On May 31st EliteXC will do something that no other MMA company has done in North America when it airs the first ever live MMA card to be broadcast on network television. The main event of the evening will be Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson goes up against James Thompson in a heavyweight tilt. MMANews.com's own Chris Howie had the chance to speak with Kimbo in depth recently on a number of topics. Below is a transcript of that interview.
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with the man who will face James Thompson on May 31st on CBS, Kimbo Slice. How are things Kimbo?
Kimbo Slice: Things are going good Chris.
MMANews.com: So you have a big fight coming up May 31st. What are your thoughts on that?
Kimbo Slice: May 31st? What do you want to know buddy?
MMANews.com: First and foremost how does it feel to be in the main event of the first MMA card ever on Network Television?
Kimbo Slice: I was born to do what I am doing and I am looking forward to this fight. I train hard. I make dedications and sacrifices and commitments because this is something I love to do Chris.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on your opponent that night, James Thompson?
Kimbo Slice: I never under estimate any of my opponents. James Thompson is a well rounded fighter. He has great ground work and he is not afraid to stand and bang. He has the ability to knock out his opponent and I’m prepared for that. If it goes to the ground I have a lot of tools that I’m dying to use so I’m also looking forward to a good ground game.
MMANews.com: How has your training been going for the fight?
Kimbo Slice: Training has been going great man. I can’t complain.
MMANews.com: You mentioned that you have some ground tools that you are dying to use. Are you training your ground techniques often?
Kimbo Slice: Yeah for sure.
MMANews.com: When it comes to your training what do you tend to focus on more?
Kimbo Slice: Well without giving away to much, I have well rounded training sessions and it is balanced out.
MMANews.com: Besides Bas Rutten who else has been helping you prepare for this fight?
Kimbo Slice: Bas Rutten and Randy Khatami. They are the only two guys I train with and I have been training with them since the beginning of my career and I wouldn’t change them for anything. Those are my guys.
MMANews.com: How helpful have they been in your development as an MMA fighter?
Kimbo Slice: I probably wouldn’t have won any of my fights if it had not been for those two guys.
MMANews.com: How did you end up hooking up with Bas?
Kimbo Slice: Through a mutual friend.
MMANews.com: In terms of where you are now as opposed to where you were when you started your training how would you say you’ve come along?
Kimbo Slice: I would say I was a one dimensional fighter then and now I believe I am not a one dimensional fighter and consider myself a well rounded fighter.
MMANews.com: Did you at any point have any formal boxing training?
Kimbo Slice: No I’ve never had any formal training. I don’t think things would have worked out if I had of become a boxer so instead I found myself trying to find ways to make money instead of being a drug dealer or anything and I found that I was able to make money street fighting.
MMANews.com: How much have your striking skills been refined?
Kimbo Slice: When I was street fighting I would just head hunt and now I’m a headhunter with skills. I know what to hit and when to hit and I know when to go hard and when to slow down. I’m able to control my breathing now and pace myself and back then I was just swinging away.
MMANews.com: You’ve said in the past that your dream match ups would be with Tank Abbott and Mike Tyson. You’ve fought and defeated Tank, Tyson still a dream or anyone else that might be a dream fight for you?
Kimbo Slice: You know, I have a lot of respect for Mike Tyson and I love him a lot. I looked up to him growing up as a kid and when you are young you have the tendency to say things like that. When you got it in you to be a fighter you wouldn’t be afraid to fight the best and Mike was the best at what he did. I imagine at some point there will be kids that look at me and want to fight me. I’ll be on someone’s mind and that’s cool. That’s the respect of the time and the respect there is to want to fight another ultimate warrior. It’s nothing out of disrespect to Mike or Tank. To answer the part about having anyone else I’d like to fight the answer would be no.
MMANews.com: There is been a bit of back and forth smack talk on the internet lately between you and Chuck Liddell. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Kimbo Slice: Hopefully one day me and him will be able to get in the cage and do what we do. I have a ton of respect to everyone in the MMA and I look up to these guys. They are the reason I am doing what I’m doing now you know? There is a lot of money to be made in this game and hopefully we can all do that together. There is too much money in this business to just hate on one guy. I’d have to be an asshole to do that. Lets everybody be a part of this. If I can change and you can change than we can all change [laughs].
MMANews.com: Do you feel disrespected when media and fans look down on you because of your background?
Kimbo Slice: No dude, I don’t feel disrespected at all and I don’t worry about that at all. I’m going to do what I do and continue doing what I do.
MMANews.com: Focused on the future and not the past?
Kimbo Slice: That’s exactly it.
MMANews.com: Speaking of the future, who will be appearing on the cover of ESPN Magazine. What are your thoughts on that?
Kimbo Slice: That’s going to be cool man. That’s something I’m looking forward to. I’m loving the fact there are fans out there that are loving me and as a fighter I give my word to my fans that I’ll never tap out ever. Tapping out is for dirty men. If you get that arm you better fucking break it `cause once I get loose I’m going to get yours and I’m fucking breaking it. If you get me in a guillotine you best put me to sleep cause I’m going to put you to sleep if I get you. Other than that I’m coming to bang and that is one thing my fans will tell you no matter what I’m bringing it.
MMANews.com: How have things changed for you since becoming so well known?
Kimbo Slice: Well a lot more people notice you and you have to be prepared for that. You can’t get tired of the people because they make you who you are. I love it though because I’m a fan of my fans.
MMANews.com: What are some of your goals for 2008?
Kimbo Slice: To take care of my family and to make sure they keep their minds straight and stay in the right frame of mind.
MMANews.com: Do you have dreams of being a champion someday?
Kimbo Slice: When the time comes and I am deserving of that opportunity then yeah, I’d like to be a champion someday but right now I’m kicking asses and taking names. When the time comes you will see me challenging for a title.
MMANews.com: A lot of people out there want to see you fight stiffer competition but in reality you are just a rookie to the sport. What are your thoughts on the people that complain about your level of competition?
Kimbo Slice: Well, right now I’m 3-0 but a lot of people don’t recognize the Ray Mercer fight as an actual fight. I defeated Ray Mercer in the first round by guillotine choke so I consider myself 3-0 and not 2-0.
MMANews.com: That was something I didn’t expect to see when you won by a submission…
Kimbo Slice: Right Right, and when that happened I was a complete rookie. If I did that then can you imagine where I am at now?
MMANews.com: Your beard gets brought up in a lot of discussions where people question whether or not you should be allowed to have it and whether or not it is an advantage to you. Have any athletic commissions ever brought it up before a fight?
Kimbo Slice: No, They respect it, I respect it, it’s all good.
MMANews.com: Do you feel that coming into the sport at age 33 may have any effects on your career?
Kimbo Slice: 30 is the new 20 baby. I can fight as long as my body will let me fight.
MMANews.com: Who are some of your favorite fighters to watch when you get a chance to sit down and watch fights?
Kimbo Slice: I watch everybody man. These guys are the future of combat and contact sports you know? It’s the evolution of all the mixed martial arts combined. Anything that I get a chance to watch from UFC, EXC, WEC, BoDog, I watch it.
MMANews.com: What do you do when you are not training for fights and have some spare time?
Kimbo Slice: I really like spending time with my kids man. I love spending time with my babies. I love taking them to the gym with me and train with me. On my spare time I like to be with my kids Chris.
MMANews.com: If you had one fight left in you, who would you like to fight and why?
Kimbo Slice: Wow that’s a tough one. I have to think about that one there. The why would be for 10 million dollars [laughs]
Kimbo Slice: No but to be honest with you dude I don’t like fighting anybody. As a fighter and as a person who likes to do this I’m not trying to make any political statements or call anybody out. This is a warriors sport and you can’t say you fight for fun. I’m fighting to see if I can be the best at this game and knock somebody out. I want to learn and get in there any compete. It’s competition. My intentions aren’t to get in there and kill anyone it’s just to get in there and knock someone the fuck out. I can’t explain it buddy, it’s just something I fucking love to do.
MMANews.com: Just one more question here for you Kimbo and it involved a rumor that has been circulating around the internet that came to light when Dana White made a comment about it recently. It involved a training session in which as rumor has it you were knocked out by Forrest Griffin. What’s the story here?
Kimbo Slice: No, there is no truth to that at all. It’s bullshit and Forrest Griffin will tell you that it’s bullshit too. The fact is it was a good sparring session and I was training with Forrest and he was talking to me about defending yourself at all times and then he threw a big kick and I was like “WOAH I never even seen that coming” but no I never got knocked out. Even if I did get knocked out, saying that and putting that rumor out there just makes you a pussy. As a fighter and a professional if you get knocked out in training you get knocked out in training and if you get choked out in training you get choked out. As a matter a fact I did get choked out in training once by Bas Rutten and I’m saying that. It’s really nothing to brag about. I wanted to see how long I could defend that position before going to sleep. In training we spare to learn and help each other but no Chris, Forrest Griffin did not knocked me out.
MMANews.com: Ok Kimbo, any prediction for your fight with James Thompson?
Kimbo Slice: Best man wins is all I can say.
MMANews.com: Anything that you would like to say to your fans out there?
Kimbo Slice: Just stay tuned for May 31st. Kimbo Slice and James Thompson, it’s going to be brutal and bloody.
MMANews.com: Do you have sponsors you would like to throw a shout out to?
Kimbo Slice: Yes of course. I’d like to thank my sponsors Triumph United and check me out on Kimbo305.com. You can check out all my old and new fights on there.
MMANews.com: Alrighty Kimbo, I want to thank you for taking the time out to speak with me today and I wish you luck on your upcoming fight.
Kimbo Slice: Thank you a lot Chris.