One of the bigger rumors of this past week to come out was that Mike Tyson had ‘tentatively’ agreed to fight Kimbo Slice in EliteXC. Gary Shaw, EliteXC, president quickly shot the rumor down on an EliteXC media conference call, but didn’t rule it out either. In fact, it’s a fight Shaw is highly in favor of making.
I have the media report about Mike. I’ve had no discussions with Mike or anyone around Mike. I know Mike. Yes, I would make that fight in a heartbeat.
If the first phrases that come to your mind are ‘freakshow’ or ‘circus sideshow,’ Shaw has an answer for you.
Call it a freak show or a circus or whatever you want, but it would be the most-watched pay-per-view event ever.
Sadly, he may be right, and that’s exactly why there’s a good chance this fight could be made in the next year, if Tyson wants it or needs it. But is it a fight that should be made?
Let me preface this by saying I have no problem whatsoever with Kimbo Slice being in this sport or attracting the limelight. His past is his past. From all accounts, Kimbo is training hard, learning the necessary skills, respecting his fellow fighters, and remaining humble. If he had come in running his mouth like a Floyd Mayweather without the credentials, I would have a problem, but he hasn’t. He doesn’t ask for all the attention, so who am I to condemn him for getting it? Does he deserve it? No, but If he brings more fans to the sport, I think MMA is better off having him than not.
EliteXC has taken a lot of heat from hardcore fans about Kimbo and James Thompson headlining the first-ever primetime network television MMA event. Is it fair? Does either fighter deserve it? No. But, from a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense. Anyone in Gary Shaw’s position would be foolish not to put the promotion’s top draw in the main event, especially when the promotion’s future is likely riding on it. Thompson was hand-picked for Kimbo to knock out, but at least he is a professional mixed martial artist that poses somewhat of a threat.
Conversely, a present day Mike Tyson is not. A Tyson/Slice match would be the circus sideshow of all circus sideshows, but not because of Kimbo. Tyson is 41 years old, retired, out of shape, apparently coming out of rehab, hasn’t won a fight in five years and hasn’t been ‘Kid Dynamite’ in almost two decades.
A fight between the two would represent everything the mainstream media and general public thinks MMA is. I’m not ok with that.
Is short-term financial gain really worth it for the health of the sport and financial stability in the long-term? Apparently, to Gary Shaw it is.
I don’t understand why anyone would even be willing to spend money to see it. We already know the outcome. Would you buy a UFC pay-per-view a week after it happened? Probably not, so why would you spend $50 dollars to see Kimbo fight Tyson. There are videos of Kimbo beating down Bo Cantrell and Tank Abbott all over the internet. This one wouldn’t look any different.
If Tyson were still a legitimate contender in the boxing world, I would say otherwise, but it’s Mike Tyson, not ‘Iron Mike.’
If it has to happen, at least spare us and make it a boxing match.