Dave Wetzel of Yahoo Sports wrote an anti-EliteXC article condemning them for being on CBS and using Kimbo Slice as their poster boy. Wetzel claims top UFC fighters should be featured on the most important card in mixed martial arts history.
If this is, indeed, the most important card in the history of the sport, wouldn’t it be nice if it actually had some of the best fighters and best representatives of mixed martial arts?
Anderson Silva, B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre display what MMA is all about. Not menacing scowls and WWE-like personas, but unreal athletic ability, disciplined training and tremendous intelligence from fighters as multi-skilled as they are fearless.
If one of them were on CBS, it would force America to realize what MMA really is. Kimbo, who taps into our primal instincts, plays to what many think the sport is. Let Kimbo cash every check he can – good for him – but he plays to MMA’s difficult-to-shake reputation as “human cockfighting,” as Sen. John McCain once branded it.
Yes, it would be “nice,” but the UFC didn’t make the deal with CBS! They had their chance to make a network television deal and it wasn’t good enough for them. You can’t blame EliteXC for capitalizing on the opportunity to display their product on network television. If EliteXC had Anderson Silva, GSP or Penn, I’m quite certain they would be headlining this historical event, but they don’t have that level of talent on their roster.
What they do have is a fighter who is garnering a tremendous amount of attention who will fill the stands and attract viewers. He didn’t ask for it, yet he is taking advantage of it. Can you really fault him for that? Can you fault EliteXC for using their best weapon at the most critical time for the survival of their company? I don’t believe Kimbo deserves the spotlight but he has it and I understand it. From all accounts, Kimbo is doing all the right things and being respectful and humble—the opposite of the stereotype of which many are unwilling to look beyond.
If you’re going to blame anybody for not having a Georges St. Pierre or a Anderson Silva enter the cage Saturday night, blame the UFC. They could have made the deal with CBS, but they didn’t. They could co-promote and share fighters, but they don’t. Blame them if you’re going to blame anybody.
As long as people tune in and what they see leaves them wanting to see more, they will find the Silva’s and the Penn’s of this sport. What’s really important here is how many eyes actually see it. I fail to see how this is bad for mixed martial arts.
If what EliteXC is offering isn’t good enough, perhaps we should just wait—wait for the UFC hold out for the perfect network television deal that may never come.
Yeah, let’s do that and not go anywhere.