There's a big showdown set for tonight! (Okay, technically, it took place months ago, but we finally get to see it tonight.)
Amid a barrage of media hype, we've known for some time that the infamous Kimbo Slice would be participating in this season of the The Ultimate Fighter reality show, which in actuality, has become THE proving ground of the sport itself, that has generated some of the most successful and highest-ranking MMA fighters in the world. Slice, the Internet Fight King, is sort of a pardox, in that he simultaneously holds reputations as both a tough-as-nails street fighter, AND as a running punchline due to a disastrous loss which may have exposed his lack of professional MMA skill.
It is currently four days from the one year mark of the 2008 EliteXC MMA event that aired live on CBS network television, in which the heavily-promoted main event was to have Slice fight waning MMA legend, Ken Shamrock. However, fate would see it differently, as a last-minute injury forced Shamrock to withdraw, leaving Slice to face semi-obscure former Ultimate Fighter contestant Seth Petruzelli. (Who, after being cut from the UFC in 2007 after losses, was fighting on the undercard of the event.) Kimbo had been knocking out brawlers and greats who were well past their prime, and was being promoted by EliteXC as an unbeatable fighter. Slice SHOULD have ran right through Petrezelli...but he didn't. In fact, it took merely 14 seconds from a trained "average" MMA fighter to knock Slice out cold. The KO was not only a personal embarrassment for Slice, but a financial stigma that the fledgling promotion could not bear, as they quickly folded altogether in the aftermath of the fight.
Swallowing his pride after a long exchange of insults with UFC President, Dana White (well, more so Dana White eviscerating him on YouTube consistently,) Slice opted to appear on the UFC's reality show to earn back his reputation and improve himself as a fighter, training with one of the season's coaches, MMA superstar, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. (He's a whole different story.) Ironically enough, in this humble attempt to rebuild himself, he has been given what is, perhaps, his toughest opponent, yet. Tonight on the The Ultimate Fighter, he faces former IFL Heavyweight Champion, Roy "Big Country" Nelson. (Who after a few losses, is also looking to rebound on the show.)
There you have it: The stage is set, and it's time to see if Kimbo Slice can get back what he lost, making a real impact in the sport. A win over Nelson (even though these are technically two-round exhibition matches) would go a long way towards redemption. For Nelson, a win over Slice would still be quite a feather in his cap, probably securing him a spot in the UFC's Heavyweight division. (Of which Brock Lesnar is currently King.)
The Ultimate Fighter airs on Spike at 10 PM ET/PT.
Update: It seems that Nelson's "belly-flop crucifix" technique was too much for Kimbo to overcome. On the bright side, he did come out of it looking somewhat good, and hints were dropped that he may be back in the competition due to another contestant's injury.