Sunday, June 01, 2008

What struck me at last night's CBS broadcast of Elite XC.

For those of whom are not fans or possibly do not follow the sport quite as closely as I, last night marked a turning point for the sport of MMA. CBS was the first major broadcast television network (excluding cable networks) to air a mixed martial arts card by the Elite XC organization. For those with cable TV or satellite, Elite XC is a joint venture with cable network Showtime and other various entities including world renowned boxing promotor Gary Shaw. Of course, last night's telecast was equally worthy because it featured Miami, FL street brawler-bodyguard turned Elite XC star fighter Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson in the main event. It's obvious that despite the fact that the card featured a title defense by Ruthless Robby Lawler the main draw for this event was for Kimbo Slice. Yes, folks. One day you're a homeless ex-felon making quick cash entering unsanctioned backyard bare knuckle street fights, the next day your videos of your fights hit YouTube which catch the eyes of officiants in the MMA world. And then stardom. Only in America.

But I like Kimbo and think that it is cool that he along with other professional fighters in the MMA arena can now actually make ends meet through their sport. The climb to stardom in MMA is not easy but it far surpasses what other fighters have had to go through back in the day. Progress? Yes. Flaws? Many still. One seems to be more of an ideology perhaps. Take for instance Brett Rogers, a father of three, who has recently climbed up the ranks of MMA heavyweight fighters in the sport with humble beginnings not so dissimilar to that of Kimbo. In interviews he mentions how he is glad that he can now "work" (fight) and get paid more now in the sport to help support his family. With this in mind, I could not help but notice that he sports two huge lengths of bling around his neck. Obviously, he must be doing more than "alright." And if they weren't new pieces, I wonder how many paychecks they set him back?

Now Kimbo has got himself a big ol' fist of bling around his neck that I think is as awesome as it is cheesy. Cheesy due to the fact that even Sir Mix-a-Lot pardons his own personal outdated examples of bling lust with the clever hook, "Excuse the gold, the video is old!" Awesome because no one else but Kimbo can even pull something like that off. And talk about an accessory truly matching the mood and character of the owner? Never before has a piece of jewelery been perfectly paired to an individual. (I draw this observation from far too numerous examples in our Hip Hop community.) The difference with Kimbo is that he has, indeed, reached stardom. So I guess the additions of bling are more understandable for him. For Rogers, however, I might think he could cash in both of those big links and set up a few CDs for his kids who most likely will be heading to college someday. After all, Rogers might be the next rising star but he has not broken the horizon just yet. In the world of MMA, all it takes is one severe injury or a string of losses to send you all the way back to repairing truck tires! ;-)


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