10-9 Alexander based on more strikes that connected (pretty much all leg kicks).
Round 2: Kimbo is almost stationary, and Alexander is back to circling quickly. The fans boo, and the referee asks for action. Inside leg kick by Alexander. Kimbo lunges and catches Alexander with a left hand as he circles. Kimbo manages to clinch Alexander and takes him down with a body lock. Full mount by Kimbo Slice. Alexander escapes to his feet and gets decked with a right. Alexander slips on a leg kick attempt and Kimbo pounces with fists. The tie up at the fence and Kimbo crushes him with a body shot. Alexander actually goes for a leg and Kimbo stuffs him. Kimbo achieves full mount again. If he had any jiu-jitsu he would have submitted him with a guillotine 30 seconds ago. Alexander gets to his stomach and Kimbo puts the hooks in. Kimbo is going for a rear naked choke but he's at a bad angle. Kimbo takes full mount again. Kimbo trying to neutralize Alexander's arms to open up striking opportunities. Alexander escapes to his feet. Alexander with a leg kick and Kimbo with an uppercut as the round ends. 10-9 Kimbo.
Round 3: Alexander still looking for leg kicks. They duke it out with both guys landing straight shots and jabs. Alexander is bleeding from the nose and looking the worse for wear. Kimbo waves Houston in to engage. Alexander misses with a right and Kimbo's counter connects squarely on his jaw. They're both taking it slow. Alexander sweeps Kimbo off his feet with an outside leg kick and Kimbo gets back up. Kimbo takes Alexander down and works from half guard. Fans are cheering Kimbo's name. Alexander looks totally gassed out, hanging on to that leg to avoid getting mounted. The ref stands them up due to inactivity. Alexander's weak leg kicks are fewer and farther between. Kimbo engages with 14 seconds left and probably got the worst of the echage, with Alexander landing an elbow. I give the final round to Alexander 10-9, because as inactive as he was, Kimbo could have had his way with him, and simply didn't. At least Alexander threw a weak kick here and there.
Winner: Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson defeats Houston Alexander via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) after three rounds.
Posted on: October 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 12:53 pm
Maybe you heard, but Roy Nelson beat Kimbo Slice on The Ultimate Fighter. It was kind of a big deal. The fight broke Spike TV ratings records, but when Kimbo gets into the cage with cameras present, that's usually what happens.
People watch. Records break. You know. That old chestnut.
But what follows every Kimbo Slice fight is an avalanche of micro-analysis from a wide swath of humanity, from journalists all the way down to the marginally interested casual TV viewer that happened to catch the fight while flipping channels. As the opinions flooded the internet over the past few days, a few things became abundantly clear:
Perhaps the biggest turn of events: When it comes to objects of ridicule and scorn, Roy Nelson is the new Kimbo Slice.
Prior to the season premiere of TUF 10, MMA fans roundly (and rightly) accepted Nelson as one of the favorites to win it all. He was a well-established, successful heavyweight outside of the UFC already. His bulk was a problem for opponents and his skill set was good enough to consider him a moderate threat from any position, standing our on the canvas. But in praising Nelson as the guy to beat -- and in the week leading up to the show, as a fighter far more impressive than Kimbo Slice -- informed MMA fans may have helped set up casual MMA watchers for disappointment.
Casual fans are notorious for not enjoying or appreciating ground fighting. When Nelson took Kimbo down, held him in a crucifix and used a series of light punches to stay active enough to win via stoppage since Kimbo couldn't move, MMA fans understood what he was doing. It was fair, it was legal, and under the circumstances, it was a great strategy. But to most of the casual fans watching on TV, it was a turn-off.
Nelson used a combination of his formidable girth and good technique to win that fight. But many of the casual fans watching didn't pick up on the technique part of it. All they saw was that bulbous belly. All they saw was a fat guy laying on top of a superstar and love-tapping him until the referee decided the fight was over. And when Kimbo got up, he didn't even look hurt.
There was technique involved, but a person new to MMA typically isn't going to pick up on that. If MMA is to convert all of those new eyeballs into full-blown MMA fans, it will not be with a fight like that, nor with a fighter like Roy Nelson.
In South Florida -- Kimbo's turf -- popular morning drive DJs Paul Castronovo and "Young" Ron Brewer, who rarely discuss the UFC, talked about the fight before it aired. The morning after, Castronovo called Nelson's win the "gayest thing I've ever seen on television." Once intrigued by Kimbo, the hosts blew him off for not being able to beat a big, fat guy who didn't appear to be hurting him at all.
Aside from their lessened opinion of Kimbo Slice (most people seem to like the guy more now in spite of the loss, and the UFC is going out of their way to build on that for obvious reasons), Paul and Ron echoed a lot the same opinions I've heard and read from new viewers that saw that fight. The majority opinion from the non-MMA crowd is "That fat guy who asked the promoter for a cheeseburger is a real MMA fighter and Kimbo Slice isn't? Check please."
That's not Roy Nelson's fault. If he went out of his way to make the fight more exciting, he would have abandoned his game plan and exposed himself to a greater chance of defeat. It's not the fault of knowledgeable MMA fans for building up Nelson as a respectable MMA fighter, because he is (doughy physique notwithstanding).
If the new viewers were turned off by Nelson, it seems as if the UFC and Spike TV turned that negative into a positive by helping Kimbo Slice repair his own image. All things considered, that was the big victory here. Win or lose, Roy Nelson was never going to be a breakout superstar. The money -- and the potential new fans -- always rested with Kimbo, and they've done as good a job protecting that investment as possible given that the guy didn't win his first (and potentially last, but they're teasing otherwise) fight on TUF.
A year ago, longtime MMA fans hated Kimbo Slice for being a street fighter soiling the sport's reputation by waltzing right in as a main eventer on network TV. Today, the casual fans hate Roy Nelson for being a chubby guy that puts on boring fights. We know Nelson is the exception to the rule, but they don't. The trick is getting them to tune in again to find otherwise.
What's worse for the potential growth of MMA in the mainstream: An exciting one-trick pony like Kimbo, or a well-rounded fighter that bores the casual fans and doesn't look the role of a true athlete? What's more likely to turn away potential new fans?
At what point does the sport have to make concessions for the casual fans in order to grow the business, and where would you draw that line? I'm interested in your opinions, so fire away.
Follow Denny Burkholder on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennyBurkholder
Posted on: July 10, 2009 1:30 pm
While these names have circulated for a while now, the UFC and Spike TV finally made it official on Friday, via press release.
Straight from the release, the full cast of The Ultimate Fighter 10, including notes on their credentials, MMA and otherwise:
New York, NY, July 10, 2009 – In what will literally be the biggest season ever of "The Ultimate Fighter" on Spike TV, the 10th season of the groundbreaking series, premiering Wednesday, September 16 at 10:00pm, will showcase 16 of the best unsigned heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters in the world. Featuring former UFC light heavyweight champions "Suga" Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as coaches, season 10 marks the only installment to include only the heavyweight weight class (206+ lbs).
"The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights" includes a list of notable athletes with impressive and diverse pedigrees including four former NFL players, UFC veterans, a former IFL heavyweight champ, and a highly-publicized former EliteXC fighter who gained prominence through his non-sanctioned bouts on YouTube.
The cast includes:
During the six-week taping of "The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights," these 16 men endured a grueling regimen of jiu-jitsu, judo, Muay Thai, karate, boxing and wrestling. The intense competition among the fighters continues after they leave the gym – at the Ultimate Fighter House. These warriors must live together, knowing that any day they might be forced to fight each other in the famed UFC Octagon™.
The two finalists will square off in a live finale Saturday, December 5 on Spike TV, when the winner will be declared "The Ultimate Fighter" and net the six-figure contract and a cash prize. UFC President Dana White will once again serve as host of the series.
After each show, Spike.com users will get exclusive extended footage from each episode and an exclusive video leak of the upcoming episode.
Aside from Kimbo Slice, the most intriguing contestant is Roy Nelson, the former IFL heavyweight champion who is most famous for his fight vs. Andrei Arlovski on CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights last October. "Big Country" is often mocked for his less-than-chiseled look, but he's a very good fighter, especially when thrown into a competition with several guys that don't have his level of experience.
Sims is the only other guy in the house that has already fought a former UFC champion -- twice, actually, and at an actual UFC event.
The season debuts on Spike on Sept. 16. If you've been suffering from Kimbo withdrawl since the events of last fall, mark it on your calendar.
In the meantime, here's the family portrait, courtesy of Spike:
Unless I'm seeing things, Kimbo Slice is the smallest of the bunch, easily.
Posted on: June 2, 2009 8:48 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2009 8:58 pm
Last week, Affliction and M-1 Global issued a string of press releases alerting the media to a pair of press conferences -- one to be held Wednesday in New York, and another on Thursday in Los Angeles -- "to announce 'Trilogy,' Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett , on August 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA; Live on Pay-Per-View."
That quote is taken directly from one of the press releases, which begs the question: What's left to announce?
Beans-spilling press releases aside, the story here is that Emelianenko vs. Barnett is finally going to happen, not that Affliction is flying people all over the country to reveal that which has already been revealed.
Barnett (24-5-0) has been the second-best heavyweight on the Affliction roster since virtually day one. But due to a number of circumstances -- Tim Sylvia being available to fight Fedor last summer, Andrei Arlovski getting the honors for Affliction 2 -- he has never fought "The Last Emperor." Not even in Pride, where both men enjoyed lots of career success. At last, Barnett will get his shot at the man widely considered the best heavyweight MMA fighter on this planet.
For Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-0, 1 NC), Barnett not only represents the stiffest challenge possible among guys he hasn't fought yet, but he also may be his final worthwhile opponent outside of the UFC roster. Simply put: If Emelianenko beats Barnett on Aug. 1, there will be no more credible opponents for him in any promotion other than the UFC. And that's where things get truly interesting. Consider the following:
1) After Affliction's second PPV in January, speculation swirled that the company would only promote one more show -- tentatively scheduled for the summer, as "Affliction: Trilogy" is -- before bowing out of the MMA promotion business for good. But in a recent interview with MMA FanHouse's Ariel Helwani, Affliction COO Michael Cohen not only insisted that Affliction: Trilogy would not be the last event, but he promised a fourth, fifth and sixth show.
The trouble is, Emelianenko vs. Barnett is believed to be the last remaining fight on Emelianenko's Affliction contract. If that's the case, and if Emelianenko ends up running the table on Affliction's main event-worthy heavyweights, would it be financially viable for Affliction to re-up Emelianenko if the quality of his PPV opponents will go south? Spending big for a superstar fighter is only worthwhile if the profit outweighs the expenditure, and all indications are that Affliction hasn't yet figured out how to come out of its investments with a profit.
2) If Affliction does try to re-sign Emelianenko, there's a good chance it would be for a lot less money. In this economy, the decision may not even be up to Affliction anymore. They could be willing to pay him $1 million per fight -- hypothetically, of course -- but if they can't secure the financing to pull it off, will they be willing to pay Fedor out of pocket? If the UFC can match or beat Affliction's financial offer to Emelianenko, then the only remaining roadblock to him signing with the UFC would be the exclusivity issue. Which remains a potential deal-breaker for sure, but with Emelianenko running out of options and the UFC still wanting to book him, one or both sides could budge on their demands enough to meet somewhere close to the middle. The state of the MMA business and the world economy in general means that an Emelianenko-UFC negotiation might go a little differently today than it did in 2007 or 2008.
3) While it would take several major pieces falling into place for it to happen, an Emelianenko deal with the UFC might not be as far-fetched as some think. In a February interview with DreamFighters.com , Fedor said "Me and my management hope to get a chance to talk to Dana White in person in June to discuss a possible fight between me and Brock [Lesnar] ." Sure enough, on Sunday -- the last day of May -- Dana White was Twittering about having a "HUGE" meeting in Los Angeles the next day. "Insane for UFC fans if we get this done," he tweeted.
Then, in a video blog posted on YouTube on Tuesday, White mentioned the Kimbo Slice participation on The Ultimate Fighter , and followed up with this:
"Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I had a killer, killer meeting in Los Angeles today, and I was hoping I would be able to tell you about it today, but the way deals go, they take time," White said in the video. "So I can't tell you today, but I can tell you it was a great meeting and I'm feeling very confident that we're gonna get this deal done, and it's gonna literally change the UFC forever."
We know Emelianenko is in the U.S. this week. Could it be?
Wait -- let me rephrase that.
Who else could it possibly be?
Posted on: February 6, 2009 4:28 pm
Showtime announced on Thursday that the first Strikeforce event to air on the premium cable network as part of the new deal would be on April 11, emanating from San Jose, Calif.
Posted on: February 5, 2009 9:03 pm
Strikeforce announced on Thursday that it has acquired the rights to select assets of Pro Elite, the parent company of EliteXC. From the official Strikeforce press release:
LOS ANGELES, CA. -- In a transaction signaling the dawn of a new era in the world's fastest growing sport, world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Strikeforce, has acquired certain fighter contracts from ProElite, Inc, the parent company of former Strikeforce co-promoter, Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC). Strikeforce also acquired other specific assets of ProElite, including a library of EliteXC events, which were distributed live on either CBS or Showtime Networks. "This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters," said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce. "Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months."
LOS ANGELES, CA. -- In a transaction signaling the dawn of a new era in the world's fastest growing sport, world championship mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Strikeforce, has acquired certain fighter contracts from ProElite, Inc, the parent company of former Strikeforce co-promoter, Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC).
Strikeforce also acquired other specific assets of ProElite, including a library of EliteXC events, which were distributed live on either CBS or Showtime Networks.
"This is a tremendous development that will bolster the Strikeforce roster and allow us to produce even more competitive matchups between top fighters," said Scott Coker, Founder and CEO of Strikeforce. "Some of these athletes have been on the sidelines for a while now and are eagerly waiting to return to competition. We look forward to providing them with the opportunity to do so in the next few months."
Posted on: October 5, 2008 4:07 am
Edited on: October 5, 2008 4:13 am
I've had a few hours to digest the whole Saturday Night Fights experience. Here are some final thoughts on the show, in no particular order.
1) Petruzelli beating Kimbo was not an upset. I made this point briefly in my fight blog immediately after the fight, and I'll explain it here. Kimbo Slice is still a novice (YouTube doesn't count). Seth Petruzelli is not. He's had 16 pro fights in a little over eight years, winning 10 and losing four. Two of his losses were to Matt Hamill and Wilson Gouveia -- both UFC fighters, both more skilled than Kimbo Slice. Look, Seth Petruzelli may not have much of a name, but he's a solid enough fighter to beat a guy with less than two years of experience on short notice. Kimbo wasn't as likely to figure out a way to beat Petruzelli on short notice as vice versa.
Gabriel Gonzaga beating Mirko Cro Cop with a head kick was an upset. Seth Petruzelli beating Kimbo Slice was a case of perception vs. reality. This time, reality won. In 14 seconds.
2) Kimbo is not finished. He will not be the ratings attraction that he was before this loss, but a single loss does not end a fighter's career. And if he allows it to, he should be ashamed. What kind of fighter quits after one loss?
Kimbo will learn from his mistakes and get right back on the horse. That's the admirable thing to do.
3) Kimbo isn't ready for top-level competition. It turns out that James Thompson and Tank Abbott were probably suitable opponents for Kimbo Slice after all, if we're trying to match up guys by their skill level (OK, maybe Tank is a stretch). Some people say Kimbo was handed easy victories on a silver platter. In fact, moments before the Petruzelli fight, people were saying that exact thing about Petruzelli -- that Kimbo had once again been handed an easy win. For more on that, refer back to point No. 1.
4) This was bad for business. There's no other way to state it. When your biggest attraction (face it, Jake Shields didn't sell all those tickets) is beaten in 14 seconds by a last-minute replacement from the undercard, it does not help business. Kimbo Slice will still remain a curiosity to viewers -- unless he does something crazy and shaves his beard, or completely changes his look -- but there will be some loss of audience from all of this. His drawing power took a hit, and probably will not recover until he improves enough to string a few solid wins together. And that's neither a guarantee nor an impossibility. It's all up to Kimbo.
5) Ken Shamrock, exit stage left. I am not naive enough to think we've seen the last of Ken Shamrock in the cage, but for all practical purposes, he should not be booked as a main-event fighter on this kind of event again. Realistically, I know that somewhere, some time, a promoter will cough up the money to get his name associated with their show. I just get a bad feeling about it. Shamrock is not Randy Couture. I believe if he continues taking major fights, he'll not only tarnish his legacy further, but he'll endanger his health. I felt this way before the Kimbo fight that never was, but now that he's dodged that bullet, it might be time for Shamrock to bow out. Again.
6) Yoko Takahashi rules. This woman is a warrior straight down to the bone marrow. She got absolutely ravaged by Cristiane Cyborg and never stopped pushing forward and fighting back. She looked like she got hit by a truck after the loss. Yet there she was after the fight, limping around with a brace on her knee, a patch on her face, and several visible wounds... smiling. And socializing. And happily getting her picture taken with Seth Petruzelli. She left it all in the cage, and she was thrilled to be there, even after losing. That, my friends, is fighting spirit.
7) Cris Cyborg is Drago, Gina Carano is Rocky. It's coming soon, trust me. And it will be a war.
8) Carano deserves some respect. Weight issues aside, she is knocking down every opponent they give her, and looking good doing it. It's time for people to acknowledge that she's the real deal. Just because she's pretty doesn't mean she's a manufactured publicity stunt. She hasn't fought every single one of the top challengers out there, but she's been busy enough, and nobody has stopped her yet. The sad thing is, just like Kimbo (and every other fighter), she'll get beaten eventually... and people will immediately claim her career is over.