Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kimbo Slices dude's ear

By Rick Morris

I missed most of the EliteXC debut on CBS Saturday night (which was breathlessly stated repeatedly by the announcers to be the first MMA card on network prime time -- OK ,we get it already!), catching only bits and pieces prior to the main event because it was going head to head with Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals. As someone who's only begun to follow mixed martial arts in the past few years, I was interested in the spectacle and really intrigued especially to see how the main event would unfold and I was glad that it came on after the hockey game was done.

Internet sensation Kimbo Slice, perhaps the most polarizing man in the sport, was the man around whom this broadcast was being built. Scoffed at by many UFC superstars and fight purists as an overhyped junkyard brawler, Slice was under the microscope like never before when he stepped in to the ring to face veteran James Thompson.

I would guess strongly that the fight unfolded in a manner that few expected. With confidence bolstered by his training with MMA legend Bas Rutten, Kimbo willingly got on the mat and mixed it up to fairly mediocre results. He almost got choked out at one point and he subsequently almost choked out Thompson, but could not. When on his feet, Slice had some good sequences with punches, but was not able to land a finisher through the first two rounds. To make a long story short, there were a lot of near-misses on both sides through the first two rounds in terms of ending the fight, so that did lead to a certain level of excitement. You could just feel the CBS executives soiling their underwear in fear as Kimbo neared the precipice a few times inasmuch as they staked so much of this venture on his perceived invincibility.

Early in Round Three, Kimbo came out firing and landed a few blows to Thompson's head. One of them ripped his cauliflower ear wide open, causing a gusher of blood. I've frankly never seen anything quite like that; the way that the ear almost seemed to explode with blood and some kind of freaky substance. Don't watch this clip on a full stomach.

Play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson strongly questioned the stoppage, and it may have been somewhat premature, but one wonders how much longer Thompson could have gone on with a freaking bloody alien popping out of the left side of his head.

On, the event was panned as something of a disappointment in a tribute to the intellectual honesty of the network. Of course, this sets up a rematch scenario with Thompson, which works to their benefit. All in all, while the overall card did not live up to the hype based on all reports I've seen, by Kimbo surviving, EliteXC on CBS at least lives to fight another day. Everyone involved better hope that Rutten can continue to help him become a legitimate all-around fighter if this venture is to have any legs, though.

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