Kimbo debacle MMA boss' 'worst decision'

By James Matthey

Kimbo Slice. Photo / Getty
Kimbo Slice. Photo / Getty

Kimbo Slice will make his return from a drug suspension to take on James Thompson at a Bellator event in London on July 16.

The 42-year-old tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone and recorded elevated levels of testosterone after his last fight against Dada 5000 (real name Dhafir Harris) in February, and was slapped with a three-month ban by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR).

Staging the bout in London - out of the TDLR's jurisdiction - guarantees Slice's right to compete after his drugs infringement. It's therefore a much safer bet seeing as his licence application to fight may have been rejected if the fight was held in the US given his recent history.

"He was put on a 90 day suspension outside of Texas, which will be ending some time in May," Bellator MMA boss Scott Coker told ESPN. "So he'll be cleared and ready to fight by July.

"We go by what the athletic commission says. We don't want to get into the rules and regulations and testing procedures because every state has its own regulations and punishments.

"So it's a little tricky. If there was a national federation or national association with rules and regulations across the board, that every state abided by, that'd be one thing, but for us, every state is different."

Despite Coker's assertion that he is doing nothing wrong by scheduling the bout more than 90 days after Slice last stepped into the Octagon, not everyone was so ready to accept his reasoning.

Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole was one such soul. He said Coker's decision to allow Slice to headline the event in England showed Bellator couldn't care less about the seriousness of performing enhancing drugs being used in MMA.

"The 90 day suspension is a joke under any circumstance, as it in effect means a fighter won't miss even one fight," wrote Iole.
"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 UK, 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."

Fellow MMA promotion the UFC has a strict drugs policy that was announced mid-last year. In conjunction with USADA, the organisation said it would test fighters all year round both in and out of competition, without needing to give prior warning.

Punishments are severe, too - just ask Nick Diaz. The brother of Nate - who defeated Conor McGregor in his last fight - is serving a five-year ban after testing positive to marijuana for a third time in eight years in 2015.

Iole said Bellator's reluctance to follow suit with a similar policy was another mark against Coker's name.

"The fact that Coker has done little in this regard is astounding, and by allowing Slice to headline so soon after testing positive for a steroid says much about how seriously he takes the issue of PEDs in MMA."

- news.com.au

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