This weekend, UFC 114 will be headlined by Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson, a battle between former champions and TUF 10 coaches. The bout is probably one of the most anticipated non-title fights in history, getting a lot of mainstream press coverage and "casual-fan" interest. Why is there so much fan interest for this fight? It is a number - one contender fight, but so was Hardy vs. Swick and no one really cared about that fight.
Coaches have fought many times following their stints on TUF, but never has there been so much build up like there is for Rampage and Evans. The season sucked, with almost every fight ending in unspectacular fashion and culminating in Roy Nelson winning the show which everyone knew was going to happen anyway. But the rating were amazing, and Kimbo Slice was the main attraction. On a show with some decent fighters, former NFL players, and 2 of the most interesting coaches yet, Kimbo Slice was by far the draw for the show and was prominently featured every week, whether he was doing anything or not. He lost his only fight on the show and then refused a fight due to his knee being shot.
At UFC 113, Kimbo comes out, looks good for about 15 seconds, and gets beat up by "Meathead" Matt Mitrione. He then gets cut, everyone thinks he sucks, and will probably end up as the second coming of Bob Sapp. No one really know what his effect on the PPV buys for UFC 113 was, but no one in the build up for this fight has discussed the impact his presence on TUF will have on the PPV buys for UFC 114. Without Kimbo, TUF 10 would have just been another boring Ultimate Fighter season and nothing really good to speak of. The coaches would have still hated each other, but no one would have watched. With Kimbo, everyone got to see months of Rampage and Rashad trash talking and really got alot of people excited for a grudge match.
Maybe I am crazy. Maybe he has nothing to do with it. But I think that the UFC chose there coaches for this season of TUF to get the most PPV buys he could from this fight. Dana White knew that Kimbo wasn't going to be a headlining draw for the UFC, but if he could relay his drawing power into something else, he could make out huge. This fight is a huge fight, and I think we have to thank Kimbo a little bit for making this fight even bigger.
What say you?