I went to bed hopeful last night that Kimbo Slice's embarrassing loss to Seth Petruzelli would change the way EliteXC uses Slice. Instead of having him be the main event, put him as the lead-in fight and let the viewers who come for him stay for the final fight between two worthy main event fighters. A lot of people would change the channel after the Kimbo fight, but some would stay and see a fight they normally might not. I was actually hopeful this would happen.
Well, it is not happening. EliteXC went into panic mode last night at the press conference. VP Jared Shaw, who could be seen cageside screaming at the referee during Kimbo's bout, declared Petruzelli a "star" and compared him to a "modern day Rocky Balboa". Another EliteXC executive, Jeremy Lappen, made excuses for Slice by saying, "I think Kimbo's a huge star. Again he's been thrust onto the scene. People are interested in watching him. And I think people will continue to be interested in watching him." His statement is the EliteXC party line. Do not expect any changes in their marketing of Slice. He will still be featured in main events and cast as the floundering company's biggest star.
There are many problems with EliteXC's strategy. The obvious being Slice is not a top-tier fighter. Putting him in main events is a risky proposition because his talent level is not high enough for him to consistently win, even against lesser competition. The other major problem with their strategy is it does not build up their other fighters. Since they have chosen to put all of their promotion muscle behind Slice, it has their talented fighters in relative obscurity. They never built these fighters up, so it is impossible to throw them into the limelight and expect the public to care about them. EliteXC has no choice, but to continue down the road they chose.