Balding brawler Kimbo Slice will fight James Thompson on July 16th as a part of a Bellator event in London, the promotion announced Sunday. Normally, this wouldn't be worth getting excited about, but Slice is two months removed from a positive steroid test, something that should keep him out of the cage for a lot longer than a few months.
Instead, it got him banned for 90 days in Texas. In effect, that means he's banned everywhere in the U.S. as other states would likely deny him a license if he tried to fight while suspended in the Lone Star State. By scheduling the fight in London, Bellator is circumventing the American regulatory apparatus.
That's not sitting well with some, who think that Bellator has a responsibility to take Slice’s transgression more seriously. Yahoo’s Kevin Iole wrote this today:
By simply going along with Texas' minimal penalty, Coker is essentially sticking his head in the sand and abdicating his responsibility as one of the sport's most visible leaders. MMA is not regulated by any authority in the U.K., so Slice would have fought there whether Texas had suspended him for 90 days or 10 years.
In that case, it's up to the promoter to regulate itself, and this decision ranks as arguably the worst of what has been an outstanding career for Coker. He's under no obligation to book Slice, but by doing so, it's as if he's telling his fighters he's not bothered by PED usage
Coker was likely too enamored with the ratings from Bellator 149 to leave Slice on the bench for very long. On that night, which saw Ken Shamrock fight Royce Gracie and Slice nearly kill Dada 5000, Spike pulled in record ratings.
July's event probably won't get the same ratings, but it does have the allure of being a rematch for Thompson, who got in the ring once before with Slice. He lost that fight in gruesome fashion. Watch his ear turn into a blood-filled water ballon below.