While the alleged attempt at fight fixing that took place on Saturday night has become the big news for informed MMA fans, ESPN's hugely popular daily duo of talking head programs gleefully stomped on the sport and Kimbo Slice once again today with some narrow-minded and just plain factually incorrect opinions.
First up was Around The Horn - here's a direct link to download the MP3 podcast - where AOL Sports' Kevin Blackistone and the sportswriter even Chicago couldn't stand, Jay Mariotti, faced off on EliteXC's main event.
Tony Reali: Kimbo Slice didn't just lose last night - or Saturday night, I should say - he lost in fourteen seconds to a guy he wasn't even supposed to fight. How bad is this for the world of mixed martial beatdowns, Mariotti?
Jay Mariotti: Well, this is the most recognizable name in the sport - if you call it that - and all I know is, in his two most publicized bouts - if you call it that - he got beat many months ago, and he got beat in fourteen seconds by some guy filling in, so why should I be watching--
Kevin Blackistone: Because, Jay, this is actually a pretty good thing for the fraudulent sport of MMA, because all the MMA purists argue that Kimbo Slice is a street fighter and not an MMA guy.
TR: While I don't agree with you calling it a fraudulent sport, Blackistone, you do make a pretty good point.
All I can take from this is that Mariotti clearly lives in an alternate universe where James Thompson's ear didn't explode and Kimbo tapped. That, and Reali is a good man for at least attempting to defend the honor of MMA.
Later, Pardon The Interruption - who you may remember had Kimbo on as a guest in late September - discussed the bout in their mailbag segment. It's almost pointless to bag on these guys any further, but here's the full transcript of the segment for those interested. I think Kornheiser's last line says it all.
Michael Wilbon: "I understand why the ref stopped the 'Kimbo versus Petrazooli' match, however if this was a street fight and MMA rules were not in place, do you think Kimbo would have gotten up and pummelled this man?"
Tony Kornheiser: I have to tell ya, I have no sense of the so-called rules, or the MMA rules. I don't know how it works. Here's pretty much what I know: that he was supposed to fight a guy named Shamrock...
TK: ... and Shamrock wasn't fighting. And they went and got another guy off the undercard, a guy with pink hair who may as well have come off the streets here, and he beat him down, he beat Kimbo down - or, as I like to call him, Mister Slice. So I'm just not sure that we're gonna see him in main events from now on.
MW: Don't you think this is just setting up the big pay-per-view rematch? People are so much more cynical [unintelligible] boxing.
TK: Who would watch?
MW: Hey, wait - just 'cause you and I don't watch MMA doesn't mean millions don't watch it. Millions do watch.
TK: A rematch against a guy they took from the stands?
MW: They do this in boxing all the time. Someone would win in 35 seconds, they'd be, "Rematch!"
TK: We know nothing about this. That's it.