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Cooling Down: EliteXC “Heat” Thoughts and Commentary

As I write this piece while occasionally sipping from my seasonal Oktoberfest brew, I can only imagine that somewhere, Dana White has an ear-to-ear smile plastered across his evil little face. And I bet Sean Gannon is grinning a bit as well. Despite “Heat” sporting a very strong card which entertained me to the gills, it was the main event which brought EliteXC’s festivities to a screeching halt. And really it shouldn’t have with so many other great fights on the lineup, but I guess that is how it goes when you relegate your champion fighters to the back burner and place a 3-0 bodyguard in your main attraction.

Though to be fair, I take it upon myself to remind us all that Kimbo Slice should never have been on the same card as most of the fighters on Saturday night. The man is still extremely green in the MMA realm and in all honesty, should be making his run on the smaller circuits so that if and when he truly is ready, the big time will be there to welcome him with open arms. But that obviously was not the course life took for the “street certified” fist magician, who got pushed hard and fast by ProElite and Co., who were looking to cash in on the odd name known throughout YouTube and beyond.

Yes, Kimbo accepted a fight on extremely short notice against a game opponent whom he knew absolutely nothing about. That is commendable. But as a fighter, accepting a bout change last minute is something you are expected to cope with from time to time. It isn’t written any where, but it does sort of come with the territory. Regardless of who precisely you had been training for, the bottom line is that you were indeed training for a sufficient amount of time, and should be ready to fight whoever gets thrown into that cage (within reason, of course.)

That being said, Mr. Spotlight Seth Petruzelli (who weighed in at 205 pounds mind you) is the classic “nobody special” in the MMA universe. A season 2 TUF alumnus, Petruzelli’s biggest previous accomplishment was a decision win over an aging Dan Severn back in 2004. Pertuzelli is a seasoned martial artist but to say that he is top ten or even top 20 would be a massive stretch. And this guy knocked out Kimbo Slice in 14 seconds. See where I’m going with this?

Any how, EliteXC as a product has unfortunately lost some clout due to their million dollar bearded baby dropping a 14 second loss to a random journeyman with hot pink highlights. Kimbo can learn from his mistakes, recover, and come back to trounce Ken Shamrock like he was supposed to. And that is all well and good.

But eventually, another Seth Petruzelli will come along and put another dent into Kimbo’s nearly shattered illusion of invincibility. And what happens after that? Does the man retire after only a handful of professional fights? This is the problem with taking a name to the big show before it is fully matured. Even if Kimbo gets back on track with another win or two over hand-picked tomato cans, the Slice-equation still remains unsolved in the long-run. There just isn’t enough time to train someone, mentally and physically, to be the kind of fighter that people want Kimbo to be, versus the type of fighter that he is. Indeed, a rough and questionable road ahead awaits the 34 year old backyard brawler…

For more thoughts and commentary on EliteXC “Heat” continue reading…

The Rest of the Fights

Benji Radach def. Murilo “Ninja” Rua via TKO (strikes)

Well I thoroughly underestimated Benji Radach. I figured Rua to weather any striking storms Radach had to offer and come back with his own heavy shots for the inevitable TKO. But Radach threw some really nice combinations with power to match. Rua looked a bit sluggish and out of his game but take nothing away from Radach, the guy does have serious skills, though he is historically very prone to injury.

Gina Carano def. Kelly Kobold via unanimous decision

For someone who explicitly did not want to be referred to as “The Face of Women’s MMA”, Carano was certainly called that at least a handful of times over the course of the evening. Oh well. It obviously didn’t affect her game against Kelly Kobold, who clearly favored grappling and proved a worthy challenger, but ultimately fell to a more precise striker in Carano. Albeit not of the knock out nature, Gina’s late onslaught of pesky kicks looked as if they’d make any opponent frustrated and sloppy. I can only imagine that the rumored bout with Cristiane Cyborg is on the horizon, but who can ever tell with ProElite brass at the helm. All in all, another very strong showing for “Conviction.”

Andrei Arlovski def. Roy Nelson via KO

I actually thought that Nelson could have pulled out the upset if he managed to smother Arlovski on the ground with his ample gut, but it just wasn’t so. Once again I criticize the EliteXC ref’s for forcing Nelson to his feet while he was clearly working hard to keep Arlovski down and neutralized. Nonetheless, Arlovksi proved that sloppy physiques and sparse haymakers are no match for precision boxing and superb conditioning. Keep on trucking Andrei, you’ll find a comparable foe soon enough. As for Nelson, well I guess he’s beyond that weight watchers pep talk at this point, right?

Jake Shields def. Paul Daley via submission (armbar)

I pegged Daley to win this one sprawl and brawl style. Surely, Shields is the superior wrestler and submission fighter, but to say that Daley’s striking is light years beyond that of Jake Shields would be a gross understatement. Shields really lucked out in being able to take advantage of someone who has yet to develop an economical ground defense, but I’d still keep an eye out for Paul Daley in the future. Trust when I say that if Daley keeps up his grappling training he could turn into an extremely dangerous well-rounded threat to all welterweights in the game. Back across the pond to Cage Rage for now? Or maybe another “retirement”? You tell us, “Semtex”.

Additional Notes

  • For those who weren’t absolutely certain that EliteXC was again counting on Kimbo to win big and help keep the promotion afloat, rest assured it was written all over Jared Shaw’s face. It appeared as if Shaw nearly had a heart attack when Kimbo succumbed to the seldom known Seth Pertruzelli, as the slow-motion replay depicted a frantic “Skala” in the background looking as if someone just TKO’d his brand new puppy. I can only hope many of you also caught that nice little gem.
  • What is with these referees adding commentary right before the match begins? Is it no longer cool to simply recite the rules and start the damn fight? Now we have to listen to referees attempt to slip in bits about “showing the world what female MMA is all about” and so forth. I’m sure it wasn’t the ref’s idea, but nonetheless a cheesy move by EliteXC.
  • I also have to agree with the commentating crew when I say that female MMA should utilize the five minute round and ditch this three minute b.s. These ladies train just as hard and risk just as much by fighting, so let them fight for just as long as the Y chromosomes do. Is that such a crazy idea?
  • I know this isn’t news to anyone, but the more images I see of Cristiane Cyborg the more I can’t help but think “wow is that dude scary.” Seriously, Cyborg looks like the walking dead. You could not pay me enough to fight that…person.
  • Frank Shamrock still has braces. Good for him for finally fixing that weird extra tooth thing, but can’t you remove those bad boys for a fancy night out?Frank also reportedly offered to step out of his suit and into the cage as a late move, but come on, we all know how that match would have ended up.
  • CBS seems to have it together with the whole HD thing. The audio and visual came in incredibly clear on the new overpriced big screen, compared to the HD UFC pay-per-views which usually leave me pondering “What did I pay the extra ten bucks for?”.
  • And lastly, I would be remiss if I did not harp just a little bit on Ken Shamrock royally screwing the pooch. What was going on there Kenny? You decided to spar full contact the day of the big fight? I wasn’t terribly hung up on Shamrock’s absence since the man shouldn’t be fighting anymore any way, but my younger brother (who knows Shamrock more from his WWE days than anything else) actually called me up fuming about how he thinks Shamrock’s shenanigans were part of an elaborate scheme by EliteXC to pull the old bait and switch on the viewing public. This is the kind of phone call I have to deal with because Ken Shamrock can’t remember to take it easy before a fight. Thanks Ken.

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