Is Kimbo the Next Butterbean?

That's what John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News thinks :

In the late 1990s, the boxing community unveiled a cartoonish giant named Eric Esch - "Butterbean." A big galoot with no formal training, he got his break via the old bar-brawl contest known as the Toughman series. He was The Next Big Thing.

Except he wasn't, and the farce played a large role in boxing's decline.

Saturday night on CBS, mixed martial arts will unveil a cartoonish giant named Kimbo Slice (actual name Kevin Ferguson, which we'll probably never hear again). Like Butterbean, he is a big galoot with no formal training; his fame derives from street brawls that captured a cult following on YouTube. He is The Next Big Thing.

Instead of being a sign of the downfall, though, Kimbo Slice is the headliner of MMA's long-awaited, much-debated entry into mainstream America.

Times, and sports, have changed.

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