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Do You Really Want To See Kimbo vs. Tank? Really?

You never can tell what some people will think is a good idea. Or maybe you can and it’s just so disappointing that you’d rather not know. Either way, some powerful force in the universe seems intent on making a fight happen between internet brawler Kimbo Slice and washed up ex-UFC brawler Tank Abbott. is reporting today that Palace Fighting Championships, which replaced the departed WEC in Leemore, Calif., is planning to make an offer on the Kimbo-Tank fight that was originally planned for a CFFC show in New Jersey. What that offer might consist of, I don’t know, but my gut tells me it involves unmarked cash, maybe a used car, and probably some cheeseburgers.

This fight is not a serious MMA bout, and everyone knows it. It’s a sideshow spectacle. It belongs at a county fair or highway bar (what my dad would call a “juke joint”, if you will). When I heard that the original plan to put it on in New Jersey fell through because an “investor” pulled out at the last minute, I thought that perhaps cooler heads had prevailed. Sadly, there’s always someone ready to scoop up a match like this in the hopes of exploiting its “World’s Wildest Police Chases” type appeal.

I initially opposed Kimbo’s entrance into MMA, then supported it briefly, and now I’m mostly against it again. The support came from talking to Bas Rutten and Shawn Tompkins about him, both of whom described Kimbo as an eager and adept student. Fighting Ray Mercer in his first MMA bout seemed like an interesting test. Kimbo is a brawler, and Mercer was a boxer, so I wondered if knowing just a little bit of the ground game would be enough to help Kimbo win.

It was, even if the match itself was briefer than his ring entrance and much less entertaining.

But where Kimbo lost me was when he immediately challenged Tank Abbott to be his next opponent. That’s when it started to look like he had no interest in becoming a real MMA fighter. He just wants to make some quick cash thumping on very beatable has-beens.

That’s not so bad, I suppose. Everybody wants to make money, and while I don’t know much about Kimbo personally, what I’ve seen of him makes me think that he’s probably not going to fall back on his MBA should this fighting career not work out.

So fine, why shouldn’t he get paid? We all sell what we have, whether it’s violence or business acumen or, in the case of the ring girls, the ability to smile and hold a sign at the same time.

But does anybody think this fight will actually be interesting to watch? It’s being sold purely on name value, which the promoters hope will be enough to get butts in the seats. And while it may be enough to draw a certain type of crowd, you have to wonder what people are coming to see. An MMA fight between two skilled, ambitious competitors? No. A backyard brawl with different scenery and six dollar beers? Probably.

Sure, Kimbo will most likely beat Tank. If he does he’ll join an illustrious club with members such as Kimo Leopoldo, Gary Turner, and alcohol. But so what? What’s going to happen is Kimbo will bum rush Tank, who will either lose right away by TKO or sloppy submission, or else he’ll get tired inside of two minutes and then lose by TKO or sloppy submission.

Of course, he could always land a big haymaker and upset Kimbo, but what would that do to change the landscape of the MMA world or your perception of either fighter?  It’s not that I’m against this fight. I’m just against the reasons for this fight.

If you’re among the people who plan on watching this fight, my advice to you is to really enjoy the elaborate entrances and pre-fight hype. Because once that bell rings you’ve got a few precious moments before you start feeling bad about yourself and wondering where your money went. At least then you’ll know what Tank Abbott wakes up to everyday.

Ben Fowlkes is the writer of the MMA blog The Fighting Life, as well as the editor of the IFL’s official website,