In gearing up for Miami Super Bowl spectacular in the winter of '07, one of the first emails Deadspin received from the overeager Lt. Winslow was this one:
do you think Deadspin would be interested in having AJ interview Mr. Kimbo Slice while AJ is in town for the Superbowl? if you guys are unfamiliar with Kimbo, i am including some links so you can see who i am talking about (i think you will understand why discretion and confidentiality are of importance to me). Long story short, Kimbo's employer is a very old friend of a mutual friend of me & Pot Roast. Pot Roast thought it might be a good idea, let me know what you think and if you're interested, i'll talk to my friend and see if this can be arranged.
Lt. Winslow proved invaluable in so many other facets of that week, it is not surprising that he would be so forward-thinking to offer Deadspin a ride on Kimbo's comet tail long before ESPN gave him the cover and he became the uber-popular sideshow power-punching freak he is today. We both passed on the offer. Neither of us were that intrigued by MMA at the time and thought that only the most maladjusted readers would be interested in an interview with what appeared to be, a deranged, violent homeless person who had some sort of connection to a pornography studio. Hindsight mocks us.
Even though Kimbo didn't quickly destroy James Thompson with the scary backalley haymakers that have thus far paved his way to stardom, the fight did nothing to diminish his popularity. Plenty of mainstream sports pages are weighing in on the Kimbo spectacle, confused at what they're watching or why they're watching. Will Kimbo single-handedly destroy the business of MMA — or enhance it.
Kimbo has miles to go before he can conceivably be thought of as an elite technical fighter (James Thompson proved how vulnerable he can be if you get him on the ground), but if he continues to train and challenge himself with better fighters he can only get better. The one thing Saturday night's fight proved more than anything else is Kimbo's supreme marketability; he will fight again — and people will watch.
Mixed martial arts show with Kimbo Slice scores big in Los Angeles [LA Times]
Pulling No Punches, Brawler Wins His Prime-Time Debut [NY Times]
The Legend Of Kimbo Slice Takes 38 Consecutive Blows To The Head [Deadspin]
World, Meet Kimbo [Lt. Winslow]