In a totally non-surprising move, the Florida agency that oversees MMA business has begun an investigation into whether Kimbo Slice threw last weekend’s fight with unheralded nutball Seth Petruzelli.
The agency’s decision comes a day after two curious comments in the media. First, Mike Wilbon said flat-out on PTI that Kimbo threw the fight, calling it “more of a phantom punch than [Muhammad] Ali had to knock out [Sonny] Liston in 1965.” It was a phantom kick, not a punch, but the message is still clear. Wilbon’s co-host for the day, Dan Le Batard removed all doubt when he asked Wilbon point-blank if he thought the fight was fixed, and Wilbon answered, “yes.”
And for real, that was a weak shot that took Slice down. Petruzelli wasn’t even swinging hard–not at that point, anyway. Now, after Slice took a faceful of canvas, sure, Petruzelli started hitting like he meant it. But you’re going to tell me some glancing, defensive punch from a middling-at-best fighter is enough to take down Kimbo Slice? Please. A jaw that weak gets noticed a long time before now, right? Um, right? Perhaps, though, the implausible nature of the knockout is its saving grace. After all, if you’re going to throw a fight, you have to be more convincing than that.
But then there’s the issue of Petruzelli’s statements to an Orlando radio station on Monday–that he was being paid not to take Slice to the ground:
“I knew I would do all right, actually, standing up with him, but the promoters kind of hinted to me and they gave me the money to stand and trade with him,” Petruzelli said over the phone to a room full of radio hosts. “They didn’t want me to take him down — let’s just put it that way. It was worth my while to try to stand up and punch with him.”
Understandably, once the media’s ears perked up like a dog who just heard the word “walk,” Petruzelli backed off and said he was just talking about a knockout bonus, but talking about money changing hands like that is a bell you can’t unring.
The agency’s job is difficult if not impossible–proving a fixed fight would require the parties involved to deliberately act against their own interests, and that’s not going to happen. Why would Kimbo go out like a mannequin then own up to it and (ostensibly) get banned from the industry for life? Not going to happen. Plus there’s the fact that EliteXC has no stake in seeing its crown jewel get trashed by some nobody.