FanDuel - WFBC

May 30, 2008

Kimbo Slice is Going Primetime: A sport that was once derided as "human cockfighting" and banned in most U.S. states is airing live on CBS Saturday night. Mixed Martial Arts fighter Kimbo Slice will face James "The Colossus" Thompson in the first live bout on one of the big four networks, a sign the brutal sport has gone mainstream. "Anyone who thinks CBS will not come out of this with some kind of black eye is fooling themselves," says sports consultant Marc Ganis.

posted by rcade to boxing at 08:13 AM - 52 comments

I cannot wait until Saturday to watch this fight. People can have whatever opinion(s) they want about MMA but the proof is in the pudding. MMA has surpassed boxing as the hand to hand contact sport of choice and it's not going anywhere. What is so wrong with MMA being aired on CBS? Boxing used to be on regular television but has become over-run by greedy promoters while MMA has done everything in it's power to give the audience exactly what they want: Two warriors entering the ring with only one winner with his hand raised in victory!

posted by BornIcon at 08:51 AM on May 30

To be fair, they did say the same thing about boxing for a while. Will I watch this? Probably not. I watch MMA sometimes, and it's fine, but this hasn't caught my imagination. But Kimbo Slice is a character, and I'm sure he'll draw some eyeballs.

posted by chicobangs at 09:03 AM on May 30

We got to figure out how to classify MMA, rcade. Boxing is a part of MMA although just a small part since there's also judo, wrestling, karate, jujitsu and many other styles of fighting that take precedence over boxing which is why there is a mass audience for this sport. If anyone has ever watched Kimbo Slice fight (check out YouTube) , then you know that your in for a treat come this Saturday on CBS.

posted by BornIcon at 09:27 AM on May 30

"I find that statements like this come from ignorance, from a snapshot of what the sport was 10 years ago," Kahl says. "Yes, it's violent. But so is pro football and boxing." You're talking about an event where the two combatants are deliberately trying to hurt or incapacitate one another through choke holds, breaking limbs, etc. It isn't the same as boxing (gloved hands and stoppage ostensibly before someone can seriously be injured, although that doesn't always happen) or football (rare serious and visually disturbing injuries which are not deliberate). Maybe next season they'll just have the contestants on "Survivor" shoot one another.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:46 AM on May 30

What is so wrong with MMA being aired on CBS? I think the brutality of the sport makes it inappropriate fare for free TV, and this broadcast will generate far more complaints than CBS is prepared to handle. There might even be FCC issues, considering how much less the networks have gotten away with since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction. I keep seeing ads for one of these sports on Versus, where Uriah Somethingorother is going to fight Jen Whositsname. It's kinda tempting to see the bout because of Uriah's dead-eyed soulless expression, even though I can't stand boxing or anything like it any more, but I'm pretty sure it's another sign we're all going to hell. Maybe next season they'll just have the contestants on "Survivor" shoot one another. Now we're talking.

posted by rcade at 10:07 AM on May 30

Whats funny is that the networks show brutal violence every night on the news. Sure they blur some stuff but all in all, to get your bloodlust craving satisfied you need go no further than primetime national news. having said that I agree CBS will take a hit but people just dont care enough anymore to make the stink stop them from doing it again. As far as the sport goes, I have seen it but I dont really care for it as all the dancing and juking it usually ends in a ground and pound.

posted by firecop at 10:16 AM on May 30

I think the brutality of the sport makes it inappropriate fare for free TV, and this broadcast will generate far more complaints than CBS is prepared to handle. Have you watched TV lately? Unfortunately it seems to be the way of the world. Let's see exactly how far CAN the envelope be pushed before someone complains. The sad part? It get's further and further each time. Let's face it, Sex and Violence sells. From the days of the Gladiator, we have wanted to see someone get hurt and as long as its called sport, it's OK. IF CBS gets as many complaints as you think it will, it will only show that they may be a little a head of their time NOT that it shouldn't be shown on TV.

posted by emancipated107 at 10:25 AM on May 30

I don't object to MMA on free TV because, to be honest, I don't think it's effective enough to be classified as "brutal". I have a friend who's a fan and makes me watch from time to time, and...sorry, MMA fans...what I see just isn't very effective. I'm sure they train hard and all that, but what I see is a couple of guys rolling around on the mat, trying to get an advantage and mostly not going much of anywhere. Every now and then they stand up and someone throws a slow, ineffective kick, but apart from that, it's mostly grappling that doesn't go anywhere very quickly. MMA isn't "gladiators" or "warriors", it's a bunch of guys with varying degrees of fighting skills who are trying to win a contest with rules. Some of them are better at scoring points within that rule set than others, but to me it doesn't add up to either effective fighting or brutality.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:03 AM on May 30

I think the brutality of the sport makes it inappropriate fare for free TV, and this broadcast will generate far more complaints than CBS is prepared to handle. Last week, a character on one of their prime-time crime dramas was shot twice in the neck. In semi-slow motion. On ABC last night, two characters punched, kicked, and stabbed each other. I fail to see how MMA is more "brutal" than that.

posted by grum@work at 11:10 AM on May 30

All fun and games until some knuckle-dragging humanoid gets done on a live TV broadcast. It is only a matter of time, inevitable really. Then where will the "sport" be? Back on overpriced PPV or late-late night fetish networks like Spike or FX, which is exactly where it should be. MMA has surpassed boxing as the hand to hand contact sport of choice and it's not going anywhere. Being more popular than boxing isn't really saying much nowadays. Drift racing practiced at the amature level is more popular than pro boxing. The last MMA PPV drew 1.05 million buys. That's about 1/3 of 1% of Americans. Forgive me for not buying into the 'MMA is going to take over the sporting world' argument. ...it's not going anywhere...Agreed, MMA is nothing more than a 'grown up' version of WWF. Like anything, it will find its' niche yet remain obscure and strange to most people. I wont be watching unless they undergo a 47th rule change, one that allows blunt instruments to be used. The "winning" participant must kill both his opponent and at least one "fan" in the audience, then drink their blood whilst Joe Rogan throws 100 year old rotten eggs at their mother.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 11:11 AM on May 30

I like the MMA fights. I think that to some extent, the outrage expressed over the horrifying brutality is being overstated a little. But maybe I'm some sort of Neanderthal. I do agree that there is a problem with the fight on CBS, but not for the reasons being expressed here exactly. I happened to read an article on Yahoo (yeah, I know) that pointed out that CBS was aligning itself with EliteXC because that's the promotion that would deal with them financially. It was pointed out that EliteXC was having monetary problems and were doing anything and everything to stop the bleeding (no pun intended). Kimbo Slice would be an example. While the guy has hands of stone and a punch that can knock out a bull moose, he is not what you would call a true mixed martial artist. He's a dude that hits real hard. But if a skilled wrestler who has a a good ground game can get Kimbo off his feet, there goes his punching advantage. What CBS wants is to see blood. From what I gathered, the UFC and WEC (who will be putting up the better card against CBS) wanted nothing to do with Kimbo or the shock value type bouts that CBS wants. The MMA, for the most part, has moved beyond the blood sport, human cock fighting image that was once holding it back. The elite athletes are among the best conditioned competitors in any sport, and the successful ones exhibit a wide range of skills and disciplines. I still think that there are going to be "lowest common denominator" type promotions such as EliteXC that will put anything out there because their business plan was bad and now they need money. Football had it's XFL.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:12 AM on May 30

what I see is a couple of guys rolling around on the mat, trying to get an advantage and mostly not going much of anywhere Totally disagree. I hate the stuff for all the Roman Lions v. Christians, the world is ending reasons, but I mainly can't watch it because it makes me claustrophobic. I'm glad you enjoy martial arts and are interested in them, but your comment suggests a vast disconnect between the world of Theory (a dojo in the suburbs) vs. Reality (a fight with a stranger). It makes me claustrophobic because I fought a lot as a kid and a young adult and I have been pinned and I have had someone kneel on my chest and try to choke me to death with no ref around, with no one at all around, and I would gladly take an hour's worth of kicks, however effective, before I'd ever do that again.

posted by yerfatma at 11:33 AM on May 30

Last week, a character on one of their prime-time crime dramas was shot twice in the neck. In semi-slow motion. On ABC last night, two characters punched, kicked, and stabbed each other. I fail to see how MMA is more "brutal" than that. Because they were fake? Viewers of MMA are taking the very real chance of seeing a very real severe injury or a very real death. CBS is taking the chance of airing it. ... I would gladly take an hour's worth of kicks, however effective, before I'd ever do that again. Can we do this somewhere near the bumper cars?

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:35 AM on May 30

Fight sports on TV is a long-standing tradition in this country, and it always has. If I may totally oversimplify and distort history to prove my point: Starting with the rise of Joe Louis, boxing was one of the most (if not the most) popular sport in North America. The Heavyweight champion was unofficially considered the world's best fighter, much like the Olympic decathlon champion is unofficially considered the world's best athlete. With the birth of television, it quickly became standard prime-time network fare, until Emile Griffith killed Benny "The Kid" Paret in the ring in 1964. That cast a pall over the sport that didn't lift until the rise of Muhammad Ali as a cultural force in the early 1970's. It took decades to get that market share back, and then Don King started treating the entire sport like his own personal ATM with no regard for its well-being or future, and then Ray Mancini killed Duk-Koo Kim and everyone got spooked again, and that's part of why there was a hole in the sporting landscape big enough for MMA to enter. The point of this short and semi-accurate history lesson (sorry about that) is that there's a ton of precedent for fight sports on TV, often precisely because they're so primal and close to death. Like racing crashes, COPS and Jackass, the possibility that you're about to see someone get very, very hurt is a very real draw, and always has been. Bloodsport is as American as weak beer, blowing your college fund on refueling the truck, and ogling teenage girls on the teevee. I don't know about no right or wrong, but it's a tradition that goes way back.

posted by chicobangs at 11:36 AM on May 30

yerfatma: Totally disagree. I hate the stuff for all the Roman Lions v. Christians, the world is ending reasons, but I mainly can't watch it because it makes me claustrophobic. I'm glad you enjoy martial arts and are interested in them, but your comment suggests a vast disconnect between the world of Theory (a dojo in the suburbs) vs. Reality (a fight with a stranger). I do confine my martial arts to the dojo (although not in anybody's suburb, thank you very much)...but MMA isn't reality ("a fight with a stranger"). It isn't even close. It makes me claustrophobic because I fought a lot as a kid and a young adult and I have been pinned and I have had someone kneel on my chest and try to choke me to death with no ref around, with no one at all around, and I would gladly take an hour's worth of kicks, however effective, before I'd ever do that again. People who pick fights on playgrounds or in bars are not, as a rule, effective kickers, so you may not have ever been on the receiving end of an effective kick -- most people never are. But that's an aside -- in any case, I think your example is a false comparison. The fights that you're describing above are real fights, not necessarily between very skilled fighters, but real fights nonetheless. There are no rules or refs, no one calls time. MMA fighters fight timed rounds, a match can end early on a knockout or a submission...but there are considerable limits on techniques. Now, as I said, I don't watch MMA every day, but my impression is that things would be happening very differently if they really were "no holds barred", "human cockfights", and you'd see a lot more injuries. As it is, with the limits imposed, I just don't see the brutality.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:19 PM on May 30

I keep seeing ads for one of these sports on Versus, where Uriah Somethingorother is going to fight Jen Whositsname. It's kinda tempting to see the bout because of Uriah's dead-eyed soulless expression, even though I can't stand boxing or anything like it any more, but I'm pretty sure it's another sign we're all going to hell. Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver on Versus, Sunday night. It is probably the best fight of the weekend and certainly the most important. Most everyone has Faber as the top featherweight in the world and a top 10 pund for pound fighter. Pulver is past his prime but has yet to lose at 145 lbs. Please, please, please win Urijah. I can only assume you were looking for a killer when you found Faber's "soulless" expression. Faber is a California surfer dude if there ever was one. I don't see Maddux on the mound and think dead eyed soulless expression, maybe I should. Kimbo Slice would be an example. While the guy has hands of stone and a punch that can knock out a bull moose, he is not what you would call a true mixed martial artist. He's a dude that hits real hard. But if a skilled wrestler who has a a good ground game can get Kimbo off his feet, there goes his punching advantage. What CBS wants is to see blood. From what I gathered, the UFC and WEC (who will be putting up the better card against CBS) wanted nothing to do with Kimbo or the shock value type bouts that CBS wants. Everybody in MMA has a base fighting style which they learn other stuff off of. Kimbo's is boxing(street boxing?). Kimbo's been training wrestling and submissions for about a year now with Bas Rutten so while he may not be well rounded yet he is certainly a martial artist. UFC and every other promotion certainly wanted Kimbo, EliteXC gave him the best deal. UFC is not shy of spectactles, see Brock Lesnar. With Kimbo's big hands and Thompson's questionable(to say the least) chin CBS should get exactly what it wants, a big Kimbo knockout to end the innaugaral show.

posted by tron7 at 12:52 PM on May 30

but what I see is a couple of guys rolling around on the mat, trying to get an advantage and mostly not going much of anywhere. Every now and then they stand up and someone throws a slow, ineffective kick, but apart from that, it's mostly grappling that doesn't go anywhere very quickly. Not this card. If any of these fights goes to the ground for more than a minute or two, I'll be surprised.

posted by tron7 at 12:59 PM on May 30

This fight will be one of the best fights i'll see in a while.

posted by fella1994 at 01:05 PM on May 30

People who pick fights on playgrounds or in bars are not, as a rule, effective kickers, so you may not have ever been on the receiving end of an effective kick -- most people never are. I realize I'm immediately going to do the same thing, but you really have a God-given gift for condescension. How do you know how hard I've been kicked or punched? It doesn't take a shitload of talent to hit hard when you use a wall or a stick. Stick with your local sensei. Just don't ever imagine martial arts training (of which I've had a very small amount) makes a huge difference. The difference is in how someone reacts after they get hit, not in what they trained to do. That one instant where the fight-or-flee instinct comes in is where you find out an awful lot about the person you think you are. Not doing touch fights in a rubber room. Christ, I don't want to demean martial arts training, but like everything in life, it's the people who are loudest about it who get it the least. There was a decent episode of KCRW's The Treatment with David Mamet where he talks about the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu, what you do after you're on the ground. Didn't catch a whole lot about being an "effective kicker". An effective kick is one that connects with someplace soft, not one struck by a person with a wall covered in certifications.

posted by yerfatma at 01:25 PM on May 30

Everybody in MMA has a base fighting style which they learn other stuff off of. Kimbo's is boxing(street boxing?). Kimbo's been training wrestling and submissions for about a year now with Bas Rutten so while he may not be well rounded yet he is certainly a martial artist. UFC and every other promotion certainly wanted Kimbo, EliteXC gave him the best deal. UFC is not shy of spectactles, see Brock Lesnar. With Kimbo's big hands and Thompson's questionable(to say the least) chin CBS should get exactly what it wants, a big Kimbo knockout to end the innaugaral show. tron7, sure Brock Lesner was a bit of a spectacle match, as you put it. But don't forget that Brock was also a fantastic legitimate wrestler who held his own for a good portion of his match with Mir. As has been said before, if Brock finds himself 0-2 after his next match, I have no doubt that Dana White will drop him. Kimbo is awesome, no doubt about it. But is training for a year the same as training your whole career at a discipline? I don't see Kimbo having much success from his back against a skilled ground and pounder of equal size, particularly if they have a Jiu Jitsu background and are versed in submissions themselves. And truly, there is not much of a comparison between the athletes in the UFC and WEC to the EliteXC stable. EliteXC has been cash-strapped and are doing whatever they can to stay afloat so I'm not surprised that they accepted CBS' offer. I'll also be surprised that if the CBS deal isn't successful we see EliteXC in business in five years.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:44 PM on May 30

MMA is not a big attraction for me and don't follow. CBS wants to try and see if garners some support on their network- it's ok with me, however some sort of disclaimer should be in place for excessive violence for persons not familiar with the sport.

posted by giveuptheghost at 01:52 PM on May 30

I fail to see how MMA is more "brutal" than that. Because they were fake? No! That's can't be the answer! I've been told hundreds of times that people can't tell the difference between fake violence and real violence, and that is why violent video games are created by the devil himself! /snark

posted by grum@work at 02:16 PM on May 30

I hear ya', ghost, but I wouldn't want to see one sport made to put up a disclaimer while others are left alone. I have seen broken bones protruding through the skin and blood in football, eyes gouged out in the NBA (OK, only once), broken arms and bleeding heads in baseball, players throats slashed and gushing blood in the NHL, and watched Dale Earnhardt die in a crash in auto racing. Where would you draw the line?

posted by THX-1138 at 02:23 PM on May 30

But don't forget that Brock was also a fantastic legitimate wrestler who held his own for a good portion of his match with Mir. As has been said before, if Brock finds himself 0-2 after his next match, I have no doubt that Dana White will drop him. Kimbo is awesome, no doubt about it. But is training for a year the same as training your whole career at a discipline? Kimbo's been training his whole life as a... err... street boxer. Anyway, his striking is unquestioned. It's the same as Lesnar training wrestling and then trying to shore up his submissions and striking when introduced to MMA. I'm not saying Kimbo's a world beater but he's a legitimate fighter. Lesnar, like Kimbo, is a MMA ATM machine. 0-2 would suck but that won't stop the UFC from pimpin him, especially with UFC's shitty HW division. I don't see Kimbo having much success from his back against a skilled ground and pounder of equal size, particularly if they have a Jiu Jitsu background and are versed in submissions themselves. Me either, good move by Gary Shaw and CBS to put a few cans in front of him to keep the legend growing. I'll also be surprised that if the CBS deal isn't successful we see EliteXC in business in five years. I'd say 2 years. EliteXC needs this show to pull some ratings.

posted by tron7 at 02:25 PM on May 30

0-2 would suck but that won't stop the UFC from pimpin him, especially with UFC's shitty HW division. Man do I agree that the heavyweights suck. I remember way back almost a year (joke) that they had decent fighters in the upper weight class. What happened? I don't particularly think MMA translates very well to big guys. Maybe stamina and wear and tear are too much for guys hovering around the mid 200's and above. But White just might surprise you (although it wouldn't surprise me) when he dumps an athlete for poor performance. He's done it before. Big name losers=low attendance and poor draws on the almighty pay-per-view.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:45 PM on May 30

I realize I'm immediately going to do the same thing, but you really have a God-given gift for condescension. You didn't just do the same thing -- I'd call it more "flying off the handle". You're really operating on a hair trigger, calling what I said "condescension". There's no condescension said or implied. How do you know how hard I've been kicked or punched? 1) I don't know, and never said I did. However, your anecdote made no mention of it whatsoever, but spoke prominently of grappling. I understand that you were employing hyperbole, but even allowing for that, to speak of preferring to be kicked for an hour vs. going through the grappling that you've experienced -- and still lived to speak of it -- is a fair indicator that you've likely not experienced kicking at its most effective. To experience such for even part of an hour would result in your death. 2) I didn't speak of kicking and punching, just kicking -- although punching effectively is also not something that everyone can automatically do. Google "barroom fracture". Stick with your local sensei. Just don't ever imagine martial arts training (of which I've had a very small amount) makes a huge difference. The difference is in how someone reacts after they get hit, not in what they trained to do. That one instant where the fight-or-flee instinct comes in is where you find out an awful lot about the person you think you are. Not doing touch fights in a rubber room. Christ, I don't want to demean martial arts training, but like everything in life, it's the people who are loudest about it who get it the least. And I'm the loudest, am I? I don't recall having come in to this thread and proclaimed that my training made me a "warrior" or a "gladiator", I didn't disparage you in any way, I didn't make any claims about my training making a "huge difference", and I said nothing about my own experiences and whether they consisted of "touch fights in a rubber room". I guess to you that means I must know nothing about actual hard contact. And I'm the loudest. Maybe you should assume a little less. Yeah, okay, probably some day someone's going to get killed doing MMA on live TV. Kids keel over dead on baseball fields after getting hit in the chest with a pitch. That doesn't make baseball a deadly pursuit, and it doesn't make MMA a "brutal" "human cockfight". That's the only point I was making, and I don't know what your beef is with it. There was a decent episode of KCRW's The Treatment with David Mamet where he talks about the philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu, what you do after you're on the ground. Didn't catch a whole lot about being an "effective kicker". An effective kick is one that connects with someplace soft, not one struck by a person with a wall covered in certifications. Mamet trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so why would you expect him to talk about kicking at all?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:53 PM on May 30

I remember way back almost a year (joke) that they had decent fighters in the upper weight class. What happened? Dana White happened. Arlovski, Couture, Sylvia all leaveing due to a lack of respect. Not being able or willing to sign the other big HW free agents Barnett, Fedor, Aleks Emelianenko, Little Nog, Rothwell. I'm blaming that stuff on White, I think if he was more of a politician UFC could have gotten a lot of those guys.

posted by tron7 at 03:20 PM on May 30

I hear ya', ghost, but I wouldn't want to see one sport made to put up a disclaimer while others are left alone. I have seen broken bones protruding through the skin and blood in football, eyes gouged out in the NBA (OK, only once), broken arms and bleeding heads in baseball, players throats slashed and gushing blood in the NHL, and watched Dale Earnhardt die in a crash in auto racing. Where would you draw the line? I'd expect them to draw the line at a sport where the only goal is to hurt the other combatant enough to make them submit. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the sports you named. In MMA, it's the goal. I realize I'm immediately going to do the same thing, but you really have a God-given gift for condescension. Hallefuckinglujah.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:39 PM on May 30

I think this fight with Kimbo Slice is just a publicity stunt and does little to serve the interests of MMA trying to become a legitimate sport. The UFC has some great well trained athletes. Nothing will ruin MMA as a legitimate sport faster then allowing a street punk like Slice airtime before he has proven himself a main event fighter. Now if he actually starts having some success against professional fighters then maybe I will become a believer in his talent. All I see at this point is a youtube curiosity being set up against some fall guy to create a show similar to the WWE. IMO the UFC (which is undoubtedly the premier MMA venue) is a contradiction. On one hand they want to be a legitimate sporting organization. On the other hand they have over promoted themselves and the fighters with a soap opera reality show, the stupid nick names and that ego centric Dana White, that they look more and more like the WWE everyday. When a fighter has had two pro fights and he already is getting a nickname like the assassin or the cripler, (oh don't they all have a nickname?) it just reeks more of drama than sport. Some of the stuff they do is counter productive, although in America, making the money is king and they seem do be doing that. As for the danger, so far MMA fighting has proven itself safer than boxing. The rules do a decent job of protecting the fighters and I have no problem with grown men being able to do the sport if they choose, or spectators watching if they enjoy it. I do however think it says a lot about our society that this is such a popular form of entertainment. The fact that I do enjoy it at times makes me question my own intelligence. I guess it is one of those things we can't deny about ourselves as human beings. We are attracted to violence. We can't help but look when we see an accident. Morbid curiosity I suppose. If I am home I will probably tune in. I only wish Kimbo was fighting someone I knew was good like Couture, or Mir, or other decent quality heavyweight who could teach him a few things. Actually I think a smaller skilled guy like Quintin Jackson, or Anderson Silva would probably be able to defeat the lumbering Kimbo Slice. Remember the oldest question asked when evaluating a fighter? Who has he beat? Well in the case of Kimbo the answer is a bunch of back yard brawlers . Certainly nobody with a name.

posted by Atheist at 04:07 PM on May 30

Next up after Kimbo is Chuck Zito. Hey now that sounds interesting! Chuck Zito vs Kimbo Slice. Two legendary street brawlers duking it out. They should fight in a ring designed to look like an alley, and be allowed to use various weapons positioned around the designer ring like bottles, pipes, chairs, etc. I could come up with some great fight cards. Steven Segal vs Jean Claude Van Damm, Jackie Chan vs Wesly Snipes...

posted by Atheist at 04:20 PM on May 30

Mamet trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so why would you expect him to talk about kicking at all? Well, you've got me there. The whole goal of that martial art is to get tackled by your opponent? Just so's we're clear, you've been kicked in earnest how many times?

posted by yerfatma at 04:32 PM on May 30

Sportstalk radio today in Jacksonville was all Kimbo all the time. MMA and CBS have to be loving this. LBB: You shoulda warned us that you have personal experience with martial arts. All those times we've argued about the Pats I was putting my life in my hands. My gentle, uncalloused, delicate hands.

posted by rcade at 05:01 PM on May 30

I'd expect them to draw the line at a sport where the only goal is to hurt the other combatant enough to make them submit. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the sports you named. In MMA, it's the goal. I don't really want to pick nits with you, 'fraze, but I will. The only goal in an MMA bout certainly is not to make your opponent submit. That is one way to defeat your rival. A knockout (like boxing) is another way. And of course, there is a judges decision. Injury is as much the goal of your typical MMA bout as it is a boxing match. I understand that the other sports I mentioned have different objectives than martial arts, but one is kidding oneself if they think they are less dangerous. Look, I'm not here to promote the MMA. I don't get paid or anything, I just happen to enjoy watching the bouts, and I consider myself to be of normal intellect. But the barrage of criticism seems to run counter to the numbers that UFC programs are putting up, along with the other promotions. Yes the nicknames are stupid. Boxing has been doing that for years too, and with fighters that haven't done anything to deserve handles like "Crusher" or "Bomber". But I can see that it isn't everyone's cup of tea.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:19 PM on May 30

Boxing and, dare I say it, (yes I dare) professional wrestling have their ebbs and flos. I think that this will be no different. CBS is putting itself out there first. Frankly, I am surprised Fox didn't go there first. PPV is where the money is and I don't think this will last. I don't think it will pick up a big enough fan base. But as my wife will tell you I have been wrong before! It will go off the air, they will make rules correction that makes it "safer" a network will pick it up again, again the fan base won't improve and so it will ebb and flow!

posted by adammcd at 05:21 PM on May 30

Well, you've got me there. The whole goal of that martial art is to get tackled by your opponent? Now I know you're pulling my leg...you are, right? Just so's we're clear, you've been kicked in earnest how many times? I suppose "in earnest" is in the eye of the beholder, but I've been KO'd three times. So, I suppose you would say that I've been successfully been kicked in earnest three times. For the less-successful occurrences, honestly, I don't know. Maybe it's because I got kicked in the head.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:41 PM on May 30

THX: I don't really want to pick nits with you, 'fraze, but I will. The only goal in an MMA bout certainly is not to make your opponent submit. That is one way to defeat your rival. A knockout (like boxing) is another way. And of course, there is a judges decision. Injury is as much the goal of your typical MMA bout as it is a boxing match. I understand that the other sports I mentioned have different objectives than martial arts, but one is kidding oneself if they think they are less dangerous. I hear where you're coming from, and I agree with it -- but it's an apparent paradox that just doesn't make sense to a lot of people. It's related to what makes it possible for someone to train in a martial art and do their best to develop effective techniques, without any expectation of ever using them for a real-life attack or defense.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:44 PM on May 30

Now that I know a little more about your training, l_b_b, I'm glad you agree with me. Even if I do live 3,000 miles away from you. (flinches, a little)

posted by THX-1138 at 06:09 PM on May 30

Being more popular than boxing isn't really saying much nowadays. I beg to differ. The point that I was making is that MMA has surpassed boxing as the sport of choice that viewers would rather watch where two gladiators fight until there is only one victor. When a fighter has had two pro fights and he already is getting a nickname like the assassin or the cripler, (oh don't they all have a nickname?) Please, for the love of God, please...stop quoting what someone else has already said. The very same exact comment was made on ESPN's E:60 by Dick Schapp's kid, Jeremy, when they were discussing Kimbo Slice and the sport of MMA.

posted by BornIcon at 08:27 AM on May 31

Well that was just weird. A controversial ending if I have ever seen one. I think it was just some questionable ref work but there's going to be plenty of people saying this thing was fixed. The controversy probably won't hurt CBS/EliteXC but I think it hurts MMA's credibility if everyone's screaming, "Fix!" Kimbo, work some frieakin cardio!

posted by tron7 at 11:10 PM on May 31

There's a few things that I see holding MMA back the most right now. This is coming from the perspective of a guy who is a pretty decent fan of boxing, just to explain where I come from on this (one quick thing-I notice a lot of people talking about how boxing has declined in American society, and how this is due to brutality. This is true. But it is not just boxing's violence that drove people away, it was also the terrible management of boxing itself. I think UFC right now is about a thousand times better-managed and run than any of the alphabet soup of boxing organizations). 1. The Bloodsport perception, largely unfairly earned, about how brutal the sport is. Witness large elements of this discussion. Kimbo Slice (3-0 now, BTW) I think actually hurts them in this regard because he is regarded as a brawler, a skilled street thug rather than a true fighter (and that perception is reinforced in a lot of MMA circles, as well). As long as Kimbo Slice continues to be the prime attraction for MMA Heavyweights (in this regard, I feel like MMA follows boxing-the Heavyweight Champeen of da Woild is considered the premiere fighter, even if there are much more talented guys in the lowerweights), MMA won't be taken seriously as a sport and not glorified barfights, which hurts the truly talented guys in lower divisions/other networks (I am aware that EliteXC is really Jay-V compared to UFC/WEC, but then again, which of them has big network TV deal?). 2. The fights. MMA fights tend to be real short, a lot of times not going out of the first round (at least from the ones I've seen). To me, this is a drawback because I'm used to the longer stretch of boxing matches, where we go up to 12 rounds, and a fight has time to build up momentum and atmosphere. Now, the shorter fights make for safer environments for the fighters, and probably make for better television, as well, but don't help the transition in the meantime. 3. The different organizations. Refer to boxing on how well it works out to have numerous groups giving away titles. And the earlier comment about perceptions especially applies here. A vicious screw up on PRIDE fighting or EliteXC hurts UFC and WEC, because no one can tell them apart. 4. Last but not least, stars. As boxing and tennis have shown, it's hard to make an individuals sport huge if you can't make people recognize the stars. Sure, there's a few in both (Floyd Mayweather and De La Hoya in Boxing, Sharapova, the Williams Sisters, and Federer in tennis), but for the most part these people are unknown to us. So it is in MMA-guys rise up and appear. The real thing that hurts this is the lack of major network television deals-UFC has tried to supplant this with cable shows, which I think has helped out a lot. Now, UFC has to try and develop some of those stars into people who can transcend the sport and become huge outside of it, to help market itself (as it's trying to do with Chuck Liddell).

posted by Bonkers at 12:17 AM on June 01

The "winning" participant must kill both his opponent and at least one "fan" in the audience, then drink their blood whilst Joe Rogan throws 100 year old rotten eggs at their mother. Hear, hear!

posted by giveuptheghost at 10:57 AM on June 01

That show took WAY too long. Not a real good debut. I think the casual MMA fan may have been left unsatisfied with what they saw, particularly the way Kimbo had been hyped. You would have thought that on the first punch that Kimbo threw, Thompson's whole familiy would have been knocked out. The stoppage was way premature, in my opinion. My wife, who isn't any kind of fan of MMA or boxing, thought that it made it look like CBS and EliteXC were just trying to protect their investment. And if that's what a curious onlooker thought, what did the rest of the audience think? I think he very well would have knocked out Thompson but if he didn't, Slice was close on a couple of occaisions to losing.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:35 PM on June 02

It was way too long THX, especially considering the first two fights lasted a total of two minutes. The Lawler/Smith fight was the best fight of the evening with Carano/Young in a close second. Its a shame Lawler/Smith was cut short over what sounds like a miscommunication between fighter and doctor. I think they did a good job stopping Carano/Young when they did as it appeared Young had a broken eye socket. Ouch! Slice/Thompson was a joke. MMA as a whole was probably knocked down a few notches due to the sloppy performances of the out of shape fighters AND the questionable officiating of the "main event." Also, whats up with the ear? Anyone in that locker room have a needle for pete's sake? Strictly from an entertainment perspective, however, I enjoyed the hell out of that match.

posted by curlyelk at 01:37 PM on June 02

Some people believe that the fight was fixed.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:49 PM on June 02

"3. The CBS announcing crew’s endless hyperbole reaching its pinnacle when one of them compared Kimbo to Tiger Woods. This would be applicable if Tiger had gained fame hitting trick shots in putt putt and then was invited to a second rate club championship which CBS was conned into televising. He then shot a final round 124, after which he was declared the winner anyway." This, (from YYM's link) is a pretty good summation of the fight. Slice took double-figure elbows to the head, undefended, in the second round and not only was the fight not stopped but, as also mentioned in the article, one judge even scored that round for Slice. If some of MMA's rise in popularity really does come from fans tired of boxing's shady practises, then it's probably not a good idea to look like you're copying them.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:25 PM on June 02

Meanwhile, the day after Slice's fight there was a good quality main event in WEC between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver, which you can see here.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:54 PM on June 02

Winner due to hype, Kimbo Slice. That's what it looks like and it sucks. Slice took double-figure elbows to the head, undefended, in the second round and not only was the fight not stopped but, as also mentioned in the article, one judge even scored that round for Slice. Those were some of the weakest elbows in MMA history. I've seen the count at 39 shots and even if they are soft it's still a lot. That round could really have went either way though, at one point in the round I was absolutely sure that Thompson was going down. The scoring of that round really depends how hard you viewed those elbows Kimbo took at the end in the crucifix. I would have scored it for Thompson but it was close.

posted by tron7 at 09:42 PM on June 02

My scoring of the round depends on how many times a fighter gets hit. If the round is close then I might look at who landed the better shots, but not the other way around, otherwise how many "weak" elbows counteracts one strong punch? Three? Five? Ten? Round 2 Kimbo lands the bigger punches, but the second set of punches comes only when Thompson is stood up from side control and when Kimbo is dropped with the double-leg he's just laying there, not even moving his legs and conservatively I count at least 60 unanswered shots, be they punches, hammerfists or elbows. Weak or not, if that round gets scored for Slice then Thompson would have had to have knocked him out to get a draw.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:04 AM on June 03

err, that's not supposed to be read as terse as it sounds. Just that it's a sport - if someone lands 10 jabs and the other guy lands 4 crosses, then you have to give to the jabs, even if they're weak, because they're still scoring punches. If the number of punches landed is close, then I'd look at other things, like punch strength and quality, but if you lose a punch count by 80ish to 20ish, then I'm not going to care if you're hitting the guy with a chair, you still lose the round. And that's not even taking into account Kimbo being dropped twice and pinned and offering no defence and showing no technical idea of how to escape.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:20 AM on June 03

I'll have to watch it again(work and videos don't mix). My reaction from seeing it live was that it was a close round with both fighters nearly being knocked out and thought it would be difficult to score.

posted by tron7 at 09:45 AM on June 03

Slice definitely has Thompson in trouble - you're right - but the first time he has no answer for a groggy guy working the single-leg and then after the ref stands them up from Thompson being in side-control, (baffling), Slice rattles Thompson again, then suffers a double-leg takedown. After the double leg, Slice takes somewhere in the region of sixty unanswered strikes. You can argue that they're weak and the last few certainly are, (and I'd guess the reason is that Thompson is shattered from throwing unabated offence at Slice for such an extended period), but they still connect, so they should still count. When they cut to the wider shot you can see that Slice isn't even moving his hips - his only defence is to raise his free hand to try to obstruct the blows. I can't help the feeling that if Slice had been on top, throwing even weak and sloppy elbows, the fight would have been stopped. That a judge managed to score the round for Slice really astonished me.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:27 AM on June 03

I actually had Thompson ahead on my completely unofficial scorecard. Aside from landing some great shots (which Thompson recovered from), I felt that Kimbo was controlled for most of the match. Yeah, Thompson was moments from eating canvas (or whatever the material is in EliteXC's circular cage) but I don't ever recall seeing an MMA match that was stopped while the loser was still on his feet and not beat silly. I won't say "fix", but I will say that it looked a lot like someone was trying to protect the record of Kimbo Slice.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:41 PM on June 03

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