By Brady Crytzer
UFC president Dana White has rattled the cages of MMA fans everywhere by announcing that Kimbo Slice, the former golden boy of the organization’s now defunct competitor, would be trying his luck on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. But, after a crushing (and embarrassing) loss to the unheralded Seth Petruzelli in 2008, why should the public be so quick to take Slice back? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Not this time. There is good reason to be genuinely excited about this free agent acquisition…and here’s why. WHY WE SHOULD CARE.
Raw Deal: In the world of professional boxing it would be unheard of to pit a rookie fighter against a twenty fight veteran regardless of ability. Case in point, although he is heralded as a future star in professional boxing, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward has just recently taken the next step in his career against a game Edison Miranda. While ability may have suggested otherwise, Ward used those essential four years to grow and develop into a true title contender.
In his first four fights, Slice faced fighters with a combined total of 83 professional fights, ridiculous in comparison when compared to the aforementioned Ward’s first four opponents totaling 14 bouts. When he faced James Thompson, a nearly 25 fight veteran, Slice was criticized for his sloppy victory. Two professional bouts hardly qualifies him to be placed in that unjust limelight. The Ultimate Fighter is designed for young fighters to be given the chance to grow into true professionals.
Let’s watch Slice take that chance.
IF HE DOES WELL . . .
Ratings Spike: The Ultimate Fighter is the catalyst for the success that the UFC has enjoyed over the last four years. In recent seasons, similar scenarios and mediocre talent has left fans of the hit reality series wanting more. The UFC has made impressive adjustments (such as the “must win” scenario in the opening episodes and the hugely popular “USA vs. UK” concept) and Slice’s presence will take The Ultimate Fighter 10 to a whole new level. Season Ten will feature coaches Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson which will culminate in a fantastic superfight. To put it bluntly, the tenth season of TUF will be the most watched in history.
IF HE WINS . . .
Heavy Hopes: The UFC’s top heavy heavyweight division will get a much needed booster. Regardless of your opinion of him, Slice remains as one of the most fan friendly sluggers in sports since Mark McGuire. While stars like Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir make the UFC’s heavyweight division one of the most exciting in the sport, recent retirement hints left by longtime staples Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira leave an ominously present gap in future plans. After all, The Ultimate Fighter 10 is exclusively featuring heavyweights for a reason.
IF HE LOSES . . .
Curtain Call: The UFC is truly in a no lose situation when considering the prospects of Kimbo Slice. If he wins TUF 10, a fresh, highly marketable star is reborn. If he loses, the UFC can finally close the book on the overhyped mythology that surrounded Kimbo Slice. While the light that surrounds Slice will burn out, a new star will be born…and he’ll be fighting for the UFC.