Freak Show: Kimbo Slice vs. Tank Abbott

Tank Abbott became known as a brawler in the early days of the UFC during the 1990s. He was one of the first fighters to use what would become known as MMA gloves and was also known for his massive size. However, Tank was not a very skilled MMA fighter and would lose many of his fights towards the end of the 1990s.

During the mid 2000s, Kimbo Slice drew attention to himself on YouTube and became known as a street fighter. Slice also has a huge stature, fighting at about 288 pounds. While he attracted attention from fight fans, Slice was often criticized for what some perceived as a lack of any true skill. Many people felt that if Slice fought a truly skilled mixed martial artist, he would not stand up to the challenge. Eventually Slice would get a shot with EXC and, after winning his first bout just 19 seconds into the first round via a submission, called out Tank Abbott saying he wanted to fight him next.

Tank was a spectator in the audience at Slice’s initial contest in EXC and stood up and accepted the challenge from Slice. Initially, there were disputes regarding promoting the bout between Slice and Abbot and the fight was cancelled. However, the two parties eventually got things together and, on February 16, 2006,the two met in Elite EXC- Street Certified.

Slice came into this bout at 234 pounds, far less than he weighed during the street brawling days that had made him famous. This bout would also not last past the first round. Slice was able to make short work of the older, slower, and less skilled Abbott. After several flurries of punches landing on Abbott’s face and head, Abbott soon went down to the canvas when Slice landed a punch to the back of his head.

This was a result that many expected as Abbott had not seen any success in a fight since the mid-1990s. Furthermore, Tank had always been considered more of a brawler than a skilled fighter.  Of course, this bout did nothing much to legitimize Slice as a skilled fighter either. This was nothing more than a novelty fight between two brawlers that had been able to gather some interest mainly due to their enormous physical sizes. For Slice to be considered a real MMA fighter, he would still need to prove himself against proven skilled fighters.

However, the fight did manage to draw an audience and Slice would eventually go on to get a shot in the UFC. Slice would appear in season 10 of the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter, where he would test his skills against a variety of MMA fighters.

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