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Mike Brown Is a Kimbo Slice Fan

Kimbo Slice is viewed by many as nothing more than a marketing gimmick, a street fighter with no real mixed martial arts skills whose status as one of America's most popular fighters is a black eye for MMA.

But one fighter who indisputably does have real mixed martial arts skills -- World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion Mike Brown -- says Kimbo is great for the sport. Brown, who trains alongside Kimbo at American Top Team, said in an interview with FanHouse Wednesday that he believes Kimbo is preparing the right way and will be a successful fighter in the UFC.

"Kimbo's in there every day," Brown said. "He looks great. People don't realize that he really had no formal training. I was watching some of his stand-up and thought maybe he had some boxing training, but he said, 'No, that stuff I just learned on the street with my friends.' It's pretty amazing, and it's also amazing how humble he is. People bad-mouth him all the time, say he's no good, and he never, ever -- not once -- says anything bad about anybody. Even though everyone's looking at him and talking s**t. People think he doesn't deserve what he's gotten. He does deserve it. He's got a huge fan base."

That huge fan base has seen Kimbo fight twice on CBS and once on Spike, and he hasn't exactly set the world on fire in those three fights: He struggled to beat James Thompson in his CBS debut, was knocked out by Seth Petruzelli in his other CBS fight, and lost by TKO to Roy Nelson on this season's Ultimate Fighter. But Brown said he thinks Kimbo's critics fail to recognize how hard it is for someone who's new to MMA to step into the cage with experienced mixed martial artists.

"He's a great athlete who's just starting to learn the game," Brown said. "When he fought James Thompson, he had almost no training at all, and James Thompson is a guy who fought in Pride, and people thought Kimbo didn't knock Thompson out fast enough? That was Kimbo's third pro fight and he was fighting a guy who had more than 20 pro fights."

Brown said he loves seeing the way Kimbo simply does what the coaches at American Top Team ask of him and acts like a young up-and-comer who's just trying to make it, rather than the most famous guy in the gym.

"I'm most impressed with his attitude: He's famous, he's making great money, but he just works hard and isn't afraid to fight anybody," Brown said. "Everyone is looking forward to seeing him fight. That's the thing. People can say whatever they want to say about him, but everyone tunes in. Everyone wants to see him fight, going back to when he was with EliteXC. Now, is he as good as Fedor Emelianenko? No. But his ratings were better."

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