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CagePotato Ban: Kimbo Slice – Mike Tyson Comparisons

Let’s get something straight: Kimbo Slice is not Mike Tyson. He’s not a Tyson-like figure. There’s no “aura of Tyson” around him, no impending “Kimbo Slice’s Punch Out” ready to hit shelves. It’s a bad analogy. If you don’t believe me, just look at the people who keep making it.

First it was Gary Shaw, who kept bringing it up in last week’s media conference call. His thesis was, essentially, that while Kimbo doesn’t have many fights he does have the same kind of energy and popularity that made Tyson a star in the eighties and early nineties.

It’s not hard to see why Shaw likes this comparison. Just as Don King made a lot of money off “Iron Mike”, Shaw stands to do the same in regards to Kimbo. I don’t fault Shaw for drawing the comparison and attempting to force it on others. He’s a promoter. That’s what he does. But the rest of us should know better than to swallow that message without thinking about it.

For instance, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports starts a recent column with this sentence: “It’s hardly a stretch to suggest that Kimbo Slice is the Mike Tyson of the 21st century.”

Really? It’s not a stretch to suggest that a guy with a 3-0 pro record is the 21st century version of a once-dominant heavyweight boxing champion? Seriously?

Let’s imagine for a moment that this is a true statement. If it were, it would prove only that the 21st century is dumber than the late 20th century. It would mean that we live in a time that values the cult of celebrity over actual accomplishment, and that we have become so obsessed with fame that we have lost the ability to make qualitative value judgments.

This isn’t a knock on Kimbo. I’m not saying Kimbo isn’t talented or that he won’t accomplish anything in the sport, only that he hasn’t yet. Consider that when Tyson turned pro he’d already become a national Golden Gloves champion and had more than twenty amateur fights to his credit. He went on to become the youngest heavyweight champ in boxing history before his colossal collapse.

Kimbo hasn’t done anything meaningful in the sport of MMA as of yet. Even if it were accurate to compare him to Tyson, it would just mean that as a century this one is off to a very stupid start.

I’d like to think that isn’t true. I’d like to think that we are not just a generation of raccoons who love any shiny object so much that we can’t tell the difference between stainless steel and a ball of tinfoil. Then again, I’d like to think that someone who writes about sports for a living would do his own thinking before buying Gary Shaw’s hazy logic about Kimbo’s mass appeal.

Shaw told Iole that Kimbo is a superstar right now because he has an “it factor” that is evident when they go to restaurants together.

“I’ve been to a high-class steakhouse with Kimbo and I’ve seen it,” Shaw said. “People, not just the young kids, all stand up and say, ‘Kimbo! Hey, there’s Kimbo!’

“You could take most of the best fighters in the world and have them walk into a place like that and the maître d would say, ‘OK, we’ll have a table for you in 40 minutes.’ Kimbo is a superstar right now, and he’s only going to get bigger.”

This is exactly my point, this kind of reasoning that Shaw spouts off and Iole accepts. Kimbo is a “superstar” because he is recognized in public. He’s a star because he’s treated like one, because people have seen his face. He’s famous because he’s famous.

It’s a terrible logic that conflates being recognized in steakhouses with having climbed to the pinnacle of a given field, the way Tyson did. It’s a useless comparison that only serves to make the person who believes it look absolutely clueless.

Enough. Kimbo Slice is not Mike Tyson. They’re both black, they’re both fighters, they’re both famous. The same is true of “Rampage” Jackson. At least he has established himself as a legitimate champion.

Maybe if Dana White can prove Jackson’s celebrity status to Iole with a trip to Ruth’s Chris we can start making “Rampage”-Tyson comparisons. It would be a welcome improvement.

(-Ben Fowlkes)

Cagepotato Comments

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Chrisleben sucksass- October 24, 2012 at 5:53 pm
That bitch Chris "I'm crippled" Leben has contracted anal warts from a gay bath house. Good ! He always has and always will suck. Looks like he (she) is going back to volunteering at the bull semen extracting job!
Anonymous- March 19, 2009 at 1:06 pm
tyson would smash kimbos little face in and make him suck his balls....
JD- September 22, 2008 at 6:21 pm
The Mike Tyson-Kimbo comparison is based on fighting style alone. The way he "sits down" on his punches, the upper body movement, the explosiveness for his size. Of course I wouldn't expect fans of MMA to know about these terms, worshiping fighters like Lindell who's best move is landing wild looping lucky punches to the heads of unsuspecting wrestlers with their hands down.
bugzy- September 19, 2008 at 11:37 pm
kimbo aint iron mike....... rampage is.
krook- August 27, 2008 at 12:58 am
Kimbo is nothing compared to mike tyson
sure he can fight, but nothing to what mike tyson accomplished
great article
gabeC- May 19, 2008 at 6:26 pm
Kimbo will be the next HW champion mark my words!
chris- May 19, 2008 at 2:36 pm
we are all forgetting he has lost - against some copper. That was in his early "ametuer" days ;)
Jeff- May 19, 2008 at 7:00 am
All these Kimbo bashers are newbs who don't know who Bas Rutten is.
ryan- May 19, 2008 at 3:08 am
i meen he did beat the hell outa tank abbott
ryan bishop- May 19, 2008 at 3:07 am
when kimbo goes 19-0 we can start makin comparisons to tyson but until then we need to at least give him credit for what he has done
Anonymous- May 18, 2008 at 11:50 pm
I dont think Kimbo himself has ever equated himself with the best fighters in the sport. Unfortunately for him, all this hype that has been built around him by promoters is probably bad for his career. If he fights, and loses to a legitamate fighter, he is gonna have a hell of a time winning back hi respect.
Baked Potato- May 18, 2008 at 10:02 pm
@Gregger - Kimbo should just shave his beard except the middle and have the world's first Beardhawk. It would be like Mr. T, in reverse. Mike Tyson would have nothing on that.
Breton- May 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm
Joseph, this isn't about Kimbo himself, this is about people hyping the shit out of him and equating Kimbo's celebrity with Tyson's dominance over the HW division in his day. Most people aren't necessarily sick of Kimbo himself, they're sick of him getting hyped to no end and equated with world-class athletes after beating 3 fat old men who couldn't even present a challenge for him. I'd love Kimbo if they marketed him as what he was - but they don't.
Gregger- May 18, 2008 at 9:15 pm
If someone shaved Kimbo's beard in the middle of the night, would he still be popular in the morning?
Gregger- May 18, 2008 at 9:14 pm
Wait, so you're saying Kimbo is not the best fighter in the world? He's undefeated. C'mon, how much more does the guy have to do? I think you're really asking too much.
BIG CHRIS- May 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm
Great post....I think Kimbo could learn from the mistakes of Tyson, but other than that there is no real comparison if you ask me....
lolwut- May 18, 2008 at 5:47 pm
kimbo's hype is nowhere near what Tysons was, everyone in every country knew who mike tyson was back in the day.
Gaston- May 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm
I was going to grease you up some. But everything has been said. Greeeeaaat article. Very nice addition to the potato crew
tony@rbd- May 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm
Mike Tyson > Youtube > Kimbo > CagePotato > the sum of the Ben's > expensive steakhouse > cheap steakhouse > Gary Shaw > Kevin Iole

Well done.
Rumbler- May 18, 2008 at 5:03 pm
I predict that the popular MMA message board phrase "You TUF Noob" will be replaced with "You Kimbo noob" any day now.
Ben Fowlkes for Prez- May 18, 2008 at 4:49 pm
Nice job Ben! Plainly stated, and puts that suck-up Iole in his place.

You are a great addition to this site, and you actually bring more than just the incessant top ten lists. Nice work. You have done for Cage Potato what Ram Marmba did for 5 oz. of Pain!!!
Joseph- May 18, 2008 at 4:33 pm
Why people are sick of the Kimbo "hype" is beyond me.

No one is saying that he is the next HW champion, or an accomplished or well rounded fighter. He is exciting and puts behinds on the seats. End of argument!

It is pretty stupid to dedicate articles bashing Kimbo or comparisons that are made towards him based on a couple of knuckleheads, which cause people to hate Kimbo.

All Kimbo has done in MMA is thanked everyone, acknowledges that he is very green and will take tons of work and training to become a better fighter, and is very humble and appreciative of the opportunity that was given to him.

Look at the UFC. One of their upcoming shows will be headlined by Brock Lesnar and the ever aging Coleman, who should not really be fighting anymore. People get upsed that Kimbo is going to be the main event when the UFC is doing the same with Lesnar. It is all about selling PPVs and filling up the arenas, and if white could put Kimbo vs Lesnar, he would do it in a heart beat.
Zackary Adams- May 18, 2008 at 4:25 pm
You can compare Kimbo to Nicole Ritchie as easily as to Tyson. They're both famous for being famous, internet buzz-ready in an age of NOW! Though the payout on a Paris-Nicole match would probably garner a bit higher penny then any Kimbo-Meat Puppet fight.

Bravo on the article.
skidding- May 18, 2008 at 4:24 pm
Are they really not that different? They both abused bitches in their backyard.
Kim Couture is a cunt- May 18, 2008 at 4:16 pm
Ben, great article. I like having you around here. *stands up, claps*