With Strikeforce taking over 42 fighter contracts in last week’s acquisition of ProElite, the San Jose-based organization now holds the future of Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson in their hands. ProElite endorsed the street fighting legend as their crown jewel, which is perhaps why they are no longer a contender. The new regime has other ideas in store for the free-style fighter.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said that he too has big plans for Kimbo, however he envisions the road to legitimacy to be a much lengthier one.
“Picture a guy that has some street fighting capabilities that seems like he can punch pretty good, but put him in an MMA situation,” Coker said. “He’s not a journeyman fighter, he’s not a superstar in MMA –- he’s just learning. He got thrown into the spotlight at a high level where there’s a lot of pressure to perform, but he probably needed 10 to 12 fights under his belt before he took that leap.
“I think that if you look back at the past, he could have been built up to have the fights that he needed to face the Seth Petruzellis of the world and be successful, but he wasn’t given the opportunity. When I look at Kimbo, I don’t look at it as his fault. He was in a ‘no win’ situation.”
Kimbo was upset by Petruzelli last October at “EliteXC: Heat,” which now marks the promotion’s final event. Kimbo’s manager and longtime friend, Mike Imber, said that he and Coker are on the same page as far as Kimbo is concerned.
“It seems pretty accurate, I guess,” Imber said of Coker’s assesment on his client. “He definitely didn’t control what happened to him. He just went along with what was thrown at him. He wasn’t the one who said, ‘Hey, put me in the spotlight.’ They put him there and they got what they wanted.
“He’s never fought for centerstage,” added Imber. “He wasn’t like, ‘Well, I’m not going to show up if I’m not the main attraction.’ He’s fine with that. Lowering the money is obviously not good, but, hey, let somebody call us. We’ll go from there. We can’t go off anything if nobody calls.”
The “call” that Imber is referring to is the one that Strikeforce has yet to make. The one in which they assign him his next opponent.
“Kimbo would fight tonight if the circumstances were right,” said Imber. “All I know is we’ve been waiting for a while and he’s definitely ready to fight, so whatever we need to do to get him fighting is what we want to do. Getting out of [the contract] would just mean more time not fighting.”
With the ink not even dry on their new three-year, 16-event agreement with Showtime, Kimbo will surely be getting a call shortly.