Kimbo Slice’s MMA debut against former world champion boxer
Between Kimbo’s current stint in Bellator and previous tenure in the UFC the infamous bare knuckle brawler competed as a pro boxer from 2011 to 2013 amassing a record of 7-0 against the likes of Charles Hackmann, Tay Bledsoe and other handpicked talent.
But, interestingly enough, the most decorated pugilist he faced wasn’t even in the ring; it was inside the cage in 2007 under the Cage Fury Fighting Championship promotion, where he squared off against 1988 Olympic Gold Medallist and former WBO Heavyweight Champion Ray ‘Merciless’ Mercer.
Both fighters were making their mixed martial arts debut at the time.
For Kimbo Slice this was an opportunity to legitimize himself in the eyes of MMA fans that saw him nothing more than a YouTube sideshow.
Initially training out of the Freestyle Fight Academy under Marcos Avellan and David Avellan he also spent time in California training with the likes of Bas Rutten, the late Shawn Tompkins, Alex Schoenauer and Phil Baroni at both Xtreme Couture and Ruttens Gym in Thousand Oaks.
“Since I signed for this fight I have cut out a lot of things in my life. I haven’t even had sex in three months. So I am all backed up. But my life is in a complete change – but for the better.” The bare knuckle brawler made it clear he was taking this opportunity seriously.
For Mercer it seemed apparent he would focus most of his camp under his long time boxing trainer the late Mike Hall with some time spent at the Atlantic City Mixed Martial Arts Academy with Joe Diamond and Dave Sirota, but as far as Ray was concerned, he was just having a street fight in a cage, “We worked with a lot of people to get prepared for this fight. Boxing is my thing and I will use that in this street fight.”
Scheduled as an exhibition match under the New Jersey Athletic Commission, the event was finally set for June 23 at the Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City. It was Street Fighter Champ vs Boxing Champ, a packed area of fans expecting a knockout from either man.
And 1:12 into Round 1 it was all over. Not by KO but by submission, after Kimbo Slice put the boxer on the defensive with a barrage of knees, elbows and punches the Youtube star found himself taking down the former WBO Champ and applying a guillotine choke signalling the tap from ‘Merciless’.
In a bout somewhat reminiscent of UFC 1, the boxer was soundly defeated when taken to the mat – by a Street Fighter nonetheless.
For Kimbo Slice this would propel him into the lime light leading to stints in EliteXC, the UFC and now currently Bellator MMA in 2016.
A visibly annoyed Ray Mercer would return to boxing in 2008 and then in 2009 signed on to fight former UFC Champ Tim Sylvia in what was originally a boxing match then turned MMA match. When asked to reflect on the Kimbo bout he wasn’t one to mince words.
“He wimped out, just like I think all MMA fighters do, they wimp out – going kicking and screaming, grabbing and all that other bullsh*t”.
Fortunately this time his opponent didn’t wimp out and stood with Mercer for a total of 9 seconds giving Ray the KO victory he predicted.