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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,

  • Captain says:

    Well, if Kimbo really does have potential, as Bas and Shawn Tompkins have said, he needs to keep proving it in gradual steps. Keep in mind this is only his second fight, so he can either prove his potential against older known fighters that are not as good as they used to be or against new up-and-coming fighters that most people have not heard of yet. If I’m a promoter I’m going to match him up with an older known fighter that will draw more of a crowd and also allow him to prove he has some potential and build a future for more fights.

    That being said, it is kind of a sideshow but I would still be interested in watching. I think all of us would watch if the price was right actually.

  • dizzle says:

    great article. I was really against seeing kimbo become a MMAist but I’ve had a change of heart when I’ve seen his interviews and have been able to get more background information on this guy. He deserves a chance, but he needs to be tested inside and outside of the ring on a regular basis. The guy seems to be a really hard worker and he’s not your typical ghetto african american (hopefully that doesnt sound racist).

    but back onto the articles question…do i really want to see kimbo vs. tank? HELL NO! It will be another boring fight because Tank can’t go more than 1 round and last. I think Kimbo needs to be challenged in order to become a better fighter. We all know that Kimbo was a 1 dimensional fighter that only knew stand up. But as we seen he has been working on his ground game in the rutten and mccartney camp.

    Kimbo needs to do something fast though. He can’t go another 2 months without being in a fight. He will lose his fans that have backed him and he will just be another trend fighter like we’ve all seen come and go.

  • Jonah says:

    “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.”

    Yeah, I want to see this fight…when it comes on youtube. I can’t imagine why anyone would pay for this.

  • Commuter says:

    “He just wants to make some quick cash thumping on very beatable has-beens.”

    This is his second MMA fight (and his first as a pro). It would be unreasonable to put him in with someone at a higher caliber at this point. Will he walk through Tank? Probably.

    But before they imploded, CFFC’s plan was give him Duke Roufus next. Although Duke is not a complete MMA fighter, he would have had a similar 1-0 MMA record by that point and would have been a great test for Kimbo.

  • screwface says:

    i found this article very disapointing. Every1 has been waitin for kimbo to get in the pro game for a long time now, and if bas rutten is training him than its not a joke. no1 has generated the kinda noise kimbo has from online video fights. And tank abbot isnt exactly an old has been. this is his 2nd pro fight, and the mercer fight was more of a joke, but this will be a great test to see if kimbo can handle better opponents in the future. if he runs thru tank, then for his 3rd fight get him in the ring with some1 more new and exciting. your entitled to your opinion but kimbo made a lot of fans with his youtube fights, gotta start somewhere and not every1 has the advantage of a dojo and college wrestling under their belt. Hes an exciting prospect, and i for one cant wait to see this fight, cuz if it goes the way i think itll go, than the start of a great career for kimbo. didnt rich franklin start his fame fighting an “old has been” like ken shamrock? dont hate the player, hate the game :p

  • ted dibiase says:

    of course i wanna see this fight.
    id love to see kimbo or tank KO’d.

    much better than watching TUF losers duke it out

  • ted dibiase says:

    whats up with everyone saying Kimbos internet fights are generating buzz? bum fights generated buzz. who cares. kimbo was fighting complete losers. he has no skills other than throwing big punches. is gassing a skill?

  • screwface says:

    and btw dizzle, yeah that was kinda racist. but aint freedom great

  • dizzle says:

    well I didn’t mean it to be…but i thought someone might have felt offended…sorry if anyone did.

  • Screwface, did you seriously write that Tank Abbott isn’t an old has-been? Isn’t? I assume that’s a typo. Tank was mid-level back when nobody was a complete fighter. Now he’s even fatter and less conditioned than he was then.

    BTW, Rich Franklin was 17-1 when he fought Shamrock, and he’d fought several times in the UFC by then. Comparing that fight to Kimbo fighting Tank is absurd. I agree that Kimbo can possibly go places, but he needs to have real opponents.

  • […] today, site writer Ben Fowlkes wrote a piece concerning whether or not anyone really wants to watch or spend money on a fight between Kimbo […]

  • screwface says:

    ben, no1 paid attention to franklin till he beat shamrock, and b4 that he was in 3 or 4 ufc undercards that no1 paid attention too, his other fights were pretty much the minor leagues of MMA. so comparing it to tank abbot who i said was not EXACTLY an old has been; yeah the guy has seen better days, but once upon a time he was a big name, just like shamrock, so umm yeah good comparison imo. im not disrepecting you, like i said your entitled to your opinion, but keep in mind thats exactly what it is, your OPINION. and seems lots of readers and another writer here disagrees with it too.

  • Screwface, you still can’t sell me on the idea that Franklin-Shamrock is comparable to Kimbo-Tank. You also can’t tell me Tank isn’t a has-been. He hasn’t won a fight in two and a half years and has lost seven of his last ten. Tank’s not even a has-been. A has-been implies he was good once.

    And yeah, it’s my opinion. But if I’m on opposing sides from the guy who habitually substitutes numbers for words, I feel good about that opinion.

  • screwface says:

    wow i guess if your best arguement is about how i choose to type then by all means feel good about yourself anyway you see fit but frankly uve officially lost my respect, i wouldve expected that from another reader but not some1 who claims to be in the know. i guess sams hurtin for help nowadays, but since you now write on a pc blog might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some pc lingo :)

  • billyjack says:

    I’d rather see these two big mugs swing it out on their feet (hopefully) for 15 minutes than watch two “experienced” MMA’ers wrestle/submission fuck each other the whole fight.

    But maybe that’s why I’m a boxing fan, and also why boxing is still the better ticket.

    Let’s face it, MMA is to boxing as county fair stock car racing is to formula one.

  • MIKE VONA says:



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