Is Kimbo Slice Really Any Good?

Jeremy KaufmanSenior Analyst IOctober 8, 2008

For months, an ongoing debate has taken place between serious and casual MMA fans alike over whether or not Kimbo Slice is a legitimate mixed martial arts fighter. Kimbo has already proven that he has what it takes to win brawls on the streets, but the most knowledgeable of MMA fans have always suspected that his street skills wouldn’t be enough to translate to true success in the octagon.

Last Saturday, Ken Shamrock, who was scheduled to fight Slice in an epic battle, was strangely scratched from the match at the last minute due to an injury he had suffered while sparring. In his place, a relatively unknown fighter by the name of Seth Petruzelli stepped up and accepted the fight against Kimbo. By all accounts, this was a fight Slice should have won easily if there would ever be any hope for him to establish himself as a legitimate MMA fighter. However, things did not quite go as planned.

Within 14 seconds, Kimbo was TKOed and Petruzelli was declared the winner. While this fight was exceptionally short, it did give me time to assess certain glaring weaknesses in Silce’s game. First off, Slice’s standing and ground defense are both far below average. When he went in to attack Petruzelli, Slice left his face wide open for a hook, and was immediately planted onto the ground.

Once on the ground, Slice failed to protect his head or attempt to get himself into a favorable ground position. In fact, at no point did Kimbo even attempt to roll over when he was on the ground; by doing so, Slice would have given himself a direct view of his opponent, and he would have given himself the opportunity to sweep his opponent on the ground. However, he essentially just sat on the ground and took the punishment that he was given.

While Slice has the strength and athleticism to potentially be a great MMA fighter, his current talent level is still very, very low. As a professional MMA fighter, Slice’s only asset is his strong punching strength, a skill that, while valuable, certainly isn’t enough for him to succeed at the professional level.

Before Slice can even be considered an average fighter, he must first learn how to defend himself both while standing as well as on the ground. In addition, he must learn how to counter all different kinds of attacks, as well as how to control the opponent in the ground game.

Furthermore, Slice should learn to utilize his legs more in his attack. While it may take him years to master all of these skills, they are all certainly necessary if he ever hopes to be more than a marketing attraction.