Sorry, Haters: Kimbo Slice on Bellator is an Awesome Idea
MMA could really use more guys like Kimbo Slice.
However, he turned out to less than the fighter that most people imaged him to be, despite his honest, best efforts.
Now, amid fresh rumors (via Twitter and CagePotato) that the 40-year-old boxer/movie star/retired fighter is signing a contract with Bellator, the more upper-crust contingent of MMA fans are pretending it’s somehow a silly, ridiculous desperation bid.
Well, of course it is. But that’s not the point.
Like him or not, Kimbo Slice is (still) a much bigger star than most UFC fighters.
Think back to the mid 2000s. At one point, this guy was everywhere you looked: newspapers, YouTube, national television, Rolling Stone, Jimmy Kimmel Live!—you name it. People couldn’t get enough of the guy, even after he lost his ill-fated Elite XC fight in front of 4.5 million people watching CBS.
Heck, this is the man who single-handedly drew people to Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Kimbo Slice, despite washing out of the UFC over four years ago, is still worth something on name value alone.
Luckily for him, that’s exactly the kind of place that Bellator’s turned itself into (willingly or not)—a promotion that’s propped up on the name value of former UFC talents and aged MMA stars. In 2014, there literally couldn’t be a better place for Kimbo to return to MMA. How in the world does this not make sense?
If Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and crew put Kimbo on TV, he’ll likely draw a million viewers easy.
Put him on PPV, though, and you’re talking another possible 100,000 buyrate.
And it’s not like Kimbo’s just been wasting away in obscurity, either. Since his last MMA fight, Ferguson’s slapped together a (padded) 7-0 boxing record, maintained a sizeable social media following, and has generally kept himself clean of any bad PR or controversial news stories.
Bellator couldn’t get a better signee if he was giftwrapped.
Moreover, just imagine all the different match-ups you could do with him:
- Tito Ortiz vs. Kimbo Slice
- King Mo vs. Kimbo Slice
- Kimbo Slice vs. Cheick Kongo
- Kimbo Slice vs. Christian M’Pumbu
- Kimbo Slice vs. Who the Hell Cares, We’ve Got Kimbo Slice
- Kimbo Slice vs. TBA
Any one of those is going to draw eyeballs and ticket sales, so why not?
If Bellator 120 was the success that it claims to be, it’s because the product was something different—a goofy/semi-serious spectacle of oddball fights that gave us a break from the usual UFC gamut.
Once again—why not?
Sure, Kimbo won’t come cheap. He’s on the wrong side of 40 and has (at least) six kids to feed. But if Bellator’s proven one thing, they’re definitely not shy about spending cash to make cash.
So in the interest of simply being interesting, let’s hope the Bellator rumor holds true.
This author can’t be the only one curious to see what kind of buzz Kimbo Slice can draw nowadays.
McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVision, Bleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.
[Images via Sun Sentinel, Kimbo360]