Boxing on Kimbo’s Mind, Manager Addresses Auction

By Loretta Hunt Nov 13, 2008
Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson has a hankering to try boxing, he told host Dan Le Batard on Sports Talk 790 The Ticket Wednesday.

“I’m thinking about boxing as well,” said the Internet legend turned MMA fighter. “Boxing is wide open right now. I want to do it all.”

Ferguson’s revelation didn’t come with any news of a fight on the horizon, though he said he’d like to return to MMA competition by February.

The interview marked Ferguson’s first since his lackluster 14-second TKO loss at the hands of last-minute replacement Seth Petruzelli on Oct. 4.

Ferguson, 34, said he took the loss –- which came in front of a hometown crowd in Sunrise, Fla., at EliteXC “Heat” –- in stride. In fact, the only ones the bearded brawler said he had difficulty explaining the defeat to were his six young children, whom he told, “what comes up, must come down.”

“It comes with the territory,” said Ferguson. “It’s like I said from the beginning. I’m a fighter and that’s what I’ll continue to do, and I’ll give it 110 percent. If a guy catches me with a good one, that’s cool.”

Ferguson’s accelerated rise to the top of the MMA food chain earned him Nike commercial spots and the cover of ESPN the Magazine, though many felt the then 3-0 novice would be exposed in defeat sooner than later. However, no one could script the bizarre circumstances that surrounded Slice’s fall.

Dave Mandel/

"It comes with the territory,"
said Ferguson of his loss
to Seth Petruzelli.
The chaotic circumstances of Oct. 4 affected the newcomer profoundly, he recalled to the Florida radio show.

“They [EliteXC] had us under the impression that the fight wasn’t happening. When they said it wasn’t going to happen, that blood I’ve been holding on the whole time while I was training, I kind of let it go a little bit,” Ferguson said. “I was a little bit depressed, but I kind of had a relaxed mind frame and everything about me was no longer in fight mode.”

An hour later, Ferguson said EliteXC officials raced to his side to propose the much younger Petruzelli as a replacement for the 44-year-old Ken Shamrock, who’d been sidelined by the Florida State Athletic Commission with a cut. Ferguson said he didn’t hesitate to accept.

“I didn’t want to back down,” Slice told Le Batard. “That night wasn’t my night. I didn’t have the fire and the mind and the heart and my understanding was the fight wasn’t going to take place, so I wasn’t in fight mode anymore.”

With Ferguson’s first knock in the cage, came a tidal wave of critics and even accusations of fight fixing. Ferguson said he’d never work a fight, though no questions regarding Petruzelli’s post-fight comments alluding to a tampered bout were asked to him.

“Expect the good with the bad. You’re an entertainer. The comments are gonna come whether they’re good or bad, it’s gonna come,” said Ferguson. “No, I’m not embarrassed by it [the performance]. You can’t be embarrassed when you’re an entertainer. If you’re gonna get embarrassed, whether it’s fighting, rap, or anything on that level, then you’re in the wrong business. Real professionals prepare themselves for the good and the bad.”

What came of fight night was much more than the defeat of a promotion’s main star. Two weeks later, Pro Elite, under the microscope for dubious conduct in the Slice-Petruzelli bout, cancelled a Nov. 8 event and closed its doors after a lifesaving deal for its purchase by Showtime ran dry.

Ferguson and his manager Mike Imber have seemingly stood alone in voicing their support of Pro Elite since it ceased main operations on Oct. 20. Ferguson told the radio station he’d continue to fight for the promotion if they were able to resume business, though his name was the first of many listed in online advertisements solicited by Showtime, who will attempt to sell off the fighters’ contracts as collateral at an open auction on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles.

Showtime lent $6.5 million to Pro Elite during their collaboration, according to SEC filings, and is trying to make good on at least a portion of it.

However, a Nov. 10 letter circulated by seven fighter representatives stated that they and their clients planned to legally challenge any contracts transferred in the sale. Imber said he was not contacted by the group for inclusion in the letter, nor was he forewarned that Ferguson’s contract would be listed for sale to the highest bidder.

“Nobody told us, but I think everyone’s in unchartered waters right now and who knows what’s going to happen with it,” Imber told on Wednesday. “These people can all fight it; they can do whatever they want. They’re still going to put these contracts up at the auction, so I’m sure it’s some sort of ‘buyer beware’ [situation].”

Imber would not indicate if he and Ferguson would honor the fighter’s contract in a new buyer’s hands.
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