Although suffering a one-sided defeat during your first fight in The Ultimate Fighter house is almost certainly viewed as a pink slip from the UFC, Kimbo Slice made it crystal clear during a recent media call that he will be held to a different standard when he let the cat out of the bag that he would be making his official Octagon debut in December.
America’s favorite e-brawler was recently dismantled at the hands of Roy “Big Country” Nelson during the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights. It was a relatively one sided beatdown for the plus-sized veteran with the moon-sized belly, but for some strange reason the show was edited to transform Nelson the arrogant bully, while Kimbo was painted as one of the fastest rising prospects in the sport with a world of potential.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The overshadowing of Nelson’s big win by Kimbo’s supposed potential in the sport was a slap in the face of any mixed martial arts fan that knew better.
However, when you read between the lines, the way the UFC chose to spin the bearded Bahamian’s beating couldn’t have made any more sense from a financial standpoint.
Flat out, Kimbo is easily one of the biggest money making draws in the business. Hate him or love him, you’re going to want to watch him. Whether it’s in hopes of seeing Slice sprawled out on the canvas or in hopes of seeing him open a can of worms on some poor sap, Kimbo makes people watch, and that translates into enormous amounts of money for all of those involved.
One has to remember, while a sport at the core, mixed martial arts is a business above everything else.
So what do you do with a guy like Kimbo Slice that can rake in millions upon millions of dollars for you if marketed correctly? Do you take the gamble of putting him up against a lesser known opponent in his first fight at the house in hopes of getting him that first win under his belt to bolster his credibility? No way Jose. Way too big of a risk. Kimbo is hands down the most one dimensional fighter in the house and the odds are high that he loses to 90% of his fellow cast members.
So you put him up against the best fighter in the house, fully aware that he stands little chance of coming out on top, with the already prepared “He was out of his league but he showed a ton of potential” line. Just tell the people what they want to hear, and at the same time, you just have to milk that cash cow for all it’s worth.
As it stands right now, Kimbo is set to rake in boatloads of cash for the UFC for about two fights, max. As soon as he loses those first two fights, which he will, the interest in the Miami based fighter will take a rapid decline. Extremely rapid.
Kimbo repeatedly confirmed that he was training for a fight in December during the previously mentioned media call, before stating that he couldn’t comment on the subject.
At that point it was too late, the news was leaked from the horse’s mouth, and the damage had been done.
Assuming Kimbo will be making his UFC debut in December, there has never been a better time than right now to take a look at the possible opponents for Slice this upcoming holiday season.
Chuck Liddell: From a financial standpoint, this one makes more sense than any of the other proposed opponents. Just imagine Kimbo and Chuck on the poster squaring off. Imagine the amount of buzz a little light hearted trash talking between the two would generate leading into the event. The countdown show on Spike would be nothing short of epic.
This is a fight that could be contested at either 205 or heavyweight, but I feel a catchweight somewhere near the 210-215 pound mark would make the most sense. If Chuck loses; he wouldn’t, but IF he did, there’s prepared excuses already factored into the equation. Liddell’s first fight at heavyweight and Kimbo’s first time dropping in weight would leave the path open for both men to go on to big paydays regardless of the bout’s outcome.
Houston Alexander: While I feel strongly that Alexander would prove to be too much for Slice, these two are tailor made for each other. Both men possess a punch that could tranquilize a full grown horse, and neither are known for their technical submission abilities.
The bottom line is that Houston will likely stand and bang with Kimbo, and it’s one of the few fights in the UFC he stands a chance of winning.
News around the rumor mill are currently making the possibility of this match-up look like a strong one.
Seth Petruzelli: A rematch between these two would be money in the bank for the UFC. Seth knocked out Kimbo on CBS in one of the most watched and talked about fights in the history of the sport.
If you were serious about marketing Kimbo, and making serious money off of him in the long term; having him redeem himself in his first fight in the UFC would go the farthest in his being taken serious as a fighter by the masses.
However, this fight won’t work because if the results turn out the same as before everything comes to an immediate and abrupt end.
Tim Hague: While an attractive option if Slice ends up staying at heavyweight due to Hague’s recent record setting knockout loss at the hands of Todd Duffee, a fight against a man the size of Tim would end the same way as the fight with Roy Nelson.
It’s an option, but an extremely unlikely one.
Bobby Lashley: If there was ever a time to suck it up and sign Lashley, it would be right now.
There’s no to ways around it: Kimbo will only be able to make money for a couple more fights in the UFC. What makes the most sense is to replace one cash cow for another. You sign Lashley, have him come in and smash Kimbo and you have yourself your next money maker in the Octagon.
The financial success Brock Lesnar has had in the UFC make signing a former WWE superstar like Bobby a no-brainer. Putting him in an extremely high profile bout he’s sure to win makes even more sense.