Apparently it’s not enough to make the erroneous Kimbo Slice-Mike Tyson comparison anymore. With Elite XC’s big event just a day away, Live Events President Gary Shaw is kicking it up a notch. Now Kimbo isn’t just the Mike Tyson of MMA, he’s the Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, too. Shaw made the case at yesterday’s final presser in New York City:
“The first time I introduced Kimbo, I was introducing him as a YouTube sensation with over 10 million hits. I knew he was a star then. I knew he could be a superstar. There are great basketball players, but nothing like Michael Jordan. There are great golfers, but nothing like Tiger Woods. Every once in a while there is someone who crosses over that line to a superstar. You just know.
“When Mike Tyson walked in, the place erupted. When someone else walked in there were only a few claps. Well, Kimbo Slice is a superstar. He is probably the most recognizable name in all of MMA. On May 31, when he gets in the cage, he will be the single most known face of MMA.
“(UFC’s) Dana White will be at home watching us on CBS. When he rips Kimbo Slice, it only proves he is an idiot. When he says that BJ Penn is the best fighter in the whole family and can knock out Kimbo Slice, the DEA should raid his home. I know BJ Penn would never say that and is probably embarrassed. Although BJ Penn is the best fighter in the family, he’s not the smartest Penn (JD, his brother, is an executive at EliteXC).
“Kimbo has a complex side to him as well. He is intelligent. He is well-read, well-versed. He is street through and through. He has not forgotten where he came from. On the bus ride over here, he told me he bought two 26-inch TVs and is going to give them to someone needy in the work area in Newark. He wants to leave Newark with a positive impression. It not only says something about Kimbo but the MMA family. I am telling you, Kimbo Slice is real.”
That’s got to be the first time the statement, “He is well-read,” was followed by, “He is street, through and through.” Shaw went on to reveal that Kimbo will use his fight purse to adopt and care for a bunch of cute, furry animals, and then will return to his homemade laboratory to find a cure for cancer before being named Poet Laureate of the United States — so fuck you, Charles Simic.
Kimbo himself was slightly more reserved and, one imagines, also kind of embarrassed by Shaw’s antics:
“I don’t have much to say. I want to thank CBS and EliteXC. CBS rules.
I don’t feel like all the pressure is on me to perform a certain way. Not at all.
I don’t underestimate any fighter. Just because he has lost a couple fights, doesn’t mean he isn’t going to come out strong.’’
It’s not the coming out strong that has been Thompson’s problem. It’s the coming out strong and then going down hard that he needs to work on.