- A WORD FROM THE ASIAN SENSATION…

June 1, 2008
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Editorial Commentary by Al Yu – MMAWeekly.com

(Photo
by Tom Casino/EliteXC)

hype
style=’font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial’>.

hype

-verb

1. to
stimulate, excite, or agitate

2. to
create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods

3. to
intensify

4. exaggerated
publicity; hoopla.

James
Thompson played the unforeseen part of the spoiler. Well, almost.

Riding the
hype train at breakneck speed, the man known as
href=”http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=6386&zoneid=13″>”Kimbo
Slice” won his third pro fight last Saturday evening
and prevented a near
disaster for EliteXC. Kevin Ferguson defeated James Thompson via TKO in the
third round of a much discussed and touted fight.

For a man
who was sold to the public as an ‘MMA Sensation,’ Ferguson displayed the skills
of a neophyte in his new craft. He is a work in progress. He is not ready to
headline events nor should he be put in a position to do so.

A fatigued
Ferguson endured his most difficult test to date as a professional. After the
fight, a dejected tone could be heard in his voice as he revealed that his
opponent was stronger than he expected to be. James Thompson was brought in as
cannon fodder and he nearly put Ferguson’s promoters and supporters into a
state of panic. Thompson came in with a game plan and put Kimbo on his back
numerous times; an intelligent albeit obvious plan on the English fighter’s
part.

The strategy
proved useful as Thompson held a seemingly helpless Kimbo down for the
remaining two minutes of the second round while peppering him with more than fifty
unanswered elbows and punches. Kimbo looked like a fish out of water and was ultimately
saved by the bell. By the same token, many viewers, including myself, wondered
why the fight wasn’t stopped.

The
announcer exclaimed “terrible stoppage!” after referee Dan Miragliotta halted
the fight during the final round in Ferguson’s favor. A dazed James Thompson
suffered a ruptured cauliflower ear and received four unanswered strikes which led
to the stoppage. It could be argued if the stoppage was questionably early; I
personally felt the decision by the referee was adequate.

After his
high profile fight came to a conclusion, a tired Kimbo could be seen lying on
the mat. He seemed relieved. ProElite, the parent company of EliteXC, must
have been relieved as well. A defeat for their chosen star would have been
disastrous. However, the damage was done.

Pushing
Kevin Ferguson into the forefront was a strategic marketing move for EliteXC.
Kimbo received an extensive amount of publicity and exposure prior to the
promotion’s CBS debut. Unfortunately, the hype train got derailed by Ferguson’s
average performance against an opponent he should have demolished on paper.

The purpose
of the invented wonder that is “Kimbo Slice” was to draw in the casual fans
with hopes of good ratings. EliteXC may need to find a new angle in promoting
their next CBS broadcast, assuming there will be another one.

In the end,
EliteXC has no one else to blame but themselves. They placed their eggs in one
basket and set the expectations too high. A fuse was lit and Ferguson was shot
out of the cannon too soon. The thick bearded fighter didn’t get exposed and
he is not to blame. He is exactly what he is; an inexperienced MMA fighter.

Kevin
Ferguson rebounded to win his fight at CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights. “Kimbo
Slice” was defeated by the hype.

(Editor’s
note: CBS released incomplete early ratings on Sunday and indicated that
ratings were up for the network across the board for that specific time slot.
So there is likely to be another CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights, although no
announcement of such has been forthcoming. Full ratings, however, will not be
available until Tuesday.)

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