YouTube, the Internet and Kimbo Slice; ahh, America
Kimbo Slice. Have you heard the name before? If not, don’t bother. His 15 minutes are up.
Slice is (or was before Saturday) a mixed martial arts fighter who made his name on the Internet before being overhyped and pretty much exploited.
If you missed it, Slice (whose real name is Kevin Ferguson) was supposed to fight Ken Shamrock at an EliteXC match Saturday night. Instead, he fought a nobody named Seth Petruzelli and lost in 14 seconds. That’s not the problem.
Slice became popular through the underground Miami street fighting scene. His eight fight videos, readily available on YouTube, show a large, freakish black man beating up on people. It’s the kind of the seedy underbelly stuff that makes the Internet so appealing to some and repulsive to others. It’s also a great example of how the Internet is so powerful.
I have no beef with Slice/Ferguson. He’s had a rough life and from what I’ve read, he’s a stand-up guy who takes care of his kids. He once had aspirations (and apparently enough skill) to play college football but Hurricane Andrew destroyed those plans when it cut his senior season of high school football short. He’s been homeless. He’s been a bouncer and body guard. He’s been places I have never been. What is the problem is how we were all duped by the hype.
Slice gets paid well to fight so he’s going to do what he has to do. EliteXC gave him an exclusive contract in 2007 to be its main attraction. But everyone from CBS to ESPN put so much marketing and effort into this guy’s image that he never had a chance.
Many who have viewed his fights said he never fought anybody tough. The one tough guy the pundits said he did fight, former Boston cop Sean Gannon, beat him. Now publications such as Sports Illustrated are saying the EliteXC could go out of business. Why? Because the start-up firm put everything it had behind Slice. It proved to be a farce.
The Internet has many great attributes. Information is everywhere (even though much of it is bogus) and news is available almost minutes after it hap-