It’s a done deal. On February 16 Elite XC comes to Miami, Fla. with a main event bout between internet brawler Kimbo Slice and the man who captured the zeitgeist of early 90’s MMA, “Tank” Abbott. In other words, it’s a fight between a guy who might turn out to be a legitimate competitor and a guy who never really was. It’s also the main event, which tells you something about the path to success Elite XC plans on taking.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am not particularly excited about watching Kimbo and Tank duke it out. Mainly I object because I think it demeans Kimbo’s claim to be pursuing a serious career, and also because it allows Tank to continue truthfully telling underage girls in bars that he is a professional fighter.
There are plenty of people out there who disagree with me. For whatever reason, they can’t wait to see this fight. The fact that it will almost certainly be over in less than sixty seconds does nothing to dampen their enthusiasm, apparently. Some people just love to see a schoolyard beating, and that’s about the level of entertainment and competition they’ll get out of it.
For me, the fact that this fight is Elite XC’s main event is the most baffling. As a sideshow attraction, I could almost understand this athletically meaningless bout. Sure, Kimbo’s going to pound on an overweight, out of shape, and over-the-hill Tank, and no, that won’t change anything but Kimbo’s bank account and Tank’s facial structure, but I can see how it sounds appealing to get a few more butts in the seats.
But the main event? The main event is supposed to be your best matchup with the most compelling implications. It’s the fight you put on your posters to tell fans, This is the best we can do. If the best you can do is a blatant mismatch that serves to prove nothing, Elite XC, you might as well add a mud wrestling tournament while you’re at it.
Kimbo has, essentially, two MMA matches to his credit and less than two minutes of total action. Tank has lost seven of his last eight fights, and should long ago have been cast out of serious MMA competitions. In fact, I might even argue that Tank has already been cast out of serious competitions, and by bringing him back in — for the main freaking event — Elite XC is telling us that they do not want so much to be taken seriously as they do to turn a quick buck.
That’s fine, I suppose. They got into this business to make money, not just to make meaningful athletic competitions. But the real loser in all this is Kimbo. We keep hearing what great potential he has, but that doesn’t matter if we don’t see him tested in the ring. As Bas Rutten pointed out after his microwave bout with Cantrell, he didn’t get anything other than a paycheck out of that fight. He didn’t learn anything, he wasn’t tested or pushed — he just got paid.
And that’s fine if your goal as a fighter is to make some quick money and then bail out. Just like it’s fine to have this as your main event if that’s your goal as a promotional organization. It’s just too bad when you consider the talent Elite XC could bring to bear, if only they were serious about putting on some real fights.