All Photos by Tom Casino/EliteXC: Surfs up, beach boy, and tanks for the memories. Before a sellout crowd of 6,187 that produced the single largest gate in the history of the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami, Kimbo Slice registered a spectacular 43-second, first-round knockout over David “Tank” Abbott Saturday on SHOWTIME.
The exciting event, which was presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s EliteXC, aired on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). It will be replayed a few times in the next several days, including Wednesday on SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (full replay schedule below).
As far as homecomings go, it doesn’t get better than this, as the incredibly popular Pride of Perrine, Fla, gave the raucous but well-behaved fans what they came to see: a devastating knockout win.
A YouTube legend and legitimate Mixed Martial Arts superstar, Kimbo’s performance put an exclamation point on what was an excellent night of MMA action.
“We promised the fans a good, classy show and we delivered a great one,’’ said “EliteXC Live Events President and University of Miami alum, Gary Shaw. “EliteXC showed tonight, once again, what MMA is all about. There were great fights with dramatic finishes, a little bit of everything for everybody.
“As a promoter, you want the fans to leave with a good taste, and I truly believe that each and every person in attendance here tonight left the venue happy and completely satisfied.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the athletes, who acted like world champions before, during and afterward, or the fans, who turned out in record numbers. We look forward to returning to Miami again.
“This was just a tremendously exciting night from start to finish. Honestly, I don’t think any organization puts on better, more competitive fights that we do.’’
Kimbo (2-0), who may indeed be more popular than sliced bread, wowed the crowd en route to demolishing Abbott, an MMA icon who entered the cage to win. But Tank spent more time on the ground than on his feet, going down three times from legitimate punches and a couple other times from slips.
“I wanted him to get up, I wanted to bang,’’ Kimbo (http://kimboslice.proelite.com) said. “I had to push him off because we were too close. Then I just knocked him down. It was great fighting in front of the hometown fans. I’d be lying if I told you they didn’t jack me up. Miami, you are my home.
“I have a lot of respect for Tank. This was one of my dream fights, along with Mike Tyson. But I am ready to fight anybody and ready to fight again really soon.
“I want to thank SHOWTIME and EliteXC for making this night possible for me and my family.”
Abbott (9-14), of Huntington Beach, Calif., gave it his all, as expected. “I tried to take it to him at the start and take him to the ground, but then I just said, the heck with that and started to fight,’’ Tank (http://tankabbott.proelite.com) said. “But I ran into one and that was it. I was just getting started.
“It is still too early to know how good or great Kimbo will be. But what I do know is that I absolutely want to keep fighting. Maybe I will go after Ken Shamrock.’’
In other SHOWTIME fights Saturday, Antonio “Big Foot” Silva (10-1), a highly touted Brazilian who lives in Coconut Creek, Fla., recorded a hard-fought three-round split decision over former champion Ricco Rodriguez (27-8), of Staten Island, N.Y., unbeaten Brett Rogers (8-0), of St. Paul, Minn., blasted out England’s James “The Colossus” Thompson (16-8) in the first round, Scott “Hands Of Steel’’ Smith (15-4), of Sacramento, Calif., knocked out Australian Kyle “The Ozzie” Noke (14-4-1), the bodyguard of the late Steve “Crocodile Hunter’’ Irwin, in the second round and Yves Edwards (33-13-1), of Conroe, Tex., stopped Edson “Little Tiger” Berto (14-5-1), of Tampa, Fla., in the opening session.
In non-televised undercard fights that aired for free on the leading MMA internet site, ProElite.com: Moyses Gabin (2-0), of Miami, registered a 2:32, first-round knockout over Jirka Hlavaty (1-2), of Miami, Lorenzo Borgameo (3-0), of Miami, won by submission (triangle) at 4:11 of the second round over Mike Bernhard (3-1), of Miami; Eric Bradley (3-1), of Las Vegas, Nev., took a unanimous decision over Mikey Gomez (6-4), of Orlando, Fla.; Dave Herman (10-0), of Indiana, scored a third-round TKO over Mario Rinaldi (6-3), of Miami, Yosmany Cabezas (5-0), of Tampa, Fla., won by second-round submission (rear naked choke) over Jon Kirk (10-3), of Houston, and Rafael Feijao (4-1), of Brazil, knocked out John Doyle (6-2), of Allentown, Pa., at 2:17 of the first round. (Fighter pages below).
All the fights were scheduled for three, 5-minute rounds.
Silva (http://antoniosilva.proelite.com), whose initial nine victories had come in the first round, got the nod on two of the judges’ cards by the scores of 30-27 and 29-28. The third judge had it for Rodriguez, 29-28.
“Ricco is a dangerous fighter,’’ said Silva, who was making his second start since dropping down after competing as a 300-pound super heavyweight. “I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I fought hard and came out with a victory, but it was a difficult fight for me.
“I want that belt. I am sorry that this was not the best night of fighting for me, but I promise I will deliver in my next bout. I want that heavyweight title.”
Rodriguez (http://riccorodriguez.proelite.com) entered the cage with a vast advantage in experience, having fought and defeated some of the biggest names in MMA, including Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria, Tim Sylvia, Jeff Monson, Andrei Arlovski, Pete Wilson and Randy Couture.
“The reality is, I didn’t train as long for this fight as I needed to, but I think I showed that I am still dedicated and can fight,’’ Rodriguez said. “I am in this for the long haul and appreciate the opportunity EliteXC is giving me. I wouldn’t be surprised if we fought a rematch. I would love to fight Silva again.’’
Smith (http://scottmith.proelite.com), who has won all 16 of his fights inside the distance, knocked out Noke in devastating fashion. After losing the first round, he came out blazing in the second. Two brutal right hands did all the damage. The referee halted matters at 0:07 of the round.
“I’m sorry for that first round, that’s not the way I fight,” Smith said. “I didn’t start to get comfortable until toward the end of the round.
“When I got to my corner between rounds, I told my trainer that I had found my range. I came out pumped and made up for it. I was fighting way too much on the outside, but once I got inside — bam, I knocked him down.”
Noke (http://kyle-noke.proelite.com) had a four-fight unbeaten streak (3-0-1) end. “This is a different feeling for me,’’ he said. “I’ve never been knocked out by a punch before. I felt good after the first round, but I got caught in the second. Scott is a good, strong fighter.”
Edwards (http://yvesedwards.proelite.com) earned his fourth consecutive victory by knocking out Berto with a knee and punch combination at 4:56 of the first round. Berto (http://edsonberto.proelite.com) had a three-fight winning streak snapped.
“I am back and ready to fight anybody,’’ Edwards said. “I’d love to fight (EliteXC lightweight champion KJ) Noons. He’s the guy with the gold. If you’re not doing this to be a world champion, you better do something else.’’
In an upset in the first SHOWTIME fight, the hard-hitting Rogers (http://brettrogers.proelite.com) spoiled the United States debut of Thompson, bringing “Colossus” down to size with a flurry of powerful combinations at 2:24 of the first round.
“I don’t think I have to say anything; it showed for itself,” Rogers said. “He’s got a weak chin and I knew it was going to happen.
“All he kept trying to do was wrestle me to the ground. I got back up and I knocked him out. When I touch him, he’s going down. There’s going to be more of Brett Rogers on EliteXC.”
Thompson (http://jamesthompson.proelite.com) offered no excuses. “He caught me with good punches,” he said. “He hits a lot harder than I thought. I’m very disappointed. My confidence isn’t where it should be or where I would like it to be since after my last fight. I would fight him again in a rematch.’’
SHOWTIME announcer Mauro Ranallo handled play-by-play Saturday with world wrestling star Bill Goldberg and The Fight Professor, Stephen Quadros, serving as color analysts. The executive producer was David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.
Saturday’s sensational card will re-air as follows:
Monday, Feb. 18, Midnight, ET/PT SHO EXTREME
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT SHO 2
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 11 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME
Mixed Martial Arts returns to SHOWTIME on Saturday, March 8, when the legendary Ken Shamrock returns to the cage in EliteXC Presents: Cage Rage 25 at Wembley Arena in London.
The four-bout telecast, headlined by Shamrock’s fight against Robert “Buzz’’ Berry, will cap an unprecedented night of unarmed combat action with back-to-back sports telecasts featuring world championship boxing and MMA.
The evening will begin at 9 p.m. ET/PT with live world championship boxing – World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Enzo Maccarinelli faces World Boxing Association/World Boxing Council (WBA/WBC) kingpin David Haye in a highly anticipated cruiserweight world title unification bout that also will emanate from London (O2 Arena).
EliteXC Presents: Cage Rage 25 will air on a same-day delay immediately after the boxing match. Besides the fight with Shamrock and Berry, other MMA bouts that night will include a featherweight title clash between Jean Silva and Masakazu Imanari, UK heavyweight contender Gary Turner versus Mustapha Alturk and Pierre Guillet against Tom “Kong” Watson in a middleweight match.
For more information on EliteXC and other MMA-related stories, including bios, video-on-demand, photos, stats, Fantasy Fight Game TM and more, please visit ProElite.com and EliteXC.com. For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video, photo galleries and complete telecast information, please visit http://www.SHO.com/Sports.
About ProElite, Inc.
ProElite Inc. [PELE.PK] delivers the most exciting entertainment experience in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) with live arena-based entertainment events, cable television programming on Showtime Networks and community-driven interactive broadband entertainment via the Internet. ProElite embraces MMA with the highest levels of honor, integrity, discipline and self-esteem all the while remaining inclusive for fighters, fans and schools. ProElite’s live fight division, EliteXC, delivers spectacular live MMA fight events that showcase the world’s top fighters [elitexc.com]. ProElite’s interactive business, ProElite.com, capitalizes on the growing popularity of the sport of mixed martial arts by building a community of MMA enthusiasts. In addition to streaming the most exciting live fights to the web, ProElite expands the fan base of the sport by providing a comprehensive set of online social networking tools for fans, fighters and organizations. ProElite.com – Empowering the Fight Community TM
About Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® ON DEMAND. SNI is also an owner and manager of SUNDANCE CHANNEL®, a venture of NBC Universal, Robert Redford and SNI. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.