Last Night: Kimbo Goes Down! Gina, Benji and Andrei Prevail!
October 4, 2008
Better Than: The WWE and the WBA combined.
By now you know: Kimbo Slice got knocked out at the BankAtlantic Center last night. Okay, so it was only a technical knock out, but a TKO that comes 14 seconds into a fight may as well be called a knockout. Hell, if the chatter on the MMA blogs is any indication, it may just have knocked Kimbo out of the cage for good.
And, yes, I missed it. Oh, I was cageside for EliteXC’s Heat all right, but I bounced before the main event. Why? Well, because Ken Shamrock, the cat Kimbo was supposed to fight, bowed out right before CBS went live with the program.
The reason: docs determined “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” was unfit to fight because he “suffered” a small cut above his left eye during day-of training.
That’s the official story anyway. Word around the arena was that Shamrock tried to shakedown the promoters and they weren’t having it. I don’t know, and frankly, I don’t care. If a so-called extreme fighter sissies out of a bout because of a little laceration, he’s no fighter to me. I mean, this is the big, bad dude who’d spent the previous week telling everybody within earshot (including me) that he was gonna “put a beating” on Miami’s favorite brawler, and he can’t get in the cage because of a fucking boo-boo?
Kimbo, on the other hand, manned up, insisted the show must go on, and at the last minute agreed to fight one Seth Petruzelli, a UFC vet who was originally slated to cage against Aaron Rosa. Still it was a disappointing development, for me and for the nearly 10,000 fight fans in the house, and they greeted the news with a resounding chorus of boos.
And, yes, I left. Meaning at the very least I missed witnessing what will be a very pivotal piece in MMA history. Kimbo is the sport’s poster boy, so if he’s out, who the hell else will the punter put up on their walls?
Well, Gina Carano for one, the undefeated knockout who fights for Xtreme Couture. Last night the dame nicknamed “Conviction” put the kinda hurting on opponent Kelly Kobold that I wouldn’t wish on any woman, whether it was by another woman or not. Carano, who in a previous incarnation was known as American Gladiators’ Crush, was methodical in her dispatching. A right fist here, a left fist there, a knee to the face, then repeat. And though Kobold did hold her own for the entire three rounds, she couldn’t hold it strong enough, and after Carano clocked her with a vicious foot to the head near the end of the bout it was all Kobold could do to stay standing for the bell.
(Carefully watching cageside was Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, a Brazilian striker who’d earlier dispatched a stiff-chinned Yoko Takahashi. Watch for a Cris/Gina throwdown in the very near future.)
Another MMA fighter to watch is Benji Radach, a wily West Coaster with a 19-4 record who out-slugged Murilo "Ninja" Rua in what may have been the punch-up of the night. Radach, who had his jaw severely broken a few years back and had to sideline his career till it fully heeled, is one of the good guys, and he seems unanimously well-liked. And with good reason. After all, this is the man who single-handedly foiled an armed robbery attempt at Elmer’s restaurant up in Vancouver, Washington. Actually, foiled might be too light a word to describe the pummeling Benji reportedly gave the gunman.
And if the last three hits that Radach layed upon the face of Rua are any indication, MMA fight fans are in for a whole lot more pummeling down the road.
Then there’s the Belarusian bomber Andrei "Pitbull" Arlovski, another graceful pugilist who seems as courageous (he offered to step in and fight Kimbo after Shamrock pansied out) as he is courteous (not entirely annihilating the tub that was Roy “Big Country” Nelson). But don’t think for a minute that the former UFC heavyweight champ is nice enough to let anybody beat him, not any more anyway, even if they do happen to be the pudgiest pugilist on the planet. And last night the Pitbull pulled no punches or kicks in soundly putting down the round Nelson.
With Kimbo’s future in doubt and rumors swirling about the stability of EliteXC, some might think the sport itself is in jeopardy. But with fighters like Gina and Benji and Andre and Cris, those doubts aren’t necessary. MMA attention may not be on the 305 for awhile, still it’ll be on. And it’s a bet that whatever banner it’s being fought under, it’s gonna stay bloody and unbowed.
Personal Bias: I’m a 305 guy, born and raised, so I’m down for anything that dials-up those digits.
Random Detail: I sat a couple cageside seats away from the Hogans – Brooke, Hulk and two dames whose names I don’t know. Need I say more?
By the Way: I also sat right next to Tom Atencio, head of the powerhouse clothing line Affliction, whose brand name was everywhere anyone turned last night, and who seems set to step up even further into the MMA game. Consider yourself warned.
-- John Hood