It appears like an unending length of time prior in the fast-maturing universe of Mixed Martial Arts, however sometime in the past a man named Kimbo Slice was the most talked about contender in the nation.
Slice made his reputation in the mid 2000s, showing up in unsanctioned street fights that were taped and uploaded to the Web in the days when seeing a video on your PC still appeared to be truly perfect.
His bald head, ragged facial hair, gold teeth and courage made him immediately conspicuous, and he turned into a cult figure, even showing up on the cover of ESPN the Magazine in 2008.
Slice’s street fighting reputation — he was said to be 22-1 in the unregulated bouts — earned him a mixed martial arts career. “Kimbo is tailor-made for the age we’re living in,” a mixed martial arts website editor, Adam Swift, told The New York Times at the time. “We’re a Web driven society, a reality-driven society. He has a natural charisma and a marketable look.”
After a couple of bouts in the Elite XC fight league, he got a spot in the top promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. However, while Slice packed a decent punch, his wrestling and other skills were sorely lacking. He washed out of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality indicate and was 1-1 in official U.F.C. battles before being cut in 2010.
In the years since, Slice has turned to boxing and is 7-0 against unheralded rivalry. Presently five years after the fact, he is coming back to mind martial arts for the first time. On Friday in St. Louis, he will battle Ken Shamrock in the Bellator Promotion on Spike TV.
Shamrock’s own long career spans the history of mixed martial arts. It has incorporated an appearance at the very first U.F.C. card, in 1993, and battles against well-known heavyweights like Royce Gracie, Bas Rutten and Tito Ortiz.
Shamrock’s moniker is the World’s Most Unsafe Man, yet like Cut he has been out of the M.M.A. ring following 2010. Also, at 51, he is 10 years more seasoned than Slice.
The two almost fought before, in an exceedingly expected battle in 2008, when Slice was at the peak of his fame. The bout was to be broadcast on CBS, a major showcase for the sport, generally on account of Slice’s popularity. In any case, Shamrock endured a cut in warm-ups and disputably pulled out. A substitution, Seth Petruzelli, continued to knock out Slice in only 14 seconds.
Today, the U.F.C. is aiming for mainstream sports credibility, and fighters like Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey are household names. Friday night’s fight between two aging, evidently washed up fighters who still have name acknowledgment is a return to the good ‘ol days, when everything about mixed martial arts appeared fly-by-nightr, if not dubiously untrustworthy.
Competitors in numerous sports hang nearby well past their prime, infrequently to the point of humiliation. Yet, when the bell rings Friday night, there will undoubtedly be numerous old-school fighting fans hoping Slice and Shamrock bring back a little bit of the wild-and-wooly beginning of M.M.A.
#BellatorMMA don’t miss ‘Kimbo vs. Shamrock’ tonight on Spike TV!
Posted by The Real MMA Talk on Friday, June 19, 2015