The star that never was
At the height of his mythology as the "King of the Web Brawlers," so dubbed by
There was the one about him serving 10 to 20 years in prison. Another that he'd taken a man's life. And then there was one that claimed the Miami native had a disabled brother.
"[His brother's] big. He's normal. He's fat. ... He's far from handicapped," said "Icey"
The point is people were talking. Suddenly, Slice had an audience to captivate. Before anyone knew it, interest had ballooned to where the street brawler was making a name for himself on prime-time television.
But there was a problem, and people soon took notice. Slice wasn't, and still isn't, a mixed martial artist. He casts a mean shadow and throws some heavy punches, but after Saturday night at
Why anyone would expect otherwise is baffling. In his mid-30s, Slice walked into a situation he admittedly was not prepared for. He could deliver a punch and take one back, but that was the extent of his fighting acumen. It was like asking a local long-drive champion to step up his game for the PGA Tour.
So, Slice worked with
In an industry where winning is the bottom line, though, maintaining celebrity as a perceived loser isn't a way to sell yourself (ask
"The thing that makes somebody a star is they have that 'x-factor,'" Lappen said. "And Kimbo has that."
But there is a strain of thought among some MMA devotees that counters everything
"The true test of a champion and a warrior is how they respond to this," Lappen said. "We'll see how Kimbo responds. I think he'll step up because I believe in him. This is only his fourth fight. He was put in a very tough situation. He showed to me that he has the heart to step in there, and he got caught."
True, some legends have lost.
And though Slice may have the market cornered on name appeal, he hardly holds a monopoly when it comes to heart. Fighters worldwide have accepted short notice bouts, stepped in a ring or cage at something less than a 100 percent, battled three, sometimes four times in one night.
Grit is a prerequisite for fan attention. Winning ensures lingering curiosity.