Monday, May 10, 2010

Kimbo's UFC run is done

By Steve Cofield

UFC president Dana White laid down the challenge to Internet phenom Kimbo Slice and the street fighter accepted it. Kimbo made it through his stint on Season 10 of "The Ultimate Fighter" and got two more fights with the promotion.

Slice went 1-1 in the UFC after the reality show, including a bad loss Saturday night at UFC 113 against Matt Mitrione. The fight was so one-sided, the UFC president decided to give Kimbo, 36, his pink slip.

"That's probably Kimbo's last fight in the UFC," White said. "Listen, Kimbo made it farther than I thought he would."

As White was exiting the press conference for a postfight television interview, he was asked one more time about Kimbo's future. A reporter pushed him on the "probably" in his original Kimbo quote. White then confirmed definitively that Slice was gone.

Unlike some cases where other high-profile fighters were sent packing, White sounded genuinely disappointed to fire him.

"I didn't know Kimbo, I just knew what I saw," White said of his previous pro MMA fights and his work on YouTube. "The first time I ever met him I said, 'This is going to be an interesting meeting with the [expletive] I've said about him over the years.'"

When Slice was the centerpiece of CBS's EliteXC promotion, his status drove White nuts. He slammed and bad-mouthed Kimbo, saying the only way he'd make it to the UFC was to take part in the UFC's prospect show on Spike. That was a bitter pill to swallow for a guy who had earned between $250,000-$500,000 in each of four EliteXC fights.

Slice and his handlers were not combative. They just wanted the fighter to get a chance at legitimacy.

"He came in. He couldn't be a nicer guy. He took things serious, trained and went after it," White said. "His first fight wasn't the YouTube fights you saw. He won that fight [against Houston Alexander on the TUF 10 finale]. He deserved another fight in the UFC and he lost. Got nothing but respect for Kimbo and I like him as a person. And I think he's carried himself really well."


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