Thursday, May 29, 2008

Standing Up For Kimbo

Miami's own Kevin Ferguson, more widely recognized as Mixed Martial Arts star Kimbo Slice, takes on James "The Colossus" Thompson Saturday night on CBS. Many, including Greg Cote (who we respect and love here at The South Florida Fan), see this as a signal of the descent of man into a new and perilous world of unapologetic barbarism. And it is, to an extent. When compared to mixed martial arts and ultimate fighting, boxing seems as refined as a game of cricket over tea and strumpets at a Newport, Rhode Island mansion.

Then why am I proud for Kimbo and ultimately unfazed by this more vicious brand of pugilism? First, because Kimbo's story is compelling. The down-on-his-luck Miami product who lived out of his car and served as strip joint bouncer now graces the cover of ESPN the Magazine. He's made it in a way most will never come close to sniffing. He is a modern internet success story, not unlike Sergei Brin or YouTube - a star singularly engineered for the 21st century. He has the distinctive look - the balding head with the Rick Ross beard, the hirsute chest, the massive frame, the menacing eyes.

In the end, this is not "human cockfighting", not a glorification of the very thing that got Mike Vick in prison, not legalized crime. It is a sport, a sport that men have voluntarily consented to train for and participate in. America's promise of freedom is at the same time a promise that many people will choose to use their freedom in ways that much of the populace considers dangerous and foolhardy. Kimbo wants to do this. Many will scowl, but many more will watch, and I love living in a country that protects both the scowlers and gawkers.

What are your thoughts on Kimbo/mixed martial arts/democracy/the origins and purpose of life?

1 comment:

Christian said...

I completely agree with you. Everybody living in this country is blessed with the right to turn nothing into something, and blessed with the right to choose their way of life. I respect Kimbo, and I'm pulling for him this saturday, and for the rest of his career of doing what he loves.