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UFC finds a reason for you to watch TUF and his name is Kimbo Slice

By Zach Arnold | June 1, 2009

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From CBS headliner to reality show scrub, Dana White gets his biggest coup of all. If Rampage Jackson and Rashad Evans end up as the coaches for the season that Kimbo is competing on, you will have the three highest-profile African American MMA fighters on an important cable television program. Kimbo will be the face for next season’s all-heavyweight show.

So much for Gary Shaw pushing Kimbo as his newest boxing sensation… which begs the question, why didn’t Kimbo Slice take K-1’s big money offer for New Year’s Eve last year? It’s not as if losing there would have damaged his stock any more if he was going to end up doing The Ultimate Fighter.

Now… one important issue to note. Steve Cofield says Gary Shaw is Kimbo’s manager. If true, that means Dana White is working with Gary Shaw… which brings us to Dana’s infamous promo on Shaw when the whole Kimbo/Petruzelli incident went down in Florida.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 75 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

75 Responses to “UFC finds a reason for you to watch TUF and his name is Kimbo Slice”

  1. The Gaijin says:

    Isn’t this Kimbo being used how he should have been all along? A complementary attraction to the show rather than the undeniable centre of attention that was getting fed some pretty limited competition, but being billed as a legitimate heavyweight contender?

    A guy can be a draw based off things other than pure ring ability, but when you’re trying to dress up the pig with lipstick and say he’s a legit HW it’s pretty apparent.

    In this case – yes he’s got his “internet streetfighting legend” aura (though greatly diminished) and he’s fighting guys that are of his caliber and no one is going to (a) deny he’s working his way up from the ground floor or (b) that he’s fighting the very best HW talent in the UFC.

  2. Fan Futbol says:

    Gaijin in #51:

    I think you’re spot on.

    FF

  3. Oops! says:

    Sean Gannon vs Brandon Lee Hinkle – Freak Show 1#
    Ken Shamrock/Tito Ortiz maybe 2#

    I know I’ll be chearing on Jim York.

  4. Dave says:

    Maybe bring Gannon back for a fight with Kimbo?

  5. Ivan Trembow says:

    But Dave, that would be “an affront to Dana White’s life’s work,” as Dan Wetzerl put it. 😉

  6. Zack says:

    “Maybe bring Gannon back for a fight with Kimbo?”

    I have a strange feeling Gannon may be on the show.

  7. klown says:

    I don’t mind Bisping getting a shot although he probably doesn’t stand a chance against Silva.

    I’m not at all thrilled at the prospect of Silva-Henderson II, for a number of reasons:

    1- I hate rematches and especially when there is no compelling reason – no controversy, no close split decision, no marked change in either fighter’s style or skill

    2- Although I rank Henderson #2 at MW, it’s still a mismatch. Compare, for example, each fighter’s respective performance against Rich Franklin. Two brutal knockouts for Silva, practically a draw for Henderson

    3- Silva has a limited number of fights left in his career. There are many exciting prospects at LHW, and a couple of deserving potential champions at MW who deserve their chance (no matter how far fetched). What a shame to waste one of his last fights on a pointless rematch…

  8. Alan Conceicao says:

    Isn’t this Kimbo being used how he should have been all along? A complementary attraction to the show rather than the undeniable centre of attention that was getting fed some pretty limited competition, but being billed as a legitimate heavyweight contender?

    There’s no question based on the attention you’re seeing that the primary interest in TUF this year will be Kimbo. Period. Whether or not he’s being “billed as a legitimate contender” doesn’t matter. Its funny to see people keep repeating that, as if being more open about being a freakshow makes it not a freakshow.

  9. Ivan Trembow says:

    The next stop on the Hypocrisy Train will be Kimbo still getting a fight on the main card of TUF 10’s live finale, even after he is inevitably eliminated from the tournament.

  10. Alan Conceicao says:

    Well, it might not be too inevitable. Apparently there’s four NFL players showing up on TUF and none of them are Rex Richards. So right now, 4 NFL rejects including one 30 year old with a single amateur fight to his name. But its not a freakshow! Because, you know, its on cable. I guess.

  11. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    A million (even before taxes) would more than set me up for life. If you need more than that, then you’re not thinking creatively.

  12. Alan Conceicao says:

    A million after taxes in this country is about $600,000. Unless you’re in your 50s or 60s I’m not sure how you’d get by for a few decades off that alone, no matter how brilliantly you invest it. Maybe if you decide that you don’t need cable, a car, or kids…

  13. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    TUF doesn’t even have sanctioned pro fights, they’re exhibitions right up until the finale. Getting worked up about Kimbo on TUF is absolutely ridiculous. He’ll either bomb out or he won’t, he’ll either make the final or he won’t, and chances are really good that unless he’s seriously injured in the process he’ll be on the card for the televised final by hook or by crook.

    That’s the reality of the situation as I see it, and frankly I can think of less deserving and generally just worse people *cough*Junie Browning*cough* in this world.

  14. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I don’t know about your retirement, but mine includes moving to a small developing nation and living like a king. It doesn’t take a whole lot of cash to do that.

  15. Alan Conceicao says:

    Yeah, I could live in a bungalow on some Thai beach…but then I’d probably have to get divorced and find a bunch of new hobbies that won’t eat money like the ones I have now. So yeah, probably not gonna work for me. Definitely not gonna work for a guy living in Miami with a bunch of kids on child support like Kimbo, unless you’re suggesting he take his money and become a deadbeat dad.

  16. IceMuncher says:

    “Really? Is that why he signed Sean Gannon in 2005 stemming from the notoriety that Gannon gained from beating Kimbo in an unsanctioned, YouTube street fight?”

    If Dana really was as bad as you say he was, you could come up with a laundry list of examples, not just one or two less than poignant instances that occurred over the course of half a decade or longer.

    Seriously, step back a second and look at the big picture. We’re heading up to UFC 99, and you had to reach back all the way to UFC 55. Why? Is it because Dana’s been playing it straight and you can’t find a single strong example in over 40 UFC cards that supports your irrational opinions?

  17. IceMuncher says:

    Alan, you seem to be the only person who can’t see the obvious differences. It doesn’t speak highly of your ability to comprehend positions other than your own.

    The problem with Kimbo wasn’t that he was a “freakshow” trying to become a pro MMA fighter. Good for him. He was even going about it the right way by training with Bas.

    Most critics, like myself and 45 if I recall his stance correctly, weren’t upset at that part. The problem we had was he was getting fed handpicked cans while fighting as the main event of the most watched televised MMA events in North America, and the media was pushing him as one of the most dangerous MMA HW fighters of all time. He was on the cover of ESPN the magazine for crying out loud, which puts him as the only MMA fighter to do so other than Chuck Liddell, a legitimately established legend in the sport.

    Kimbo didn’t deserve any of that, and still doesn’t. Never will.

    TUF showcases up and coming fighters that maybe aren’t quite UFC level, at least yet, but with wins or an impressive showing or two they may earn the chance to fight on UFC cards for 8k/8k and advance their career.

    It’s a perfect fit for Kimbo. Sure, it gives him a public spotlight like all TUF fighters, most of whom are undeserving and ultimately go nowhere in MMA. However, while TUF alum may be widely known, they aren’t pushed by the UFC or recognized by the fans/media as top fighters until they prove it in the UFC. They’re considered potential stars that earned a chance to fight in the UFC. It’s a very big difference.

    Of course, I fully expect you to ignore the core of the position and ramble on meaninglessly about “freakshow” this or that. Looking back, I’m not sure why I even bothered typing all this.

  18. Ivan Trembow says:

    Don’t leave out what I was responding to. The full post that I made was this:

    “This sentence by Dan Wetzel is hilarious: “No one was more troubled at the [Kimbo] farce than UFC president Dana White, who painstakingly built up the sport from its dark ages and saw Kimbo as an affront to his life’s work.”

    Really? Is that why he signed Sean Gannon in 2005 stemming from the notoriety that Gannon gained from beating Kimbo in an unsanctioned, YouTube street fight?”

    So no, it’s not a stretch to regard that statement as ridiculous. Kimbo’s popularity was certainly not “an affront to the life’s work” of someone who signed a fighter (Sean Gannon) because of the notoriety that fighter gained from beating Kimbo in an unsanctioned fight, and that signing happened two years before EliteXC signed Kimbo himself.

  19. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    So Yahoo sports is a media outlet that covers UFC with a balanced eye these days? I think we’ve all got a long list of stupid stuff that they’ve said that would seem to be at best self-serving drivel written by Dana White under a couple of butt-ugly pen names, and that’s just from reading FO’s comments.

    If we’re going to fact-check them, fine, if we’re just going to say that they’re still writing awful pieces that don’t seem to have a single Iole of journalistic integrity or independence, then I think it’s been said now.

  20. Alan Conceicao says:

    Alan, you seem to be the only person who can’t see the obvious differences. It doesn’t speak highly of your ability to comprehend positions other than your own.

    Trust me, I’m not worried if you and a couple of revisionist bloggers think I’m not right about this.

    Most critics, like myself and 45 if I recall his stance correctly, weren’t upset at that part. The problem we had was he was getting fed handpicked cans while fighting as the main event of the most watched televised MMA events in North America, and the media was pushing him as one of the most dangerous MMA HW fighters of all time.

    My memory is that Kimbo was being elevated to that level because he was a rather charismatic street brawler who came to fame via beating up random people in backyards and having the results posted on the net. How “dangerous” he was was almost always put in context by the media, and for good reason, given that he was, by all accounts and results, a fraudulent contender.

    He’s on TUF not because he’s suddenly transitioned to being a real serious MMA fighter, he’s there to jump ratings for a show that barely creeps into the 1s. And that’s fine! Just like I laughed my ass off at Jose Canseco throwiing TKD kicks, I’ll laugh at Kimbo getting into a shoving match with some random drunkard.

  21. Mr. Dream says:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mma/blog/cagewriter/post/TUF-10-Media-Day-Kimbo-has-a-special-contract-w?urn=mma,167631

    Dana: “He’s got the same TUF deal. He’s got a contract if he wins the show. If he makes it into the UFC his contract is different, a lot [expletive] different. And it’s a good one. That’s his carrot. If he can do this, he can make some real money.”

  22. Mark says:

    TUF was awesome for the first 3 seasons because you had such a pool of great fighters who had a lot of experience in the minor leagues who were immediately ready for the big stage. Now fighters like that have already made it to the UFC or have been signed up by rival companies in the MMA boom. The guys left don’t have enough experience to get excited about, so the show is now personality driven.

    Ever since TUF peaked with Season 3, the only stand outs getting significant write-ups the next day seem to be the guys who play the tried and true reality tv route of causing controversy on camera to get noticed. It’s all about CB, Junie, or Jesse acting like dicks to get attention, rather than the fights themselves. So to complain that NOW the show is ruined of its credibility because of Kimbo coming on is late. People stuck a fork in it after Junie wasn’t fired.

  23. Alan Conceicao says:

    Dana: “He’s got the same TUF deal. He’s got a contract if he wins the show. If he makes it into the UFC his contract is different, a lot [expletive] different. And it’s a good one. That’s his carrot. If he can do this, he can make some real money.”

    Truth: Somewhere in between the lines. Does anyone think he’s throwing off big paydays from K-1 to fight for basically nothing? Or a 4/4 contract if he doesn’t win the show? There’s a lot of people desperate to make this something other than what it is for their own emotional sake, and its beyond hilarious to watch. Zuffa literally can do no wrong.

  24. Nepal says:

    Alan,

    Really you need to chill out. Your arguments are just tiring, I know I don’t have to read them but I’m bored and I did read them. You are just coming across as a hater. You feel the way you feel and that’s fine but there is little need to try to force feed your opinion onto others. It’s message board so of course you can but you at this point just appear to be a negative person with nothing better to do than point out negativity. It’s not even that I think you’re all wrong, it’s just that it’s a free market and what drives business drives business and that’s ok. You can argue semantics all day but Kimbo is a big name and (big) if he can perform on TUF, then fantastic for all, MMA and UFC will push further towards mainstream. If he can’t perform at all, Dana won’t put him in the UFC. As much as Dana wants to drive the business upwards, he is more and more trying to build UFC on value and there is less need to build freak shows or even try to leverage of a nobody like Gannon anymore.

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