There was barely a peep out of Kimbo Slice during last week’s debut of “The Ultimate Fighter 10,” but the folks at Spike TV were kind enough to change all that this week. Throughout the episode, they made sure to shoehorn in some pointless Kimbo scenes during the commercial breaks. Think of it as Slice product placement –- and we’re not talking about the soft drink.
"I'm here to prove myself as an ultimate fighter,” Slice says to kick off the episode, after noting the size of all the big boys that have entered the house this season.
Slice is genuinely happy to be partnered and learning from coach Quinton Jackson and to that end, Jackson says he’s glad to help bring him along.
In their limited time together, Rampage has described the Internet sensation as “a fast learner" and "very coachable,” as he and assistant coach Tiki Ghosn watch Slice fire off four successful scrambles out from underneath his partner.
While Rampage dotes, coach Rashad Evans is having trouble with one of his team. Roy Nelson is no spring chicken in the game and seems to be using TUF for his career advancement and not necessarily the training. Evans says Nelson, a former IFL champion, isn’t prone to taking direction as easily as his other charges.
Nelson ends up getting an earful from Evans and his assistant coach because they don't want him wasting their time or his own. Nelson seems humbled and open to adjusting his frame of mind.
Since Rampage still has control of the choice of the match-up this week, he decides to pit Evans' No. 1 guy, James McSweeney, against big Wes Shivers. Shivers is one of the former NFL athletes and all 6-foot-7 of him still looks like he could put on the pads for some third-down situations.
Shivers’ teammates are convinced he’s too huge of a challenge for McSweeney, a brawler from the U.K circuit who migrated to Greg Jackson’s camp a year ago. Shivers will enter the fight with a six-inch reach advantage and says he will probably out-weigh the Brit by forty pounds.
“He’s coming into a world he’s not prepared for,” says the clearly more experienced McSweeney though.
Both teams clock in some training time as Evans, a TUF winner himself, tries to motivate his squad.
“You guys took the hardest road into the UFC, I don’t care what anyone says,” says Evans, trying to motivate them through a hellish workout.
Barely halfway through the episode and it’s fight time. Shivers follows the Team Rampage mandate to skip sportsmanship and pass on the touching of gloves.
Shivers fumbles with a key lock, but the Brit is able to scramble up to his feet and land a high leg kick.
McSweeney recovers from a kick to the groin, but several straight punches from the big man has McSweeney whirling and galloping all around in retreat. Once Shivers’ attack begins to slow down, McSweeney looks for his opening and begins to attack the lead leg of the massive tree standing before him. Multiple kicks begin to take their toll and wear Shivers down by the end of the first round.
Shivers is exhausted, but McSweeney isn’t far behind him. Shivers lands a heck of a kick that nearly knocks both of McSweeney’s legs out. But McSweeney continues to work his outside leg kick until Shivers resorts to tackling the smaller man.
Shivers mounts McSweeney, but looks unsure how to finish him off. Soon the Brit is back on his feet, as the waning Shivers rests his hands on his knees, his waist, and even the Octagon wall’s top rim when he can.
With 30 seconds left in the fight, McSweeney unloads with a haymaker that buckles the giant on the fence. Shivers regains his footing only to eat a left shin from McSweeney on his way up. Shivers then falls right into a guillotine choke attempt as the pair spill to the canvas. The bell sounds before McSweeney can coax out a tapout.
With some surprised looks all around, McSweeney is announced the winner via a majority decision (19-19, 20-18, 20-18). Rampage says Shivers’ game plan went right out the window once the former NFLer got tired. Perhaps it was a bad choice to pick Evans’ No. 1 seed to face a guy that could clearly have benefited from more training time.
Team Evans has won two in a row and controls the next matchup. But instead of waiting a week, the contestants are rounded up again for the next fight to be revealed. Evans calls on Nelson to rep his squad, then turns to Rampage’s line-up to drop the bomb.
“I want the big, black buck with the greasy beard – Kimbo Slice,” says Evans.
As the bearded one steps forward to accept his challenge, Spike’s Slice saturation this week takes on a new meaning all together.
Maybe the big buck won’t be around too much longer, hmm?