He stands in a bent or bowed position and his hands chop at his opponent, opening cuts on their foreheads and noses. He is a thick man who intentionally encourages comparisons between him and a male lion, with his thick abundant mane-like beard. Let us examine this man and inquire as to whether he has deserved the reputation earned as a vicious professional fighter. Certainly he is enough of a media phenomenon to beat game four of the Stanley Cup in ratings, but he cannot beat the Scripps National spelling bee.
Let us now examine Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson’s opponents, their respective records for insight into his relative strengths as a fighter in this newest of popular sports. Starting with his most recent opponent, James Thompson, who is 14-9-0. The Colossus has lost 3 straight matches, and lost 7 of his last 10. His most recent win is over a fighter Don Frye who is so past his prime I would throw him out if he we a gallon of milk. Frye has not been seriously competitive as a heavyweight since about 1998 and was obviously used as a stepping stone to set Thompson up for greater fighters. In the fight we see Slice, who clearly doesn’t have the cardiovascular stamina to go more than 3 rounds, exhausted. After a couple of decent shots to Thompson’s head the ref calls the fight, when it is clear that the fighter can continue. This makes one question whether the outcome of the fight was predetermined, when in clear defiance of the crowd and the evidence at hand a ref calls the fight.
Tank Abbott is his second most recent bout. This was more typical of Slice as a fighter, an early punchfest that ended in the first round. Slice punched Tank in the back of the head and somebody jumped in to the middle of the fight.
We will see this trend forming later when we examine the street-fighting tapes that skyrocketed Slice to fame. David “Tank” Abbott was chosen as the best match up because stylistically he is the closest to Kimbo, they are both unrefined brawlers who are getting a bit long in the tooth and used to bare-knuckle. Tank’s glory days are well behind him.
His first real professional fight was against a journeyman fighter who has not fought any world-class notables in the sport. This journeyman’s name, Bo Cantrell. What kind of fighting spirit do you have when someone submits you with punches? Are you a coward? A real warrior would never submit due to punches, and thus this fight should not be seen as a great matchup.
Kimbo lost because of lack of conditioning and technique. Ganon is a superior fighter at that point. Gannon was also the first REAL PROFESSIONAL that Slice encountered. Gannon won.
Look at Kimboâ€™s other opponents. A prison-yard weight lifter, a bouncer, an amateur boxer, a fat kid–not a one a professional fighter. And then there is the series of fights in some back parking lot in LA, where he obviously lured some large idiots off the street with the promise of a couple hundred dollars to the winner. The hype far outweighs the reality. With a tremendous amount of cardio and some grappling training perhaps Slice could compete with a Tim Sylvia, Jeremy Horn, Houston Alexander, Keith Jardine, or Marvin Eastman. But he is definitely not ready to join the elites of Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Mirko “Cro cop” Filipovic, Mark Hunt, or Antonio Rogerio “minotauro” Nogueira (admittedly minotauro is scraping the bottom of the Brazilian barrel, but I am making the point that Slice a relatively old, slow, and green fighter couldn’t hang with a lot of the overall not very well ranked or unranked Brazilians). The rise of Slice is like the rise of another bearded bald man many years ago, who became a media phenomenon:
Slice is all about attitude, persona, and appeal to inner city kids much like Mr. T. Slice’s rise shows us that mixed martial arts has become like the professional wrestling world. With characters being hyped up to draw in key demographics, titles being lost intentionally to lesser men to keep the game going, the music and laser light show at the beginning, and ring-side women with breast implants wearing spandex. One should not herald Kimbo Slice as the new icon of the sport which has been called “human cockfighting,” but he should rather be seen as a sign of the era of decadence and downfall of something that was once an art. The emphasis has shifted from the art part, and even from the martial, into marketing.
Kimbo has an illustrious career ahead of him and the sport will continue for many years to come. And through it all Kevin Ferguson will stand hands on hips looking for his slice of the pie.