Oh, what might have been…
Remember all the rumors about Kimbo Slice fighting James Toney awhile back? Well, according to Dave Meltzer (subscription), it was a fight the UFC was considering, but Kimbo Slice didn’t want to fight him. Via BE:
As for Slice, he was ground and pounded into defeat by Matt Mitrione. Slice was the second most popular fighter on the show (hometown fighter Patrick Cote got a deafening response). Make no mistake about it, he could still draw to a degree if put on a live Spike show. On PPV is a different animal. There is something that Slice has that few fighters have. People just like him, whether he wins or loses. But if he can’t beat Mitrione, the reality is, he probably can’t beat anyone in UFC. He didn’t want to fight James Toney, who he possibly could have beaten in a fight that would have meant something. And his knees are shot and he doesn’t know how to defend low kicks, which is a bad combination. The high price tag was also a factor.
Still, Slice vs. Herschel Walker, if put on CBS in the fall, has a good chance to be the most watched MMA fight ever on U.S. television and the door is open for Strikeforce. Of course, it’s still a freak show fight that doesn’t build the needed new stars and those kind of fights don’t build the brand. But it may save the promotion if the CBS deal is hanging by a thread.
In hindsight, Kimbo should have taken the Toney fight. He would have a better chance to beat Toney than Mitrione on the ground, and if he got knocked out, well then he got knocked out by a former champion. There’s no shame in that. Of course, that’s easy to say knowing what we know now. If he had the confidence to fight Mitrione, but not Toney, then he made the right choice for him. Either way though, his release was inevitable. Kimbo just isn’t a UFC-caliber heavyweight.
As for Kimbo Slice vs. Herschel Walker, I have zero interest in seeing it, but if it puts more eyes on Fedor Emelianenko on a CBS broadcast, then why the hell not? Go for it, Strikeforce.
Image via UFC.com