The 'Pipe is still shaking his rusty noggin over the recent debacle in Sunrise involving hometown hero Kimbo Slice, the homeless man turned porn bouncer turned mixed martial arts fighter.
In less than 14 seconds, Seth Petruzelli, a pink-haired Orlando native whose MySpace page showed him in some questionable getups, upset the new face of mainstream Mixed Martial Arts. After the fight, which was called by the referee when Kimbo seemed to stop defending himself against Petruzelli's punches, Kimbo, AKA Kevin Fergusson, stood up and told the crowd: "Fort Lauderdale, it's all good." Then he said his party was still on for the night.
A frame-by-frame analysis of all 14 seconds of the fight footage below (like the Warren Commission examining the Zapruder film) tells the tale. Sort of. You've probably seen it on YouTube. It's really 11 seconds of "fighting" and three seconds of the winner, the most surprised person in the arena, jumping triumphantly around the ring. Tailpipe tried to reach Petruzelli to ask him if he ever took phantom punch lessons from Muhammad Ali, who similarly dispatched Sonny Liston in 1965. But the smoothie entrepreneur never called back.
Local fighters have a variety of opinions about what happened, though they're quick to note that they don't want to disparage Mr. Slice, Mr. Petruzelli, or the fine promoters they hope one day will line their pockets like the two men at the center of the controversy.
Chris Jackson, a 24-year-old instructor at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Center in Pembroke Pines, hasn't missed a single MMA event broadcast on television in more than three years. He says Kimbo was never as great as he was hyped to be and that Elite XC, the fight promoters, found a scary face with an interesting backstory to help market their fights.
"Kimbo's an average striker who built a name on the street by fighting in backyards and having it shown on YouTube," Jackson says. "He doesn't have the body or the training to compete at the top of MMA. I don't think he took a dive, probably, but he certainly got exposed as a fraud."
At the Cage, an MMA gym on Oakland Park Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, fighters say the best case scenario for Kimbo was that this was a fluke hit. Nobody wanted to go so far as saying Kimbo threw the fight, but Tony, a trainer there, says, "I didn't see the fight. I'm not a Kimbo Slice fan, but wouldn't it be interesting to know who Kimbo bet on that night?"
He suggests Kimbo might have known nobody would blame him if he tripped up against a guy he wasn't prepared to fight and took the opportunity to make a lot of money without a lot of hassle.
Party hearty, Kimbo. The flow of easy money is about to dry up.