Kimbo Slice - One of a Kind - Bellator's new tribute to the backyard folk-hero

You were what you were and you are what you are. Fuck that regrets bullshit.

Irvine Welsh, Porno

Brendan Schaub is the butt of many jokes in the MMA social media world, with good reason really, and early on in Bellator’s new Kimbo Slice feature - ONE OF A KIND - he dishes what is probably his scalding fire-y hot take of the week when he says that Kimbo Slice is one of the four best/most influential MMA fighters of all time. More precisely that Kimbo belongs "on the Mount Rushmore or you don’t know shit about MMA." Look Brendan, let’s be real pal, you’ve officially become the shitty ESPN-talking head whose job it is to say dumb shit. Five stars. Enjoy the craft service M&Ms. Please take Luke Thomas with you for whatever crappy Showtime rip-off Pardon the Interruption show you boys have planned.

This video starts with a metaphor I don’t understand at all: "[Kimbo] was a zebra amongst the sheep. He didn’t want to be a zebra. But goddamn was he a zebra. He ran with that [zebra?] title." Thanks Brendan.

Oh Jesus, I just realized with their pivot to Showtime Brendan’s probably going to be a bigger part of the Bellator broadcast going forward… Fuck! They have Robin Black already!… Those two combined would just leech out audience brain power to an alarming degree… The brain waves will be converted and funnelled to operate some COVID reverse-vaccination device… I truly might have to jump ship, Bellator. And drown myself. The endless jingoistic propaganda at the Hawaii shows has nearly put me over the edge already, but this too! I try to support you Bellator, I really do, but you sure do make me jump through a lot of stupid hoops to watch some MMA.

r/MMA - Mike Goldberg and John McCarthy get their Hawaii on at Bellator Salute The Troops

Ugh, enough then, on to the Kimbo show, which is the reason I am here and actually is a bit of a case in point of Bellator’s style. It’s uncritical hagiography for the most part; a glossy PR tribute, and boring as a result. Outside of fighting, I personally remember Kimbo Slice for his random appearances as a background heavy in Bang Bros porn vids, not really for his family life or charitable ventures, though I’m sure he did that too. Unsurprisingly, they gloss over this crucial part of Kimbo’s CV, despite the fact they interview Kimbo’s agent (who also happens to be the guy who started the porn site - I believe the dude on the right).

If you don’t know, and you really probably should if you’re reading this, outside of porn shoot security, Kimbo is most known for his youtube street fights, which he spun into a surprisingly successful and lucrative career as a boxer, MMA fighter, and all-around celebrity. Here you can see him fuck up Tank Abbot in his first professional proving ground, Elite XC.

But how was Kimbo as a fighter, you ask? Mostly Kimbo had a great presentation and was a lot of fun to watch starch dudes who couldn’t stay out of his way or take him down. That said, he actually seemed like a super humble dude with a sincere interest in learning the finer points of MMA on TUF 10, which I recall being my favorite season outside of the first (and whichever one had Nate). In that season, we also got the aforementioned Mr. Schaub, Coach Rampage, Meathead Matt Mitrione, and Big Country Roy Nelson (the latter two beat Kimbo in the UFC). Quite the gang of current Bellator employees!

So, I suppose I return to the question I started off with, scoffing so heartily at Schaub, where does Kimbo fit in MMA history? He undeniably made a lot of money and got a lot of eyes. At the time, he was among Bellator’s biggest star and one of the biggest draws in MMA. Now the most direct comparison on the Bellator roster is probably Michael Page, but Page is a much more skilled fighter. Anyway, that’s not quite right. Thinking about this more, I believe I would give Kimbo Slice a similar position in MMA history as Bob Sapp, and though Bob is a legend, top four he ain’t. Wow, think about that one though: Kimbo vs. Bob Sapp… man, would definitely watch.

World Freefight Challenge 16 With Bob Sapp, Slovenia K1 Kickboxing, Combat Sport, Mixed Martial Arts, Male Form, Muscle Men, Hot Guys, Hot Men, Black Men, Wrestling

Thinking about each of their last fights is not quite so welcoming however. I can’t find Kimbo against Dada-5000 online anywhere, but I watched it live (on TV) and I remember it being really bad and sad and literally near fatal. I also watched Bob Sapp’s last fight against Osunaraashi live (on TV), which was a terrible fight by MMA standards, but I also remember laughing and having a great time.

So, Kimbo Slice – ONE OF A KIND. Yes, he definitely was, but no, this show definitely isn’t. It’s been made a million times about a million different subjects, with nothing much unique or challenging to say. It seems weirdly timed (released on the four year, one week anniversary of his death – a little last minute editing?) and extremely saccharine – it ends with Schaub holding back tears for fuck’s sake. Ultimately, the Fight Prose verdict is it’d be more a more fruitful 40-minute tribute to the man to watch his youtube fights and some Bang Bros, in whatever order works for you.

(This video is also a good overview of all of Kimbo’s fights, amateur, pro, and boxing.)

RIP Mr. Slice.

PS. If you liked what you read, please stop by Fight Prose and subscribe. If you missed the last Fight Prose Movie Night: Walking Tall, you missed the ultra-violent 1973 real-life story of retired pro wrestler Buford Pusser. Up next week is 2003's Pride 26: Bad to the Bone.

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