When Kimbo Slice fought in Elite XC, the company was roundly criticized for pushing a man with no experience as a mixed martial artist into main event bouts and having him headline shows on both Showtime and, more significantly, CBS.
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White made no secret of his disdain for Slice's abilities and for the way the now-defunct Elite XC promoted him.
But lo and behold, after Slice accepted an offer to appear on Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter," the UFC is exhibiting much the same behavior that Elite XC and promoter Gary Shaw were so roundly criticized for.
Kimbo Slice is competing on Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter."
(Rich Schultz/AP Photo)
After generating record ratings for the Season 10 opener, the Slice marketing push from the UFC has kicked into overdrive. White has already said Slice will fight again in the UFC, regardless of the outcome of the show.
That may indicate that Slice fares better than expected in the show, but it runs counter to the way White has handled other TUF fighters. He has given contracts to fighters who didn't win on TUF, but it came after the season, not just two weeks in.
Slice will face former International Fight League champion Roy Nelson on Wednesday in a show the UFC and Spike TV are pushing so hard that they held a conference call with Slice on Monday. They're touting it as the biggest fight in TUF history, which is saying a mouthful since White himself credits the TUF 1 finale between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin with saving the company.
Unless Slice somehow defeats Nelson – and I can't see how he can – it's extremely hypocritical of White to give Slice a second shot in the UFC based simply on his popularity.
If Slice wins and defeats Nelson, who is my pick to win the season and earn the UFC contract, then giving him a contract to fight in the UFC is fine.
Other than that, though, giving him a contract is buying into the marketing hype that White so venomously ripped Elite XC for.
If Slice loses and proves not to be a capable mixed martial artist, putting him in the UFC regardless would bring to mind the infamous quote made many years ago by boxing promoter Bob Arum: "Yesterday, I was lying. Today, I'm telling the truth." Finally, please feel free to follow me on Twitter. Now, let's delve into the MMA mailbag.
If Quinton "Rampage" Jackson quits fighting, the only person he will hurt is himself. There is such depth in the UFC's light heavyweight division (not to mention middleweight champion Anderson Silva moving up) that the UFC won't live, die, or even catch a cold depending on whether Jackson fights. Not only that, the only reason anyone would look at him in the film industry is because of his credentials in the UFC. If those credentials were to dry up, so would a lot of the clamor for Jackson.
I totally agree and I also expect Rampage to wise up and announce he's changed his mind again. The reason a lot of the fighters are getting offers of movie roles is because of their visibility as pro fighters. I doubt anyone thinks Rampage is another Jack Nicholson. And if he's not a main event star in the UFC, who is going to offer him a role of substance if he's anything less than sensational in "The A-Team?"
Why is Rampage acting like a 2-year-old that just got his toy taken away from him?
For a guy who can dish it out as much as Rampage does, he sure doesn't seem like he can take it.
I just read the column about the WEC's plans for next year. Instead of putting so much into a brand that isn't called UFC, why doesn't Zuffa just fold the WEC over into the UFC? That way, they use all of the weight classes (excluding super heavyweight, which no one wants to see anyway).
I'm in favor of that move, though I'm not sure there are many in Zuffa who are. The WEC employees certainly want to remain separate. White has had mixed public comments on this issue, so I'm thinking nothing is going to change in the short-term.
Lawal to UFC?
What are the chances that Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal will be signed by the UFC? The UFC's middleweight division is a little thin and there are only about four UFC middleweights who really interest me (Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson and Nate Marquardt). I'm not real interested in seeing the same retreads get knocked out by Silva again and again. I think King Mo would give a needed boost to the UFC middleweight division and I think he could make a serious title run.
When he becomes a free agent, I think the UFC will pursue him ardently.
Odd doings with Overeem
There is no question that Alistair Overeem is on a tear. His performances in MMA and K-1 in Japan have been most impressive. It now looks like he has a realistic shot at winning the K-1 Grand Prix. Straight up, though: Is Overeem using performance enhancing drugs? There has been much speculation about exactly how Overeem has been able to gain so much size in such a short period of time. It is hard to believe that the person who competed in the 2005 PRIDE middleweight tournament is the same person who recently beat Peter Aerts in K-1. He is now a huge heavyweight. In Overeem's defense, he has never failed an official drug test and has stated in interviews that he had to severely dehydrate his body to make the weight limit in PRIDE. While accusing someone of taking PEDs is nothing to scoff at, I need to ask what experts and insiders such as yourself make of the "new and improved" Overeem? The fact that he has fought almost exclusively in Japan (where testing is limited) and refused to fight in the U.S. for Strikeforce (albeit, his management claims that there are contractual issues) only adds fuel to the fire.
Overeem is certainly dogged by the rumors of PED usage, but given no evidence has surfaced, I judge him innocent until proven guilty. It would be best for his career, I believe, to fight a few times in the U.S., both so U.S. fans would become more familiar with him and so he'll be tested (and theoretically pass them). No fighter can like the cloud that hangs over Overeem. I have no way of knowing if he's doing it or not, though I think a lot higher percentage of MMA fighters and boxers are using than are actually being caught by postfight urinalyses.
Cro Cop done for good?
Have you heard anything about Mirko Cro Cop's retirement? I've visited a few websites that claim he's officially called it a career, but I haven't seen anything on Yahoo! sports about it, and I'd think that would be a major story.
He hasn't made his mind up at this stage. I'm guessing he'll choose to retire, because he doesn't look like the same fighter he once was, but I don't believe he's close to a decision yet.
There is lots of talk these days of Mirko hanging it up. I am a big fan of his and have always wanted to see him do well here in the States. He's just never had a fight here in which he appeared to have the killer instinct in his eyes. Light heavyweight is too stacked and it would take him too long to have a run at a belt there, though I think he has some good matchups. I would love to see him fight at least one more time, though, if he does decide to retire. Mirko vs. Chuck Liddell is a compelling fight with a great storyline for Dana to sell. Top strikers of "their" time who have faltered the past 2-3 years. It could be the last BIG fight either could muster and the UFC would put on quite the fan fare.
Long Island, N.Y.
I'm sure that fight would sell well, Jon, but sometimes, it's not always about selling. Fighting is a dangerous business and if one is no longer capable of fighting, he shouldn't fight. Both Mirko and Chuck are competitors and I'm sure aren't happy how their careers have gone recently. But this isn't golf where someone like Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus could play a final tournament to say goodbye to their fans. In the fight game, if you've lost the reflexes to protect yourself properly, you're in serious danger. I don't think anyone wants a tragedy. If both men are capable of fighting and protecting themselves, I have no problem with it and think it would be a good fight. I have my doubts, though, whether it would occur.