After Seth Petruzelli shocked the MMA world at Saturday night’s “EliteXC: Heat” event, he experienced a complete range of emotions. Amazement – that he was able to pull off the enormous upset, jubilation – to know that the win has officially put his name on the MMA map, and fear – that he, his team and wife would be able to leave the arena unharmed.
Petruzelli knew that the odds were against him when he agreed to take the fight against Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson just hours before the fight. Kimbo was a heavyweight with the backing of the entire arena, as the fight was not far from his hometown in Florida. Petruzelli was a little known MMA journeyman that was initially slated to fight on a non-televised light heavyweight bout.
After only 14 seconds, Petruzelli pulled off the upset heard around the MMA world, upsetting most in attendance and all in Kimbo’s corner. When the rush of winning wore down, Petruzelli was asked if he started to fear for his life.
“Oh yeah, 100 percent,” he told FiveOuncesOfPain. “Afterwords, and I didn’t know it at the time, but my wife had got threatened a few times. My corner had got threatened a few times. I had stuff thrown at me from the crowd. As soon as I had got done circling and screaming, the athletic commission told me I had to calm down because the crowd was getting crazy. So I calmed down and said listen, ‘You’ve got to get me out of here.’ And I kind of started to get worried about my well-being at that point.”
In fact, Petruzelli later found out that his wife, who was sitting ringside, had also received threats after the match was over. The shocking part is that the threats were not from any of the thousands of fans in attendance.
“It was some of his posse that was around the cage,” Petruzelli stated. “Not all of them were like that but there were a few that were talking some crap that I wasn’t very happy about.”
Unfortunately for Petruzelli, Kimbo, his entourage and his fans come from a different culture. One in which street fighting is a means to earn a living, not a profession. The difference being, Kimbo fights to live, not lives to fight. So when you do something that will take food off of the table of one of theirs, there are going to be consequences.
“I had no idea,” Petruzelli said about the support for Kimbo, which came at his expense. “I heard this one kid, he kept saying “You cheated! You cheated! You cheated!” (Petruzelli started laughing) And I’m like, how the hell did I cheat!? I mean, what are you talking about!?”
Thankfully, Petruzelli and Co. were able to safely leave the arena.