Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock, EliteXC Embarrass Themselves and Sport of MMA
That is the sole word that comes to mind after the debacle that closed last night's EliteXC show on CBS.
In case you missed it, Ken Shamrock decided to do some grappling Saturday morning (uncharacteristic if you listen to brother Frank) and got a cut over his eye that required stitches.
That decision resulted in him pulling out of his much-hyped battle against mainstream star Kimbo Slice...you know, the match that EliteXC was counting on to pop a big rating and extend this deal with CBS?
Enter some guy named Seth Petruzelli, he of the then-10-4 record and 205 pounds, signed to compete on the non-televised undercard.
As word spread about Shamrock's injury, EliteXC scrambled to find someone to step in against Slice, and after considering Frank Shamrock (yes, the color commentator was being considered to step in with Slice), Petruzelli got the call.
Slice accepted the fight (taking a cash bonus to do so, which kinda blows up that perception of wanting to fight any man at any time) and it was on.
Fourteen seconds later, it was off. Petruzelli attacked Slice with a flurry of punches that knocked him down, and the referee jumped in to call the fight.
A bit early? Perhaps, but the bloodied Slice wasn't doing anything and didn't exactly jump up to protest. Just like that, Slice's carefully-crafted image as a mainstream bad-ass was eliminated and the EliteXC deal with CBS is likely to follow.
In one night, EliteXC did more damage to the sport of MMA in the mainstream than I could ever imagine. Why is this so bad?
I was watching with some very average MMA fans when this all went down, and the reaction wasn't good. The emotion was one of feeling shafted, screwed and lied to.
They didn't care, nor understand, about the reasons Shamrock was out. They just knew the match they wanted to see wasn't going to happen. It's hard to get that kind of attention back without having that feeling attached with it.
I also thought announcer Mauro Ranallo's attempt to shift the focus away from Shamrock being out was appalling. Sometimes, you have to call a turd a turd, you know?
Who's the star?
Slice has looked below average in two straight fights and was exposed as a green fighter, but Petruzelli's win didn't exactly siphon the star power away from him.
I don't care if people are calling him the "Modern-Day Rocky." Granted, he got the win, but if they were to have a rematch, would you care? Yeah, me neither.
Gina Carano is now the face of EliteXC. Can you imagine if she lost last night? You want to rest your organization on a sole female fighter who still struggles to make weight?
Seriously, have you ever heard of this happening with a main event on the day of the card? I have been watching boxing, MMA, and wrestling for roughly 20 years, and I can't ever remember a case of a fighter in this position being this careless with this much on the line.
Shouldn't Shamrock know better? Even his brother was baffled at his brother's training regimen. Can you imagine Oscar De La Hoya, Randy Couture, or Anderson Silva billed for a main event and then putting themselves in the position to get injured on the day of the show? It's mind-boggling to me.
When Nelson came out, there was laughter in the room due to his appearance. The group I was with didn't care about his brown belt or past championships; they thought he looked like a fat trucker.
Sure, I understood his background, and so did many other MMA fans across the country, but when you're trying to grab ratings and help legitimize the sport in the public's eyes, Nelson probably wasn't a great choice to throw out there.
Sorry, but sometimes the look is more important than the substance. That's how the game works. Combined with everything else that happened, it probably was a bad choice even if it "could have been a main event anywhere in the country," per Ranallo.
On a positive note, Carano managed to pull out another victory and looks poised to head toward a big fight with 'Cyborg' Santos, but will there be anyone to watch? Slice's definitive loss took away Elite's last major draw, so they are effectively done with CBS.
I can't imagine the network putting their trust in an organization that is so, well, un-UFC like. Nights like Saturday don't happen in the UFC for a reason: they're too well-run and they take precautions so their main events actually happen, especially with this much on the line.
Hemorrhaging money, EliteXC had one last chance at staying on the merry-go-round, and they blew it.
Hopefully, MMA's perception in the public eye didn't go down with Slice.
Josh Nason started Ropes, Ring and Cage in 2007 and is the main contributor of content for the site. A long-time writer, his work can also be read at sites like SmallWhiteBall.com, EmailMarketingGuy.com and others.
He also does radio appearances and was on TV once, notably giving Razor Ramon a thumbs-down during a crowd pan of WWF Wrestling Spotlight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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