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The Case for Kimbo Slice as a Main Event Fighter

Listen to this interview with Kevin Iole (conducted by Steve Cofield). I sympathize partly with Iole's position because his beef is less that Slice isn't someone to watch and more that it's obscene that a geriatric Tank Abbott is still being booked to fight. But I also find Iole's argument about Kimbo vs. Tank puzzling. For starters, he neglects to mention the Edwards vs. Berto fight as one to watch, which to me is gross oversight. Notwithstanding, what Iole fails to realize is that this was Kimbo's second fight. For a second professional fight, Abbott is the perfect opponent. Don't believe me? Go to local shows. Go find any fighter taking on his second challenge. Maybe he fights an unknown world-beater, but chances are you'll see some questionable opposition. The problem for folks like Iole is that even if they find what I'm suggesting acceptable, they still believe Slice should be relegated to the undercard. But even that is silly. Does anyone really believe Saturday's Elite XC card could've been carried by Silva vs. Rodriguez or Smith vs. Noke? Please. It just so happens that the two least accomplished fighters on the cards are the ones who can bring attention to the rest of the event. That may not be ideal, but it's the reality of the situation. Granted, this turns the idea of the main event on it's head, but beggars (Elite XC) cannot be choosers (UFC). And even the casual fan can take a look at Tank Abbott and realize this is not the most formidable opponent in mixed martial arts. I'm not sure a whole lot of mammals watched that fight and wondered how Couture would fare against the Miami brawler. What Kimbo is doing is using his fame to his financial and marketing advantage, while realizing all the hype isn't going to make him a better fighter. He knows he has to earn that the old fashioned way. But if he can get paid six figures to do just that instead of $600, is that really anything we should find that worthy of our contempt?

The sour grapes of better fighters who can't put asses in seats as Slice can shouldn't detract from the reality of the situation. While Slice's novice status seems that he should be precluded from main event status, this is a new era of MMA where that old traditional arrangement doesn't necessarily have to hold true. Kimbo is developing his career the right way and doing so in the main event spotlight. By the time he's ready to fight a real contender, the main event status won't even affect him. And then, perhaps, all the critics will be silenced. He's not ready now. Not by a long shot. But I don't decry him his path. He's gaining invaluable experience as a green main event fighter. UFC jitters? Not for this old pro.