If you were expecting Bas Rutten, one of Kimbo Slice’s trainers, to throw him under the bus following his first-ever career professional loss this past Saturday, you’re sadly mistaken.
Rutten, a former UFC heavyweight champion who has prepared for all three of Slice’s professional fights and his exhibition debut, still believes the decision to face ex-UFC light heavyweight Seth Petruzelli during EliteXC and CBS’ Saturday Night Fights this past weekend was the right call to make.
“I think it was the right decision because people were there to see him right,” said Rutten during an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com. “I think that 80 percent of the people in the place were there for Kimbo. And they found a replacement for Ken (Shamrock) so let’s put the fight on?”
When asked if he was surprised in the manner in which Slice was knocked down — a right jab by Petruzelli — Rutten indicated that he certainly was.
“I think everyone in that place was surprised with that,” he responded. “We’ve seen him in street brawls get hit much harder and still stay up. This was literally what they call a fluke shot. Was it a lucky shot? People might say it’s a lucky shot but it’s not. He aimed for it and I’ve always said that if you aim for it and you hit it then it’s not a lucky shot. It was a weird position to punch from but for some reason it took the wind out of him. It was very weird.”
While many are writing off Slice in light of the disappointing effort, Rutten is standing by Slice and believes that the outcome could have been worse.
“Some people cannot win regardless of the outcome,” Rutten began. “It’s a no-win situation. Everyone is bagging on him. If people are smart, they will look at the fight. It lasted 14 seconds. It was a flash knockout. It was a weird punch but because he was running in and there was some power on it, it knocked him down. Look, if this guy had come in and it was a 1-2 to the body followed up by some punches to the head and another one to the body and you saw Kimbo standing there messed up and then get hit with a clean 1-2 and then go down, then I say that’s going to hurt him. This isn’t going to hurt him. It was more of a push instead of a punch. It’s not a big deal.”
Rutten was also asked whether there were any training issues that might have contributed to Slice’s performance on Saturday night.
“He trained hard,” answered Rutten. “I was gone for a little bit and some things popped up. We trained 80 percent for the ground so that we could defend those leg locks and other submissions. That was the gameplan and we decided to devote the other 20 to striking. Now people will look back and go ‘Oh, was that the reason that he lost against Seth Petruzelli?’ and it’s not. Kimbo’s striking is good enough. In fact, I think his striking is very decent. So that was not the problem at all but it was a total gameplan change in his mind. But even that doesn’t stop you from getting hit by such a weird punch.”