(Cup check to Bloody Elbow for the bottom image.)
So the big fight just ended. Kimbo Slice vs. Roy Nelson. The internet street fighting legend against a top fifteen Heavyweight. Guy with a beard takes on guy with a belly.
Forums have been lit up since it was revealed they would fight last week. Everyone has been asking me about what’s gonna happen. Kimbo hyped it up like the second coming of Hughes/Trigg II, saying “This fight is very exciting. Pound for pound, it’s one of my best fights.” My inbox was bombarded with emails hyping up ‘the biggest fight in Ultimate Fighter history’.
If that was the biggest fight in the show has ever had, I don’t know what’s been making me watch it for almost five years.
Slice had an absolutely awful performance tonight. For seeming like such a nice guy, for all the overwhelming circumstances he was put in by Elite XC, for all the hate he gets, there’s no defense for him as a mixed martial artist anymore. What we see is what we get with Kimbo.
The big knock on him was his ground game. James Thompson was able to drive the inexperience home in May 2008. In front of millions on CBS, he pinned Slice down with a crucifix and landed a garbage bag full of punches to his defenseless face.
Tonight we saw Roy Nelson give everyone déjà vu. The position was the same, the ground and pound was the same, the helplessness was the same. TUF was filmed in June 2009; the Thompson fight in May 2008. Thirteen months went by and is looks like there were no moves made to become a better competitor.
Of course, you can say “Hey, Roy Nelson should’ve been the IFL champ, no big deal Kimbo lost to him.” That argument doesn’t fly when Kimbo was bullied by an upper level fighter identically to how he was bullied by a lower level fighter. The gap between Thompson and Nelson is about as wide as it gets, yet they both yielded similar results. What’s to say anyone with a talent level in between them won’t also hold Slice down and do as they please?
I suppose it doesn’t even matter, since Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta, Rashad Evans, craft services, and the guy who throws away the semen food at the house all gloat about how impressed they were with Slice’s TUF performance. Apparently it was even good enough to get him a fight in December. Whatever they claim showed promise must have taken place later, because there was nothing to be proud of after this fight – and that goes for Nelson, too.
It’s not that Roy had a bad performance; he just left the front door open, so to speak. TUF 10 was made to be Heavyweights for a reason. Dana wanted the Kimbo gravy train to start bringing in money for him now. You think he was happy with Nelson for not winning in brutal fashion? You think he didn’t foresee the ignorant fans’ reaction to the fight? You think he’s stupid? Of course he was gonna trash the result we ended up getting. Dana is a business man, and one of the rules he follows is that you don’t kill the golden goose.
It was supposed to be a win-win situation for the UFC. Either Roy Nelson pulls a Petruzelli and Dana can gloat about how he was right all along, or Kimbo gets a fantastic win and justifies Zuffa putting him in the same positions EXC did. What we actually got was a guy beating Kimbo with zero effort, but in a non-“OMG!” inducing manner that shot all those plans straight to hell.
There would have been no questions had Roy crushed Slice with a head kick or choked him unconscious with a Brabo. We wouldn’t be here absolutely dreading the tidal wave of “Roy’s a pussy” and “that was a weak stoppage” comments that will drench us tomorrow. Nelson could have just gone for one Americana, one Kimura, to have avoided this entire unnecessary backlash inevitably coming his way.
And it’s unfortunate because he doesn’t deserve any of it. Dana completely no-sold the victory after it was shown:
“It was like I let my daughter pin me down and hit me…That’s the kind of shots Roy Nelson was hitting him with….Roy did just enough to win and not get hit.”
What did they expect him to do, get his ear blown up standing and banging with Kimbo? The man is in a tournament with almost no turnarounds between rounds, of course he’s treating his opportunity with enough respect not to throw it away in one match. For that he’s portrayed as a chump for being intelligent and responsible, and looking out for his career. What a wussy, right Dana?
I guess this is all just the UFC’s way of keeping us reeled in. They hard sold this bout like nothing before on “The Ultimate Fighter” and we got nothing for our anticipation. Some were disappointed, some were vindicated, but most were indifferent because we didn’t learn anything from the fight. Kimbo will never be a good fighter (which hurts to say since he’s such a nice guy), Nelson is still hovering around the top ten, and the UFC is occasionally hypocritical if it makes them monies.
Man, what a three month old crucifix mount can tell us about this sport.