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Why MMA Fans Love Kimbo "Street Fighter" Slice

Jake Rossen does some armchair psychology and comes to the conclusion that Slice's street-pugilism feeds our innate desire for violence, reinforces the tendency to uncover hidden male hierarchy, and provides good old fashioned entertainment. Notable quote:

Such undisciplined, unsanctioned activity should be sickening to anyone reputed to be a fan of legitimate fights, but that would ignore human nature. We're programmed for violence, and the more profane, the better.

It's a tasteless admission, but I find Slice's videography to be preferable to the career of a Jens Pulver (Pictures), who is so good at what he does that it often -- as in the case of his UFC title run -- becomes an exercise in mechanical, emotionless performance. There's no urgency in watching two men so learned in defensive posturing that one clean strike out of 50 is cause for celebration.

PRIDE's fanbase, both in Japan and in the States, was due in no small part to that promotion's gleeful insistence on unfiltered violence. Foot stomps, mismatches, size differentials -- fans recognized the primal stakes.

It's no different when we beg athletes to recount their favorite street fighting stories. It may not be Budo, may bring shame to the culture of martial arts, but we delight in it nonetheless. When Bas Rutten (Pictures) talks about throwing someone through a plate glass window, or slapping someone wielding a machine gun, there's a chemical reaction taking place. We like the idea of antagonists being humbled, and we admire those with the constitution to get physical in unpredictable circumstances. There's no shame in appreciating Slice's lurid past or asking Abbott to recite his umpteenth altercation. It's just another campfire story for the testosterone set.

It's good to see more members of the Sherdog staff come to their senses about Kimbo. After all, what he did isn't a great deal worse than the vale tudo of Rio Heroes, something prominently advertised all over their site.