Say what you will about tomorrow night’s Kimbo Slice vs. Ray Mercer exhibition MMA bout that headlines Cage Fury Fighting Championships in New Jersey, it is drawing attention. It remains to be seen how many pay-per-view dollars the fight draws, but it is getting noticed.
Many in the MMA world see this as another ruse to put an aging, former boxing champion over in the eyes of the MMA crowd, not unlike Tommy Morrison’s farce that devolved into little more than a boxing match in a cage with the fighters wearing 4-ounce gloves.
While former WBO heavyweight champ Mercer has been tight lipped about any MMA training he’s been doing, if any. On the other hand, Kimbo, known for his backstreet fight Internet exploits, has been training hard and with legitimate mixed martial artists.
“It’s like night and day,” Kimbo said of MMA training versus what he’s done in the past. “You can’t even compare the two. I give a lot of respect to these fighters. The guys I’m working with are serious.”
The guys that he worked with in preparation for the exhibition bout with Mercer are none other than the fighters at Randy Couture’s Las Vegas gym and Bas Rutten in California.
The bout will be three 5-minute rounds according to Nick Lembo, counsel to the New Jersey Athletic Control Board. It will also follow the Unified Rules widely accepted as the standard in America. Because it is in exhibition, there will be no judges scoring the bout, but experienced referee Dan Miragliotta will oversee the action inside the cage.
As much of a “freak show” as this may be to many, Kimbo does at least appear to have taken his preparations seriously.
If you’re not already, sign up to become an MMAWeekly.com Premium Member. You not only get instant access to the interview with Kimbo Slice, but also the entire MMAWeekly Radio Archives and Video Library.