I initially opposed Kimbo's entrance into MMA, then supported it briefly, and now I'm mostly against it again.
But where Kimbo lost me was when he immediately challenged Tank Abbott to be his next opponent. That's when it started to look like he had no interest in becoming a real MMA fighter. He just wants to make some quick cash thumping on very beatable has-beens.
So fine, why shouldn't he get paid? We all sell what we have, whether it's violence or business acumen or, in the case of the ring girls, the ability to smile and hold a sign at the same time.
But does anybody think this fight will actually be interesting to watch? It's being sold purely on name value, which the promoters hope will be enough to get butts in the seats. And while it may be enough to draw a certain type of crowd, you have to wonder what people are coming to see. An MMA fight between two skilled, ambitious competitors? No. A backyard brawl with different scenery and six dollar beers? Probably.
Of course, he could always land a big haymaker and upset Kimbo, but what would that do to change the landscape of the MMA world or your perception of either fighter? It's not that I'm against this fight. I'm just against the reasons for this fight.
Riddle me this Ben, how is Kimbo vs Tank any different than Matt Hughes vs Royce Gracie or any of the Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock fights the UFC treated us to in the last couple of years?
How is it that the late PRIDE was so often held up as the gold standard of world-wide MMA when their bread and butter was spectacles, many of them more grotesque and less competitive than Kimbo/Tank?
If your objection to the Kimbo/Tank fight is not the fight, but the "reasons for the fight" why are you not objecting to the rumored Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva matchup? That match certainly has little bearing on the rankings and is solely being promoted to put butts in seats.
Takanori Gomi himself defended the spectacle approach to MMA matchmaking in a (now deleted) interview on Sherdog:
"It's necessary, so it's not really a bad thing," Gomi says. "You can't have title fight after title fight after title fight, because most people will not be able to follow it and get involved. You need to have entertainment for those who don't watch too often or may be watching for the first time to say, `Ah, those fights were entertaining. Let's watch this show again, next time they put on one.' Besides, doesn't your country enjoy fighters like Charles Bennett?"