“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” EliteXC learned that lesson the hard way on their “Heat” event on Saturday night. The organization that has lost more than $60 million in the past two years was hoping to ride Kimbo Slice’s broad shoulders out of the red, and into greener pastures. Unfortunately for them and Kimbo, Seth Petruzelli had other plans. As a last minute replacement for Ken Shamrock, Petruzelli stepped in and pulled off the biggest upset in EliteXC history, taking only 14 seconds to TKO Kimbo in the 1stRound.
Shamrock received an accidental head-butt during a light training session just hours before the fight, which opened up a previous cut. Doctors examined it and informed the Florida State Athletic Commission that the cut was too severe for Shamrock to compete. In an attempt to salvage the card EliteXC asked Petruzelli, who was initially slated to fight Aaron Rosa, to step in for Shamrock.
Credit needs to be given to both fighters for accepting the fight on such short notice. They had spent the previous months preparing physically, and more importantly mentally, for their original opponents, so a having a change of that magnitude so close to fight time can easily mess with a fighter’s head.
Kimbo was his typical subdued self entering the cage, but once the bell rang, he came out aggressively. Petruzelli threw a front kick to keep Kimbo at bay, then landed a short right hook that caught the YouTube legend off guard. As Kimbo fell to the ground, Petruzelli followed up with strikes to his head, one appeared to illegally land on the back of Kimbo’s head.
That is when referee Troy Waugh seemed to be indecisive on whether to jump in to give the dazed Kimbo time to recover from the illegal blow or not, ultimately deciding let let the fight continue.
Obviously EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw thought that it was an illegal blow, as he could be clearly seen jumping, yelling, and gesturing at Waugh from ringside that Petruzelli was illegally hitting his meal ticket in the back of the head.
Waugh’s indecisiveness to step in quite possibly cost Kimbo the fight, and Kimbo’s loss quite possibly cost EliteXC’s their future.
It is unfair to blame Waugh for his performance, or to blame EliteXC for trying to salvage their third CBS show with a last minute replacement. The fact of the matter is, Kimbo’s lack of MMA skills were exposed in his last fight against James Thompson in May, and EliteXC should have known then that they shouldn’t mortgage their company’s future on an unproven street fighter.
This was a devastating loss for Kimbo, but one of epic proportions for EliteXC.