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Home MMA Win or Lose, Kimbo is still a Winner
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Win or Lose, Kimbo is still a Winner

kimbo_slice_ufcKimbo Slice. It’s been awhile since a name has brought such emotion and reputation with it. Street Brawler, Fluke, Intimidating. Who ever you ask everyone has a different opinion on the man. From backyard brawler to mma headliner back to fallen star, it seems the phoenix has risen again. Much thanks to the UFC and the Ultimate Fighter show, they have pushed Kimbo back into the spot light. He can be seen everywhere now a days. From promoting online software that sees him crushing caterpillars, to making late night appearances on the Jimmy Fallon show. The man has even made his way into the hip hop music scene as well, being quoted in hip-hop artist Dorrough’s music video “Ice cream paint job.” Why is it that the public including casual and hardcore mma fans alike are so mesmerized by him? Why is it that he is still relevant after being knocked out that one fateful night in October in Sunrise, Florida?

  It has a lot to do with two things, the man himself and the aura he exhumes and the Ultimate Fighter. You look at Kimbo and you can’t help yourself to stop and stare. At six feet two, two hundred and thirty pounds of muscle he is a physical specimen. With this alone he has the power to intimidate many with the sheer gifts of his physique. Add his bald head and a beard that would make an Amish teenager jealous and you got the makings of an odd sight and a very marketable appearance. Someone that has the “it” factor, though you can’t explain it.  If you were to be walking down the street and saw Kimbo you couldn’t help but stare, even if it were to put you in danger. The guy is just one of those people you want to follow and want to see what he is going to do next.  Everyone knows his background, his story. It’s more like a blueprint for the American Dream if anything, a homeless man from Miami fighting to earn money, to eat and feed his children. The man gets discovered and gains cult status on the internet for his brutal knockouts of people calling him out and turns into a superstar over night, only to have just an explosive crash as he had ascension. His story makes for interesting television, which is why we are watching him and why the UFC took advantage of this unique opportunity. It’s as if Kimbo Slice is making a comeback, his second chance at conquering his foes and detractors taking us along with him. Whether you love or hate him you bet your ass your going to be following him until his story reaches its conclusion.        

So what’s keeping him relevant? If you have been hiding in a hole this whole past summer its a little show called the Ultimate Fighter. The whole TUF experience is a major risk for Kimbo, which he should be applauded for. With or without the UFC, Kimbo is a huge draw, banking on his prior status as YouTube knockout sensation and Elite XC poster boy. Lucrative deals all over the world were thrown at him, of which he could have made millions. He opted for the Ultimate Fighter and came in with everything to lose and very little to gain or so it seemed. Regardless if Kimbo wins or loses the rest of his fights on the show, the UFC is helping him turn into a bigger star and doing something very crucial to the longevity of Kimbo’s Career. What’s the end result? He will gain new fans and silence his critics. How?

Well for one, The Ultimate Fighter has jumped started the careers of many of the superstars in mma right now. From fighters like Rashad Evans to Diego Sanchez to Forrest Griffin and Josh Koshchek, the show undoubtedly helped their popularity rise. You bet your dollar this will happen to Kimbo. What the UFC is doing is making him legit, and they are giving him a human face to those that only knew the man through his vicious YouTube videos. He was often criticized by many in the mma world the he wasn’t a real fighter, that he was more farce than anything. Dana White was the most outspoken of these critics often bashing Kimbo any time he was mentioned. By the end of the season we are going to see a much improved Kimbo, one who will be on the road to becoming a full mixed martial artist, not just relying on his stand up. He has the proper coaches in place who are giving attention to Kimbo’s many weaknesses, more importantly his takedown defense and ground game. Being surrounded by Rampage’s team of trainers will certainly leave an impression in Kimbo’s mind as to how to self criticize himself so he can continue to grow. I hear Kimbo is training at American Top Team right now, so it seems he has taken a step up on commitment towards his mma career.

 Even in his fight with Roy Nelson, Kimbo looked much improved over his other previous fights.  Though he lost, he didn’t lose by much, as he lost due to being tagged with pitty-pat shots. He didn’t come in charging like in his fight with Josh Thompson, or come out extremely weathered and fatigued. I’m sure many would agree that Kimbo looked the better fighter of the two. So why keep watching this dude? He’s been knocked out by journeyman Seth Petruzelli; he has lost to an overweight Burger King eating fatty by the name of Roy Nelson. So why care? We all know that when Kimbo Slice gets down, he gets down and he knocks people out; or at least tries to. I recently went around and asked people at the various gyms I train out of why they even care about Kimbo still. Some said because he’s funny to watch; with his big ‘ol beard, others did mention they don’t care much about him but the overwhelmingly majority said that they know he can still knock people out, and knock people out badly. With this aside, fans have embraced Kimbo for another reason.   

If you seen the show you know what I’m talking about. Kimbo at first glance would seem like this um-emotional rock of a man. Oh how looks can be deceiving. For a man that size it is surprising to see how emotional, real and vulnerable he is. In the last episode of the Ultimate Fighter, Kimbo is shown talking about his insecurities and saying that it was himself holding himself back a lot of the time, quoting the enemy was his “in-ner-ME.” You got to respect someone like that. In an age in which superstar athlete’s brag about the fancy cars they drive, the million dollar mansion they have paid off, and the bragadocious attitudes they have, you can’t help but take a look at Kimbo and say wow…this guy, something about him is different. It’s my belief that this will be the one thing above all else that will launch Kimbo into an even bigger star regardless of what happens. People like athletes that are humble, that are relatable and are human. Kimbo’s humility is earning him fans and respect. Someone the caliber of Kimbo, who has been on the big stage and had a promotion on their shoulders usually have a chip on their shoulders.  Not Kimbo.  A shining example of this is how Roy Nelson appears to carry himself on the Ultimate Fighter. 

He comes in with similar credentials as Kimbo, having being the last IFL heavyweight champion and having been tested thru big name fights. Though the way he carries himself is completely opposite.  He questions his coaches, does things his way and acts as if it’s his way or the high way. You don’t see Kimbo once act like this, often thanking his coaches for his training sessions and not disrespecting his teammates even once. Though it is rumored that Kimbo signed a contract with the UFC as soon as filming finished, it is not sure if he’s the one that will be in the final or he is scheduled to fight on the undercard of the final. Either way the sky is the limit for him. Even without the UFC, Kimbo will become a marquee main event name because of the show, no longer dragged down by the whispers of him being a brawler. I can bet you every mma promotion in the world will make a bid for him. Though it is important to win fights, it just as important to fans to see you overcome your adversities. It’s as if we lived through the fighters difficulties and we feel the hard work and struggle that fighter has had to go through. We become attached and invested, and that’s how you hook them, hook us the fans. Win or Lose, the outcome doesn’t matter. Kimbo Slice has already won. He’s been winning fans one fight at a time, not with his skills but with his heart and his attitude. Superstar diva athletes should take notice, Kimbo is hitting hard with both his fists and his heart.

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