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Is Elite XC Hurting MMA by Featuring Kimbo Slice in Saturday's Main Event?

There's no doubt that Kimbo Slice's star is on the rise. He's presenting country music awards, on the cover of ESPN The Magazine and headlining CBS's initial foray into the MMA world on Saturday night. To a casual audience that doesn't buy UFC pay-per-views or watch WEC on Versus, Slice is the face of MMA in the United States.

To Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports that's not a good thing. Slice, a street fighter who has never fought a top opponent, is getting by on a fearsome look and savvy marketing, Wetzel argues, and that's not good for the sport.
Anderson Silva, B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre display what MMA is all about. Not menacing scowls and WWE-like personas, but unreal athletic ability, disciplined training and tremendous intelligence from fighters as multi-skilled as they are fearless.
It's hard to argue with Wetzel's central thesis. Slice doesn't have the bona fides of guys like Silva, Penn and St. Pierre (or a dozen others) and he shouldn't be considered one of the sport's leading lights until he does. Fighting tomato can James Thompson on Saturday night isn't going to change that, either.

Wetzel's other point, Elite XC and CBS are doing the sport a disservice by promoting Slice, is a little grayer. It needs to be handled right but Slice's burgeoning fame can draw eyes to a program that also features better fighters like Robbie Lawler. Use Slice to promote better fighters and this can be a win-win.

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