Love him or hate him, you have to respect him.
I am a person who enjoys studying successful people. I like to know what they did to get where they are so I can take some of those qualities and apply them to my everyday life.
There may be no more intriguing human being on the planet to study than Dana White and his latest decision to bring Kimbo Slice into Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter is proof positive of that.
As soon as Yahoo! Sports broke the news of the Slice signing Monday night, my phone started ringing off the hook with friends asking me if I could believe it.
Of course I can believe it. It’s the smart business move made by one of the smartest businessmen on the planet.
First, let’s get a couple of things out of the way. Kimbo is not a good MMA fighter and most likely never will be. I know it, you know it and White knows it.
So why sign him then if the guy can’t fight? That’s simple.
Say what you want about Slice’s fighting ability; he is one of the only non-UFC fighters that the average fan cares about. I’m not talking about you guys who come to Five Ounces of Pain every day.
I’m talking about the average Joe sports fan who still finds Chris Berman funny. Just for the record, Berman stopped being funny around 1997.
Think about it. Other than Tito Ortiz, who out there is a bigger draw than Slice? Fedor? No way. We all love Fedor because we are huge fight fans but do you think the average Joe on the street relates to Fedor?
The guy has never even been on American TV. Most average people haven’t seen him fight or know very little about him, so while Fedor is arguably the best fighter on the planet, he isn’t that mega draw yet.
White knows all this and he also knows that any organization that lands Slice instantly gets a huge drawing card. So why not make that organization the UFC?
The Ultimate Fighter TV show is losing steam. White already gave it a shot in the arm by naming Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson the coaches for Season 10.
Now you throw in Slice, a guy White once called a “joke’ and a “bum” and you are talking about monster ratings for the UFC.
So in one fell swoop, White has not only prevented a rival promotion from signing one of the biggest free agents on the market, he brought the fighter in himself to drive up his own ratings. Brilliant.
If you want to witness White’s genius, tune into the “TUF” Season 10 Finale on December 5. If Kimbo makes it that far, it should be the most watched program ever on Spike TV and a huge moneymaker for White and the UFC.
Meanwhile, Strikeforce, Affliction and all the other organizations will be sitting there watching White with that smug smile on his face, knowing he got the best of them yet again.
But wait, here is the best part. If Slice does indeed win the show and earns a UFC contract, that’s when White gets his cake and eats it too.
Because like I stated above, there is no way he can hang with the likes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo and the rest of the UFC’s heavyweight division. No way. He will be gone in a blink of an eye. White is basically using Slice to get what he wants and then throwing him away.
So in the end, White will have poached Slice from his rivals, made a ton of money for him and the UFC, produced record ratings for The Ultimate Fighter and proved that Slice couldn’t compete in the UFC like he stated all along.
How is that for smart?