MMA Flashback: Kimbo Slice And Elite XC Debut On CBS

By Ross Everett

It wasn’t the decisive blowout that EliteXC was hoping far to send Kimbo Slice’s stardom into the stratosphere but with some seriously tense moments for the former street fighter against a game James Thompson everyone concerned is likely happy with a victory of any sort. Kimbo at times displayed some surprising skill on the ground, while at other times looked amateurish and lost. Slice clearly had the edge in the standup exchanges, and appeared to have Thompson on the verge of going down for the count several times in the fight.

This strategy worked well for Thompson until the final round. With both fighters faces showing the effects of their opponents punches, Kimbo stalked Thompson around the cage looking for a big punch. Though “The Colossus” kept his feet through several punishing combinations, the beginning of the end came when a Slice punch nearly sheared his ear off. The bloody, grotesque ear was clearly at risk of being seriously damaged and Kimbo punctuated this with four or five uncontested power punches. Thompson by this point was out on his feet and the ref jumped in to bring the proceedings to a halt giving Kimbo a TKO victory. After the fight an exhausted and relieved Slice flopped onto the mat, clearly relieved to have survived the toughest test hes faced in his embryonic MMA career.

While Thompson and his corner complained of an early stoppage, given the severity of the ear injury and the four or five uncontested power shots by Kimbo its a tough case to make. Furthermore, it was consistent with the officiating all night which obviously was trying to err on the side of caution in the first MMA event on prime time major network television. The ref was quick to call several of the earlier bouts, and the ringside physician was involved in two more bouts. Clearly, everyone concerned wanted to take no chances and risk an ugly late stoppage or serious injury with a huge broadcast TV audience”many of whom were assumed to be MMA neophytes. The fights on the card that ended by stoppage could have arguably been called a second or two early, but as the old saying goes better a second too early than a second too late.

Despite the tough test faced by Kimbo Slice, EliteXC overall has to be very happy with how the event came off. The presentation was highly professional all night, and the announcing was superb. There was no question that Gus Johnson and Mauro Ranallo are solid pros, and Frank Shamrock is obviously a well spoken and experienced expert commentator but the three meshed together exceptionally well.

The emphasis from the start was on selling the sport of MMA, with the promotion taking a secondary role. This was done via nicely produced and informative instructional videos, which would be helpful to a first time MMA viewer but didnt come off as sophomoric to the seasoned aficionado. Given the often unpredictable nature of the sport, EliteXC has to be pleased with how everything came off and the results of the fights on the card.

Overall, it was a professionally produced and entertaining night of action. The end result is that both of their marquee names among the general public–Slice and Carano–remained undefeated.

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