by:  Jack Bratcher

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later and as odd as it has been, it seems only fitting that the Kimbo show would come to a close in the midst of strange circumstances.  The street fighter turned mixed martial artist suffered his first defeat tonight at the hands of Seth Petruzelli.  Petruzelli, although unknown to Slice is not unknown to high level MMA competition.  He has fought such notable names as Matt Hamill, Dan Severn, Gan McGee and a host of others.  As soon as word came in that Shamrock would not be fighting and when they announced who his replacement would be, many people realized the same thing Kimbo and his coaches must have also realized causing them not to formally accept the fight until late this afternoon:  Seth Petruzelli was no Ken Shamrock.

At 28 years old and owning a pair of very heavy hands with 8 knockouts in 10 fights to prove it, Petruzelli was poised in a prime position to shock the world.  Except really, why would a win by Petruzelli shock any true MMA fan unless you were one of the ones who got fooled into buying the hype.  What hype is that?  The hype that said Kimbo Slice was one of the top heavyweight Mixed Martial Artists in the world..let me throw up a bit for even putting those words in a sentence.

Is Kimbo popular?  Hell yes he’s popular.  That’s why he’s been given the monicker Kimbo “more publicity than Christ” Slice.  Make no mistake about this, Kimbo Slice was a product.  He was a marketing product no different than the Snickers bar you see  in the checkout line at Wal-Mart.  Some people go ahead and buy the Snickers bar as they checkout.  Other people pass it on by realizing it’s full of calories and a bunch of sugar…it tastes good, but not good for you…much like Slice.  He’s a big, muscular, ferocious, and intimidating looking specimen.  Yet the critics proclaimed, “He’s untested, unproven, an internet sideshow fighting sub par competition.”

But like any good company, EliteXC marketed their product to the fullest extent.  They blew their big shiny black balloon up full of air, painted it with gold designs and made their balloon look better and prettier than anyone else.  But all it took was one little kid to come to the party with a tiny safety pin (or a little-known fighter with a stiff right punch) and poke a hole in the big pretty balloon.  So many man hours it took to blow that big shiny balloon up, yet so quickly the air spewed out shooting the lifeless balloon around the room only to end up deflated and flacid on the floor.  Just fourteen seconds was all it took for the charade to end.

Who can really blame Kimbo?  He did what most any man would do.  He took advantage of some unique opportunities that were presented to him.  One can only hope he didn’t buy into his own hype and that he is truly dedicated to the sport and wants to make a serious career out of it.  It would prove to be sad if this was all a flash in the pan for him and just a way to make a few bucks.  It would be nice to see him learn from this and bounce back.  He spent a full training camp preparing for Shamrock and then at the last moment he had to fight someone else.  Surely that can mess with your mental game.  And in one sense it does take the “sport” out of it.  That is his only saving grace if there is any.

It will be interesting to see where the Kimbo train goes from here.  Will Kimbo still fight on main events when there are title fights on the card?  Will he still get the fight with Shamrock?  What will happen now?  I guess we will have to wait and see.  Credit is due to Kimbo for getting in the ring tonight with him knowing full well what could happen.  He may not be the best Mixed Martial Artist in the world but he’s still a fascinating man and something tells me win or lose, we haven’t seen the last of Kimbo Slice.

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