Category Archives: Elite XC

Elite XC Pays Uptown Price For A Downtown Fight

This is the conclusion I’ve arrived at: either Tank Abbott and Kimbo Slice both have really excellent representation, or someone over at Elite XC is a little too loose with the purse strings. Why do I say this? Because they paid a reported $301,000 for the forty-three-second brawl at “Street Certified” two weeks ago.

$175,000 of that money went to Kimbo, and it includes his $50,000 win bonus. That means Tank got $126,000 — a grand more in guaranteed money than Kimbo — just to show up and take a beating. Does this sound absolutely absurd to anyone else?

It’s not so much that I think Kimbo was overpaid. I mean, I do think that. He only has two MMA bouts, neither of which proved anything other than the fact that he can beat people he’s supposed to beat, and now he’s making more money than guys who have earned their place in this sport through years of climbing the ranks. At the same time, I can at least understand why Elite XC is overpaying Kimbo. He’s a major draw who could have a real future in this sport. Especially in Miami, the guy puts people in the seats, and that’s worth paying for. But paying Tank that kind of money? In Congress, they’d refer to that decision as “fiscally retarded.” I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term.

But here’s the thing that really bothers me. I keep imagining the negotiations between Elite XC and Tank Abbott, and I can only assume it went one of two ways:

1) Elite XC offers Tank $40,000 to fight Kimbo. Tank, being the shrewd businessman that we all know he is, comes back with a counter offer of one thousand more than whatever Kimbo is making. Elite XC accepts without double-checking the amount that they’ve already agreed to give Kimbo. Tank nearly dies of a heart attack when he finds out how much he’s actually making.

2) Elite XC offers Tank $40,000. He asks for more than three times that amount. The Elite XC representatives stare back at him in stunned silence. Tank produces photos of Elite XC president Gary Shaw engaged in a grotesque sexual act with two underage girls, a gay male stripper dressed as Superman, and a heavily sedated tiger. The Elite XC representatives open their check book and ask how many t’s there are in Abbott.

I know these scenarios sound a little far-fetched, but I’ve thought it through and these are the only two ways I can see it going down. The hell of it is I can’t decide which is more plausible. It’s just that I can’t fathom a world where you offer Tank Abbott forty grand to do anything, no matter which side of the law it’s on, and he turns you down. It’s not as if he has better offers.

Ordinarily, I would never object to fighters being overpaid. They’ve been underpaid for so long, I’m all for them getting whatever they can get. Plus, it’s not as if there’s a retirement plan for fighters (though I would recommend that Kimbo look into a 401k, and fast).

But paying Tank Abbott that kind of money while giving $1,000 or $500 to undercard fighters who would probably whip him just as easily as Kimbo did? That seems morally wrong. I understand that marketability trumps talent in this business, and while that’s sad it’s also a proven fact. What Elite XC should remember is that today’s undercard fighters are tomorrow’s main eventers, and they won’t forget the days when you screwed them over so you could give Tank Abbott many times more than what he was worth. I know I wouldn’t.

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Filed under Elite XC, Kimbo Slice, MMA, Sports, Tank Abbott

Kimbo KO’s Tank…So Now What?

It should have surprised no one.  Kimbo Slice defeated Tank Abbott in under a minute at last night’s Elite XC presentation, “Street Certified”.  The bout was just as frenetic and one-sided as we all knew it would be, though somehow people still seem to think this is a significant accomplishment for Kimbo.

It isn’t.  Some of the guys he beat in his backyard brawling days were more competitive than Tank.  You can talk all you like about how it’s the fall of a “legend” or the passing of the torch, but it’s just empty rhetoric.  The fact is that Tank was a has-been years ago.  He’s been victorious only once in his last nine bouts.  He showed up looking woefully out of shape and displayed exactly zero technical skill in the loss.  In short, beating him means nothing.

The good news is, it’s over.  Kimbo has passed this non-test, and now he’s going to have to step up in competition.  Elite XC did an admirable job of getting people to believe that this fight mattered (witness Mauro Ranallo with the hard sell from the announcers table, asking which Tank we’ll see, “Sherman or septic”?), but they won’t be able to make that sow’s ear into more than one silk purse.  This bout might have been insulting to MMA fans and their intelligence, if only so many fans hadn’t swallowed the hype beforehand.

Congratulations to Kimbo for doing what we all knew he could do, but the preliminaries are over.  Time to fight an actual opponent.  Time for Elite XC to make it happen.  Time for Tank to go back to the bar and stay there.  I’m sure there are plenty of dudes waiting to buy him a drink and listen to stories of his glory days, back when it was 1995 and being powerfully sloppy was just enough to win.

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Filed under Elite XC, Kimbo Slice, MMA, Sports, Tank Abbott

Tank Abbott Continues Brave March Toward Certain Death

It’s going to be a shame when Tank Abbott is killed in the cage by a combination of punches and exhaustion on Saturday night. The live TV audience will be mildly shocked, I’m sure. At least, they’ll be shocked for about two minutes, until they go back and look at the pre-fight training photos where Tank looks like somebody’s grandfather who’s getting his first exercise since the last time he picked up a medicine ball in the Navy.

When I think about what to expect from the Tank-Kimbo affair, I can’t help but flashback to a trip I took with some friends to the Coney Island Aquarium a couple of summers ago. We were there to celebrate Dan Brooks’ engagement to another man, or some such occasion, and the highlight of the day was a fight we witnessed between two walruses over a warm rock. The fight seemed to happen in slow motion, with much bellowing and gnashing of tusks. In the end, the bigger, hoarier of the two walruses won.

This fight will be kind of like that, except instead of the big, hoary walrus fighting a smaller walrus, he’ll be fighting a giant buzz saw. It won’t take as long, but there will be more spectators. It will also be less entertaining, and with fewer snow cones.

If you don’t believe that this is a farce of a fight, witness these recent comments (courtesy of Cage Potato) from the two combatants.

Tank: “Kimbo is going to get hurt, that’s for sure. The way I am and the shape I’m in right now I can’t fathom a human being who can take five minutes of my shots. I am on fire right now.”

Uh huh. You know what I can’t fathom? How Tank could possibly throw five minutes worth of punches without wheezing to a halt for a cigarette break in the middle. But wait, there’s more.

“If you make a strategy to fight someone you are developing little crutches for yourself. I don’t have a plan.”

Really? Tank Abbott doesn’t have a game plan for this fight? So…it’s like his life?

“Everybody gives me shit about my shape. I can do 15 minutes on my head holding my breath.”

Wow. I don’t have enough evidence to dispute that claim, I guess, but let me point out one thing: no one is asking Tank to stand on his head holding his breath for fifteen minutes. They’re asking him to fight Kimbo Slice. Two very different things. Perhaps Tank hasn’t read the contract thoroughly. Man, is he in for a surprise on Saturday night. I’d hate to be the guy who has to explain it to him. (‘Hold on there, chief. I’m supposed to do what, now?’)

Not to be outdone, Kimbo had this to say in response: “Tank is full of shit if he thinks I can’t take his punches. I’m bringing the whole thing to the cage. I am bringing the hood with me to this cage.”

That’s right, people. The hood — a nickname for poor, urban neighborhoods across America — will journey with Kimbo Slice into the cage. Look out.

Honestly, I am kind of looking forward to this fight, but only for one reason. The sooner it happens, the sooner it will be over. Then maybe Kimbo can fight a real opponent. Wouldn’t that be nice.

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Filed under Elite XC, Kimbo Slice, MMA, Sports, Tank Abbott

Kimbo-Tank Bout Promises To Be…Something

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.

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Filed under Elite XC, Kimbo Slice, MMA, Sports, Tank Abbott

Misusing Kimbo Slice

Street brawler turned MMA fighter Kimbo Slice made his official pro debut at last night’s Elite XC event, and it was over faster than the porn clips his former employers made their livings from.  Nineteen seconds into the first round Slice (aka Kevin Ferguson) defeated professional jobber Bo Cantrell via TKO.

But wait, that’s not quite accurate.  That implies that Slice actually did something to render Cantrell incapable of continuing, and that isn’t true.  I’m not going to say that Cantrell took a dive.  That would be insulting to the Olympic sport of diving, which is more dignified and interesting than last night’s fight.

Think I’m overreacting?  Let’s ask Kimbo, who had this to say after the fight:

“I guess I landed the uppercut,” Slice told Bill Goldberg, in a post-fight interview.

You guess?  Does that sound like a description of a knockout blow?  And honestly, hasn’t Kimbo landed enough of them to know the difference between a punch that just clips somebody and one that drops them?

Cantrell looked intimidated from the get-go.  He was ready to drop down and cover up before the fight ever started.  It almost looked as if he was in hurry to get his check and get to the bank before it closed.  While I realize this isn’t anything you can blame Kimbo or Elite XC for, it’s disappointing nonetheless.

I think the best summation of what this fight meant for the career of Slice and the promotion that’s trying to build on his existing fame came from Bas Rutten, who helped train Slice for this fight and who also has a reputation as a straight-talker in the MMA business.

“I am happy for Kimbo, but he needs an opponent that is going to push him a little,” Rutten said. “I think he can handle it, but I want to see how he does when he has to face some adversity and go a full round or two. Really, Kimbo got nothing out of this fight tonight — except for a nice payday.”

That’s the truth.  Kimbo got his bread, but he didn’t get a chance to really show us what he’s got, which is a shame.  I realize that Kimbo is not a seasoned fighter at this point, but does that mean we can’t see him fight a serious opponent?

Because Kimbo already comes with the specious reputation of an internet brawler — which, admittedly, has its pros and cons — Elite XC is jeopardizing his credibility by putting him in these non fights.

Hopefully they decide to challenge him his next time out, and if they do I think they’ll find that it’s not only better for them, but it will be better for Kimbo’s long-term drawing power as well.

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Filed under Elite XC, Kimbo Slice, MMA, Sports

Mike Pyle Wants Out of Elite XC

MMA veteran Mike Pyle has turned down a title shot against Elite XC welterweight champion Jake Shields, although he is still taking the fight, according to MMA Weekly. The bout was originally supposed to be for the title, but Pyle seems intent on leaving Elite XC once his contract is up after this fight.

He claims that the organization isn’t doing enough to promote him, and that’s why he wants to go somewhere else. It seems that offering the man a shot at the title is a pretty good faith gesture on the part of Elite, particularly considering that Pyle could really hold them over the coals in negotiations for a new contract if he wins. Of course, they’d probably want him to resign before the bout, but having him fight Shields at all makes it a title fight of sorts, anyway.

Pyle also claims that the fight was offered to him too late, with only five weeks to prepare.

“And to have them call me up five weeks before a date on a fight and ask for me to fight a title shot, a five round fight, that’s not enough time to prepare. Five weeks out is not enough time to prepare for a guy like Jake Shields, plus those championship rounds.”

This makes it sound as if Pyle has reasons for not wanting the fight that go beyond the lack of posters with his face on them. It’s one thing to feel underpromoted (notice he didn’t say underpaid, which is the issue with most guys), but it’s another to feel like you can’t get in shape for the two extra rounds.

I have to say, though, it seems like flawed logic and a bad gamble all around for Pyle. If his fear is that he won’t have enough gas in the tank to go five rounds, Shields is a tough enough fighter that he’ll exploit that in the first three frames. And if Pyle is going to take the fight anyway and then leave, he has to know that his future contracts might depend on how he performs in this bout.

Maybe he already has another organization lined up to sign him, I don’t know. But he should realize that he might as well be fighting for the title. At least then he’d have something to show for it if he wins.

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Filed under Elite XC, MMA, Sports, Uncategorized

Nick Diaz, Yet Again, Talking Crazy

I love it when an MMA fighter or promoter starts with the crazy talk, which is just one of the reasons I’m a big fan of Nick Diaz. As far as I’m concerned, Diaz is the undisputed king of saying things that are at once provocative and confusing.

His newest gem came during a recent interview with UFCmania.com. When asked how he felt about the UFC’s welterweight division, Diaz responded thusly:

Nick Diaz: Georges or Matt Hughes, who the hell is there? Fitch? My boy Jake choked him out already. I’m ready to start talking shit on these guys. What do I have to do to fight one of these guys or get the promoters to make it happen? Call these guys pussies? Fine. They’re all pussies. Fuck every single one of them.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): You don’t think Fitch is the real deal?

Nick Diaz: No, I don’t. I think I’m gonna slap him and after I slap him I’m gonna beat him. Give me a fight with Fitch, go ahead. The UFC doesn’t want me fighting them but I’ll be there even when they start falling off because I’m a long distance fighter not like these fragile guys who always get hurt in training. How the hell do you get hurt so much in training? Stop flipping tires and jacking up all these weights.

That’s how you give an interview, people. That’s why Nick Diaz is one of my favorite fighters. Not only does he have phenomenal jiu-jitsu, but he also has an odd world view that I am fascinated with.

Notice how he seems to believe that simply calling someone a pussy should be enough to make a fight happen, as if the entire MMA world is just a really big high school party. Forget contracts, forget the fact that he is signed to a competing organization and there’s really no feasible way to make a fight happen with Georges St. Pierre or Matt Hughes or Jon Fitch. Just call them all pussies and your problem is solved.

But wait, it gets better. Here Diaz goes on a tirade against “fake fighters” who color their hair and toenails in an effort to get on magazine covers.

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): Who paints their hair and toes?

Nick Diaz: Dude everybody. C’mon man. Even Hermes Franca. One day he comes in with that goofy haircut. You got Jens Pulver, fucking Mayhem Miller. Some bitch he was talking to tried to offer me this piece of hydrogenated chocolate. What the fuck are these guys into? Give me some real chocolate. Real fighters eat real chocolate.

Note to self: make sure to only offer Nick Diaz real chocolate, or face his wrath. Seriously though, Diaz is probably one of the healthiest guys in the sport. I mean, he does triathlons for Pete’s sake. Not only does he do them, he places high in them. That’s impressive.

But the crazy talk isn’t finished. When asked about the staph infection he got during his last fight, Diaz somehow managed to indict Hawaiian cuisine:

Jesse Holland (UFCmania): You got staph as a result of that fight?

Nick Diaz: Yeah. I had a small cut over my eye and it got in there. Plus my immune system was already weakened from dropping to 160. And what the fuck is with the food in Hawaii? They got nothing to eat there man I was dying for some real food. Plus I didn’t sleep after the fight and once I got on that fucking airplane the pressure pushed all that shit together and the next thing you know I had chills and a fever. I know when something’s wrong with me too I was thinking “Damn this ain’t right”. I felt like I was dying.

I’m not sure what he means by “they got nothing to eat there.” I’ve been to Hawaii and to the best of my recollection that he have pretty much the same food choices there that they do on the mainland, it’s just a little more expensive. Then again, Nick Diaz and I clearly live in different universes. I suspect his is the more awesome of the two.

Read the full interview here.

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Filed under Crazy Talk, Elite XC, MMA, Nick Diaz, Sports