Seth Petruzelli. Photo by Tom Casino, EliteXC/CBS.
After a weekend without a steady internet connection because of work going on in my area, I hopped on the computer this morning and immediately noticed the headlines concerning Seth Petruzelli’s quick and easy victory over Kimbo Slice this weekend.
They were “shocking” to say the least. Not shocking because of the amount of coverage the fight got, that was expected in my opinion, but shocking because people are actually treating Petruzelli’s destruction of Slice as surprising.
Give me a break…
The second that Petruzelli was announced as Ken Shamrock’s replacement opponent, I immediately turned to my friends and told them to expect a Kimbo Slice loss. Joe Rogan did the same thing. Although I’m sure no one expected Slice to go down in just 14 seconds, his first professional defeat was clearly coming against a much more experienced and credentialed fighter than he.
It was a long time coming. As if Slice’s lackluster performance against James Thompson wasn’t enough to convince the casual fan that Kimbo wasn’t anything more than a beginner in the sport of MMA and a former street fighter that sports minimal boxing technique, Petruzelli’s hysterical claim to fame now will.
Petruzelli was a mediocre heavyweight that was released from the UFC because he wasn’t good enough and had recently made the drop down to 205 lbs after stepping away from the sport for a year in order to move forward with the creation of his own business.
Yet, Petruzelli had still racked up a 9-4 record in MMA and event dropped another freak show in Bob Sapp during a short stint as a K-1 kickboxer in 2004. Unfortunately for Team Kimbo and his EliteXC caretakers, they overlooked Petruzelli, just like all of the gullible, casual fight fans that thought Kimbo was something he wasn’t.
It’s tough to say what the future holds for EliteXC and Kimbo after Saturday’s turn of events. Even though a Slice loss is expected to destroy his star-power and officially send the company down the drain, Slice could also headline another future card for the organization, which pulled in approximately 4.3 million viewers for CBS over the weekend and bettered it’s inaugural brodcast on the network.
The only certain thing at this point is the fact that EliteXC should never have promoted Slice as the next great fighter. Unless your name is Randy Couture, the chances of one having great success in MMA by entering the sport at the age of 34 is extremely unlikely.
The current situation would never have happened if Slice took the normal route the rest of the world does and improved his skills in smaller shows before entering the big time, sans Brock Lesnar, who actually has the athletic ability and wrestling to sufficiently protect himself in the cage.
However, MMA has now become a sport that can make the big bucks. No one can blame EliteXC for attempting to cash in and potentially rival the UFC, only for their promoting skills that feature an unnecessary, boxing-esque hype machine.
EliteXC’s future with their biggest star deflated again remains uncertain, but if Jared Shaw’s near-heart attack while Slice was being put on “queer street” along with EliteXC employees reportedly already looking for new jobs are any indication, things might not be looking good.
So in conclusion, was Petruzelli’s victory any sort of surprise? Absolutely not, and it’s a shame that others think otherwise. “The biggest upset in the history of mixed martial arts”? Gus Johnson’s one-time claim of being an avid MMA fan and supporter no longer carries any legitimacy, whether CBS was feeding him lines or not.
Kimbo Slice wasn’t exposed Saturday night. That happened the day he, EliteXC, and anyone else thought that he had a shot at hanging with the big boys. The only thing that was brought to light was the truth - Slice wasn’t even a has been, he’s a never was and probably never will be.
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