Put Up Or Shut Up

When it was announced that Kimbo Slice, Miami’s favorite street fighter, would be fighting Ken Shamrock in EliteXC’s upcoming Saturday Night Fights, fan reaction was predictably sour. After all, there had been some very high hopes for Slice, whose fierce demeanor seemed to terrorize foes nearly as much as his dominating street boxing game. But since moving from YouTube to the cage courtesy of EliteXC, Kimbo has faced a succession of jobbers, has-beens, and hacks that has everyone in the MMA world believing his promotional team is more concerned with protecting their key fighter’s marketability rather than crafting compelling matches. EliteXC’s worst nightmare almost came true this past May when Kimbo’s “next victim,” British fighter James Thompson, nearly defeated Slice, only to be disqualified in the final round when his cauliflower ear popped.

Because of the macabre turn — and some decent ratings — Kimbo’s legend remains loosely intact. To maintain it, the native of Perrine, Florida, will need to thoroughly dominate Shamrock tonight. That shouldn’t be too tough as long as Kimbo can keep the fight off the ground, where his skills are weakest. For Shamrock, who’s lost seven of his last eight fights, falling to Slice could mean the end of a career that’s spanned two decades. And as far as EliteXC is concerned, they’ll need a monster of a match to keep any hope alive for their failing brand. Find out what’s in the cards for Kimbo and EliteXC, plus an undercard including MMA pretty-girl Gina Carano, when the show hits the BankAtlantic Center (One Panther Pwky., Sunrise) at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Get them at www.ticketmaster.com.
Sat., Oct. 4, 6 p.m., 2008

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John Linn