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ESPN posts some racist shit

We’ve already had the conversation about whether or not hating on Kimbo Slice makes you racist. My conclusion is that there’s a venn diagram going on where racists hate Kimbo because they’re stupid racists, but then there’s a whole bunch of other people who hate Kimbo because his picture is in the dictionary next to the word “Overhyped”. But I didn’t realize there was a third group of people out there: black people who hate Kimbo because they think he makes them look bad. Check out some excerpts from ESPN’s LZ Granderson:

  • “Why else would Slice disregard all sense of honor, pride and history to project an image that can best be described as a cross between Lil’ Wayne and Kunta Kinte — a runaway slave with a mouth full of gold teeth playing up every single stereotype of an African-American male in exchange for short-lived adoration from a soulless media with ADD.”
  • “In a recent photo shoot with ESPN The Magazine, a shirtless Slice makes a variety of menacing/coonish facial expressions that are uncomfortably close to those of a caged animal, which he is routinely referred to online.”
  • “And the YouTube clip mentioned earlier is pretty close to a lynch mob environment. All of which he seems to be playing up as part of his act.”
  • “Slice and his Gus from “Birth of a Nation” persona are headed toward stardom. And I thought Flavor Flav getting his own show was a low point for black Americana.”
  • “I understand this “clowning for dollars” mentality is not unique to black men. But since we make up 41 percent of the country’s inmates (according to the U.S. Department of Justice), the last thing we need is folks conjuring up images of Amos ‘n’ Andy.”
  • “If people want to coon for the camera under the guise of artistic expression or freedom of speech, that is indeed their right.”

Keep in mind these are just highlights (or lowlights) from this guy’s article, which quite simply just blows my fucking mind. I’ve spent a good hour writing stuff, deleting it, writing it again, and then deleting it again. This is a seriously complicated issue that boils down to this: there are black people out there who are sick of the way media is portraying them and angry with other black people who fall into those stereotypes. Is that a valid opinion? Maybe. Is Kimbo the one who should be getting the brunt of this guy’s anger? Fuck no.

How this column got past ESPN’s editors I have no idea. I’ve never read a more racist thing in my life. Contrary to popular opinion, no you don’t get to say whatever racist shit you want about black people just because you’re black. I imagine he thinks he can dress this up like it’s some kind of pious race discussion when all he’s doing is throwing out an A-Z of racist vocabulary in Slice’s direction. You want a summary of what LZ Granderson is trying to say? “Kimbo Slice is a nigger, and I don’t like niggers.”

What. The. Fuck.

  • Jeremy (not that Jeremy)

    Just because something is a stereotype doesn’t mean it’s not true in some cases.

    For instance, I’m from Massachusetts, and I am indeed an asshole (a “Masshole” if you will). However, that doesn’t mean that the stereotype will be true for everyone you meet from Massachusetts.

  • frickshun

    I commented on this @ BE’s site. What a fucking moron. If a white fighter makes menacing faces, does that make them a “wigger” (wafrican-american)? This fool must really be a big Dead Prez fan (so am I though).

  • Ben

    Jeremy… as a Bostonian, I gotta say, maybe that wans’t the best example. Pretty sure we really are all assholes.

  • winklepicker

    Maybe we should wait for Deion Sanders to weigh in?

  • Jemaleddin

    Intra-cultural fights so often fall into two camps. In the case of the black community: “Kimbo is too stereotypically black” or “Obama isn’t black enough.” What? Huh? What’s the right amount of blackness?

  • Ben F

    This is…weird. I agree with the Venn diagram theory on how racism plays into Kimbo Slice reactions, though something makes me think that this article was written after doing a keyword search. It just reeks of a blatant attempt to get easy hits.

  • garth

    remember that “mma is just groin punching and eye gouging” article from a few months back? this seems real similar, just non-researched bullshit. well, bullshit is useful, you can fertilize with it. i think this article might render the soil barren.

  • Steve4192

    Granderson is merely stating the same thing Chris Rock stated years ago … there are black people and there are niggers, and nobody hates niggers more than black people.

    It’s pretty much the same concept of white people versus trailer park white trash, especially when applied to people who live in the south. It sucks being a well educated, socially responsible person who values diversity only to hear people belittle all southerners as inbred white trash yokels because of a the presence of a select few inbred white trash yokels in your region.

    Nobody hates trailer park racist rednecks more than a southerner trying to live down the image of trailer park racist rednecks. The same goes for the majority of black people who are trying to live down the street hustler, pop-a-cap-in-yo-ass, nigger image portrayed via a lazy media and a bunch of lily-white entertainment companies looking to make a buck off of that stereotype.

  • Accomando

    The thing that baffles me about peoples oppinions on Kimbo is that he has been all about MMA since catching his break with Elite XC and hooking up with Bas.

    No stories of arrests, youtube fights, or any other non-sense that a lot of other non-black MMA fighters get into.

    In all of Kimbo’s interviews, besides when he is at his back n’ forth with Chuck, he seems like a level headed person who is damn serious about MMA. Honestly, just cause people think he looks “thuggish” they think they can apply any steroetypical insult to him.

    IMO, Kimbo seems like a good guy who is making the most of his situation. I hope he destroys that british clown at the end of the this month. Go Kimbo!

  • sarah

    that article is nothing less than baffling – thanks for covering it even though it’s a touchy subject.

    i have to admit that what he’s talking about reminds me of Rampage’s early days in PRIDE – he certainly used black stereotypes to his advantage (and, granted, Japanese culture as well) in order to build himself up. of course, that was in Japan, and a while ago, and in a much different organization.

  • Corine

    I don’t agree with Granderson’s view, but as a Black woman, I can see where it comes from. Until you have to deal with all of the ridiculous notions that people have about African-Americans as a group, you can’t really appreciate how frustrating it is when you feel that someone is perpetuating those stereotypes.

    But I think Granderson’s real beef is with the media outlets, which have rarely been fair to people of color. Kimbo Slice himself has handled himself well in various situations and isn’t caught up in a fraction of the craziness that a good many other athletes are. Most people have a problem with the way Kimbo Slice is portrayed, which isn’t always something he has control over. Everyone gets so pissed about his previous fights and claims to fame that they completely ignore his current focus, which is training with talented athletes in MMA to become a well-rounded MMA athlete himself. He doesn’t speak about trying to continue as a streetfighter; that’s what people keep associating him with because that’s what sells. But denigrating the man himself isn’t helping anything, especially if individuals like Granderson don’t try to find anything else out about him.

  • Pramit

    We’re discussing this on Generally speaking we disagree with the sentiment on this site though it’s good to bring the topic up.
    Feel free to check out the thread:

  • Steve4192

    “Most people have a problem with the way Kimbo Slice is portrayed, which isn’t always something he has control over.”


    Kimbo isn’t the guy who decided to name the last card he fought on ‘Street Certified’. He has generally carried himself pretty well since abandoning his ‘street boxing’ career and taking up MMA.

    Gary Shaw is the guy Granderson should be skewering, not Kimbo.

  • Lifer

    obama’s semi-historic speech made it ok for us to have open discussions about race so i think this is fine. thanks obama!

    now that i’ve got my justification for entering the conversation out of the way, i just wanted to say that i’ve never interpreted Slice’s behaviour as being a ‘coon’ or ‘cooning’ or whatever the hell else this guy is perceiving. maybe years of watching white dudes come out to their fights to hip hop and really ham it up for the camera a la nate diaz has numbed me to all this coon behaviour that this guy seems to believe is so rampant in Slice.

    can someone explain to me or provide pictures of this?

  • frickshun

    Hey Pramit, way to backdoor to your shitty site & opinions. Luckily, I won’t be clicking on your link. FAG.

  • fightlinker

    he got me to register :-)

  • iamphoenix

    pramit is a good guy. we all read news from a bunch of sites and one site isn’t better than the other. it was just an invite to read some different views. different views and opinions are always good, because what’s the point of discussing a topic with everyone who agrees with you?

  • Pramit

    There’s no backdoor action whatsoever. Fightlinker has linked to articles a number of times. I don’t need linkage that badly. I’m just trying to broaden your horizons and show you that not everyone out there agrees with this post.
    Diversity of opinions is what makes this and many other sites great.

  • MMAcademics

    I just registered here because of the interchange with FightTicker. Seems the exchange of ideas is positive.

  • winklepicker

    >”Hey Pramit, way to backdoor to your shitty site & opinions. Luckily, I won’t be clicking on your link. FAG.”

    Pramit (at Fight Ticker) is Pramit Mohapatra (formerly of Balitmore Sun and Sports Illustrated). So I’m pretty sure it’s not too fair to say he has “shitty opinions.”

  • frickshun

    It was a mild exaggeration fellas. I’ve read his stuff. It doesn’t blow me away but I don’t have a problem with him. He comes here just to say he disagrees w/the sentiment on this site. BUT RATHER THAN ADD TO OUR DISCUSSION, HE LINKS HIS OWN!! Unlike most sites, I’d say we have a pretty knowledgeable group of mature adults who don’t take everything so seriously. Linker is like “The Daily Show” for me. If Pram doesn’t appreciate us being able to satirize or poke fun, it just means he has zero sense of humor. SO DON’T COME HERE OFFERING NO OPINION BUT THE DESIRE TO PUSH YOUR OWN AGENDA. And I don’t need you to broaden my horizons. I am a successful corporate sellout middle manager with a nice home, beautiful kids & awesome-tastic wife. If I want to broaden my horizons, I’ll catch a flick @ the Angelika (NYC reference) or read a damn book. Since I choose to do neither, I guess you are looking down your nose @ me? Does it help if I tell you my wife is an Irish immigrant? Thanks for your “input”.

  • fightlinker

    Okay, I think we need to remember that we’re supposed to be focusing on all that Kimbo hate, not Pramit hate.

  • MacDaddy

    Slice has always simply struck me as being what he is, and whoever doesn’t like it he could care less. While I understand Corine’s point this article is the equivalent of some white guy complaining about a white guy portraying himself as being trailer trash. Truth is, some white people are trailer trash, and if that’s what you are and you don’t care what people think of that then power to you.

    In the few in depth interviews I’ve ever seen with slice he actually comes across as a thoughtful, well spoken guy who likes to talk about his kids and his fiancee, but at the same time he is a Bad Motherfucker, not a guy pretending to be a Bad Motherfucker – he really *is* a Bad Motherfucker.

    You can say what you want about the hype machine that’s foaming around him right now, but whatever his limitations as an MMA fighter, he has shown a lot of respect for the sport and trying to gain legitimate skills from legitimate sources.

  • frickshun

    I’m gonna chug some Chai (masala–>b/c I’m educated) & calm down. As far as Kimbo, anything that brings ratings to MMA events is good for all of us. Stuffy corporate execs may not like it, but they like losing money less. It’s just like the Howard Stern Show. Execs hated him but he knows how to get advertising $$$. Incidentally, Kimbo doesn’t have much personality so he certainly isn’t orchestrating any of this. Did anyone see his painful interview on Jimmy Kimmel? Pramit (my new pal)?

  • RL Dookiefuck

    Kimbo Slice is black? I hadn’t noticed.

  • Lifer

    to me, the story of kimbo slice has been an uplifting tale. he goes from being a felony fighter to headlining MMA events and being quite the media darling, attaches himself to arguably one of the most knowledgeable trainers in MMA and you cant argue with his results in the cage so far even against questionable opposition. he’s been brutal.

    frankly, im kind of glad that i’m not viewing the situation like the author of that article because he seems quite jaded and i think his perspective, personal experiences and background is removing his objectivity. i cant really figure out if the guy is just trying to be shocking in his article or if he’s actually offended to this degree. i repeat, i never got a ‘coon’ vibe from any kind of promotional work that Kimbo has done and i dont see this as a case of exploitation. the ‘street certified’ i thought was hokey but he WAS a street fighter and so was tank abbot about 20 years ago. that monniker made sense to me when i saw it for that matchup.

    if anyone has any article or imagery where Slice is being blacker than black, please link it up.

  • Corine

    I think that when Granderson refers to the coonish/menacing imagery, he is referencing the comparisons to animals that have been made regarding people of African descent. I did a quick check on Youtube and I didn’t see any of the gorilla/jungle-esque clips he mentioned, nor could I find photos of him on the ESPN website. I think (and this has been echoed in others’ comments) that a lot of the issues with Kimbo are a result of how everybody else portrays him. They have little or nothing to do with what he himself has done or said since beginning his MMA career.

  • Lifer

    just from the quotes im reading above i dont see how you can come to that conclusion. he’s directing them explicitly at Slice and questioning his behaviour openly.

  • Steve4192

    Kimbo did quite a bit of cooning in his Youtube days with his infamous ‘This is how a nigga eat’ and ‘give me my bread’ schtick.

    While he has been the consummate professional since becoming a mixed martial artist, you can’t deny that a large part of his pre-MMA popularity was based on playing up every negative african-american stereotype in the book. And it is that pre-MMA popularity that has made him a self-avowed ‘six-figure nigga’ since joining up with Gary Shaw. Without his Youtube fame, $kala would never have known who he was and convinced his daddy to sign the scary black man to a contract.

    Kimbo certainly deserves a little bit of heat for his pre-MMA public persona, but the vast majority of the vitriol should be directed at the people who are building a company on the back of that persona (Gary Shaw).

    Regardless, if Granderson REALLY wants to get on a soapbox about guy who are willing to put on the blackface and coon, he should Google Bob Sapp. Some of that guys antics in Japan (such as going to the zoo and eating bananas with the gorillas) were absolutely shameful.

  • Lifer

    i bet the japanese loved it though and isnt that what really matters?

  • Corine

    I can understand about the Youtube stuff (which I obviously haven’t watched), but as for the shirtless-menacing-expression gripe, I haven’t seen many athletes in combat sports who don’t do that sooner or later. As a girl, I kinda dig it. I also haven’t seen Bob Sapp’s antics, but they could explain his karma.

  • dignan

    If yah got some white friends…they clap like this…y’all.
    -Rev White

    People are too sensitive nowadays. Racism still exists, lets get over it, and ignore the racists.

    If I want to act like a super white frat boy let me. If Kimbo wants to act like the dude from the Green Mile let him.

    He’s entitled to do it.

  • Ram

    Is that Cake he’s choking?

  • dignan


    Check out some of Bob Sapps commercials in Japan. Eating Bananas, acting like an Ape. Shit, they had a dildo made of him.

    A Bobb Sapp dildo.

    No big controversy in any of those. Maybe if he had a big afro beard.

  • nephildevil

    hahaha so everybody hates the new gorilla even their own ppl

  • fightlinker

    The thing about racism with black people in Japan is that it’s really really really different from racism here in America … since they didn’t enslave the black population for hundreds of years, ya know? That’s why they do all sorts of stuff over there that just blows our mind here. That doesn’t really ‘excuse’ a lot of it, but it is important to note the difference in mindset.

    Re: Kimbo, tons of really good points, and i think between MacDaddy and Steve4192 they nailed a TON of really good points

  • Rob Enderle

    Blacks can insult blacks,
    Hebes can insult other hebes,
    homos can make fun of other fudgepackers.

    Read the rules.

    Notice, Don Cherry will never say a racist word against those three groups because of fear.
    Its fear of being shot, fear of being sued, feared of being fucked in the ass.

  • Ted Dibiase

    theres nothing racist about that…

    its just a nerdy black guy who wants to be white talking shit on a hood rat. no biggie..

  • Trembling Eagle

    a “hood rat” is a girl Dibiase.

    Reading this I’m reminded of Fightlinkers podcast afew stops back were you talked about BET and Iron Ring
    and one of you said it was the worst most stereotypical shit ever and whether blacks liked that. The answer is a portion of us find it just as oft putting even moreso than you did. The fact BET is owned and programmed by Viacom adds insult to injury.

    Race is a complex issue in America add to that the ignorance most of these writers still have about MMA
    you could parse this in a bunch of ways. I personally feel the writer of the original piece is overstating things WAY too much. Like someone else said that derision should be saved for Bob Sapp some of the advertising and stuff he’s done in Japan is really nasty.

  • Trembling Eagle

    I could care less about the bashing but using slang in the wrong, awkward way just gives me the douche chills for you.

  • Archivist

    Steve4192 put the finger right on it. I do feel that members of a given group do indeed have the right to wail on the “bad/poor representatives” among them.
    The level of vitriol used in the process may be where i feel there is room for debate though. If you want “should i consider that offensive, mmmm?” contemplation, a good place to start is . My lady, who is black, found this site brutally amusing. Me, on the other hand, was having somewhat of a malaise over my uncertainty of it being either hardcore Monthy Python-esque or just battery acid mean.

    Thankfully, as far as the entire Kimbo gimmick being “bad” and all, i cannot believe that schtick for a minute after hearing the guy being quite level-headed in the few interviews i read/saw… Eye of the beholder thing again, i guess…