Last year about this time I made this blog post about the national on-line fascination with Kimbo Slice. At that time he was just beginning to be known a bit for his videotaped bare-fisted back alley fights, and the fact that fellow internet sensation Bas Rutten was supposedly beginning to train him in actual martial arts techniques. One year later he’s fighting on national television on CBS. That’s amazing, frankly. I can’t even tell you who the heavyweight boxing champion is these days (not since Mike Tyson reigned could I tell you this.) What does this mean? Well, first off, it definitely doesn’t mean that we’ve lost interest in the rawness of hand to hand, man to man combat. All that is there and always will be. It does mean that the culture of the “fight” has changed with the need for extremes. Boxing has become too tame for the mainstream. UFC used to be so violent that it was subcultural, but no longer, not with the celebration of Kimbo Slice on CBS. Kimbo’s fight against the British brute James Thompson was quite the spectacle, and it ended up being a serious slugfest like the people wanted. However, many people felt it was fixed and that there was no way the network could have allowed for Kimbo to lose. Might be true.
Here is how they announced Kimbo: “He hails from Miami, Florida by way of the Bahamas. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the heavy handed phenom, the popular legend and street fighting star of the internet. Here he is, ladies and gentlemen, introducing the one….the only….Kimboooooo Slice!”
It’s another amazing story of rising up from nothing using only one’s fists. In this case, rising up through the viral power of the internet. And this scene has become just plain otherworldly, with fighters seeming like they materialized straight out of a video game instead of vice versa. Kimbo sports the trademark thick beard and bald head, newly adorned with some sort of sumo braid on the back, and I sometimes think he sports his beard so thick to pad those bare fisted blows a bit. These two men are behemoths, modern day beasts, grizzlies, pure elements. We can’t get enough. Here is the final round of the fight from last week. If you want to see the rest, and judge for yourself if it’s fixed, you can find it all on youtube (where else?) with ease.