Colossal letdown: James Thompson not content with moral victory
by John Morgan on Jun 01, 2008 at 11:44 am ET
NEWARK, N.J. – Heading into Saturday night's "EliteXC: PRIMETIME" event, many considered James Thompson a handpicked opponent for EliteXC heavyweight and marketing sensation Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
Known more perhaps for his reputation of being easily knocked out than any real fighting prowess, the "The Colossus" seemed your standard sacrificial lamb.
Thompson proved the critics wrong by largely avoiding Ferguson devastating strikes – ones that floored his two previous opponents in a combined 62 seconds – and using a significant size advantage on the ground. That was enough for Thompson to take a lead on the judges' scorecards into the third and final round.
Ultimately, however, Slice would earn the victory 38 seconds into the final period.
And while the Englishman's gutsy performance against a street-fighting legend reveled for his powerful hands could be viewed as a moral victory of sorts, that sort of win was not enough for Thompson. The 29-year-old discussed the bout briefly after the event.
"I felt like I had a big chance with this fight," Thompson said. "I don't want to just be the big, entertaining, scary guy who comes, fights hard and gets knocked out. I want to be an all-MMA fighter."
After adamantly protesting the third-round stoppage in the cage, Thompson continued to plead his case with the media.
"I came in, and I tried to fight an intelligent fight," Thompson said. "When they stopped the fight, I was taking some big shots. But I was taking some big shots in the first round, and he over-committed and I took him down. I was sure I was going to win that fight."
Despite Ferguson landing several heavy blows in the final round that appeared to have Thompson rocked, "The Colossus" felt the bout was halted for an entirely different reason.
"I got cauliflower ear," Thompson said, referring to the blood-filled cartilage swelling in his left ear. "It burst, and [the referee] stopped it because I got split on my ear. Usually guys have to fall down."
Thompson then playfully pandered to the gathered media in an attempt to push EliteXC Live Events President Gary Shaw into committing to a rematch.
"I'm disappointed," Thompson said. "A rematch, that would be nice. Wouldn't it?"
Thompson's voice then grew louder, and he raised his outstretched arms repeatedly in search of support.
"Wouldn't it?" Thompson asked. "What do you think to a rematch? That would be nice. Wouldn't it? A rematch?"
After also semi-playfully inquiring to Shaw if he could be awarded his bonus – which MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) learned would have been good for an additional $25,000 – much in the way Shaw agreed to pay middleweight fighters Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith for their efforts in a bout declared a no contest, Thompson made his way to the hospital in order to be treated for his grotesque ear and what Shaw had earlier described as "difficulty breathing."
The future for Thompson, who is now 2-7 in his past nine fights, is unclear. But the bold statement made on Saturday night, when he nearly unseated the "new face of MMA" from his throne, may have earned the fighter a return trip to the EliteXC cage.
John Morgan is the Lead Staff Reporter for MMAjunkie.com.