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Kimbo Slice to Tank Abbott: "I'ma hurt you, boss."

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God, I love this man. But not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Adam Morgan delves into the issue:

What is it about Kimbo that drives some people away? If you take a minute to listen to the guy talk you'll realize that not only is he well spoken but that he's also taking the sport very seriously. Do you think Bas Rutten and Shawn Tompkins would waste their time with some bum off the street who isn't going to take the sport seriously? Of course not. Bas Rutten has ten million things going on in his life and he happens to also take time out of his schedule to train Kimbo Slice.

If that doesn't tell you the guy is serious about the sport then what will? Is he seriously going to have to fight someone like Randy "Handy" Couture or Fedor Emelianenko before people will take him seriously? I'm not asking you to praise him as a worldbeater because he isn't. We don't know too much about the guy as an MMA fighter. All I ask is that you give the cat some credit for trying the sport the right way and cleaning up his act. What's not to like about a rags to riches story? Or are you all just haters?

Partly, yes. And part of it is just good old fashioned American racism. Kimbo floats a certain urban, street ethic that rubs elements of White America (a large chunk of the MMA fanbase) the wrong way.

Partly, no. The fact of the matter is that Kimbo is taking the right steps towards legitimacy, but in truth still has much to prove. He is in many ways similar to Brock Lesnar, but instead of a NCAA heavyweight wrestling championship he's got fights on YouTube. The fact of the matter is that when you combine his street appeal with a lack of real credentials, people raise doubts.

The difference for me is that he is where he is. He cannot fast forward his career to a point of legitimacy, he can only build upon what exists. For my money, he's taking the first correct steps. Fighting Tank, as much as those who know nothing think that proves nothing, proves a lot. Tank won't take Kimbo into deep waters, but he's not ready for that anyway. What Tank will do is test his resolve after being hit and he will test his chin. Tank's wild style and heavy hands will also test Kimbo's technical acumen. The fighters that beat Tank easily are the ones who can absorb a few of his punches and can technically out strike him. If Kimbo can do that, he can build from there.

But yes, a lot of his critics are simply racist. They won't admit it, but their animosity is so over the top given the circumstances. If Kimbo was a white fellow named "James Smith" who was a country farmer who loved his country and tried to feed his family by holding fights in his backyard which somehow made their way to the Internet, he would be applauded for his success.