December 09, 2009
You may think he sucks and a sham but Kimbo Slice has now proven over and over again that he's a fight promoter's dream. Both of Kimbo's fights on CBS did big numbers and he delivered over 11 millions viewers combined in his two UFC fights on Spike. So as Strikeforce slowly tries to put a dent in the UFC's massive market share of MMA, it must feel like it blew it on Kimbo, right? Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker didn't sound too upset during a conversation on Tuesday with Cagewriter:
Strikeforce bought EliteXC and had the rights to the majority of its contracts earlier this year. It was a natural that part of the deal had to be the acquisition of EliteXC's two biggest drawing cards, Kimbo and Gina Carano. But Strikeforce never seemed very interested in Kimbo. Javier Mendez, the Strikeforce matchmaker at the time, told Cagewriter he didn't think Kimbo was good enough to fight for Strikeforce. Coker echoed similar thoughts:
"I was thinking in my head 'who are we going to match up with?' I just couldn't put it together. Who would we match him up with to fight him, who would be competitive? And so that's why we didn't pick him up."
That can't be the only reason. There always someone out there to create a workable, compelling matchup. That said, it's hard to rip Strikeforce without knowing what the contract terms would've been. EliteXC was paying Kimbo a ridiculous amount to fight on CBS and if Strikeforce had to honor that salary in the $250,000-$500,000 range they made a wise decision. Without knowing the behind the scene bonuses, we do know UFC paid Kimbo $25,000 for his Ultimate Figher 10 Finale battle against Houston Alexander.
Coker added that UFC should enjoy Kimbo while they have him because the ratings bonanza run may not last very long:
"Just like he was for EliteXC, he was a great ratings deliverer for the two or three fights that he fought. At some point, he's going to have to fight real tough competition for people to keep watching."
Is that true, or can the UFC find more than enough standup specialists who can make good fights for Kimbo? Did Strikeforce blow it with Kimbo?
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