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The Day In MMA: Kimbo Slice, Andrei Arlovski and What’s Up With Paul Daley?

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There’s a big MMA rumor going around that Kimbo Slice has signed with Bellator so that the MMA company will have a big-named star to appear on a Sept. 5 show that goes head-to-head with the UFC.

Bellator 123, the kickoff to its new season, will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., about 10 miles from the UFC’s Fight Night 50, at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard.

Bellator has yet to confirm the rumor, but does Slice have enough star power to make a difference in a television rating? Slice was the You Tube backyard brawler who became a star on the Internet before sparking huge ratings and media interest for Elite XC.

Slice enjoyed a Ronda Rousey-like rise to superstardom, crushing three opponents before he was stunningly KO’d in 14 seconds by Seth Petruzelli, in one of the Top 10 most-watched MMA fights in history, broadcast on CBS.

Slice was supposed to fight UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock on the card, but Shamrock cut his eye sparring hours before the show. Rather than scrap the main event on the live show, EliteXC through veteran Petruzelli against Slice and wrecked Slice’s face and his career.

EliteXC folded shortly after the show and Slice never recovered. He was such a ratings draw, however, that the UFC signed him to appear on a season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he lost to Roy Nelson, but then was invited to appear on the TUF finale show, where he defeated Houston Alexander by unanimous decision.

Slice was then KO’d by Matt Mitrione, before he was cut by the UFC. He turned to boxing and enjoys a 7-0 record. Would Bellator sign Slice?

The Viacom-owned company has mostly stayed away from gimmick fights, but Slice will probably always be a TV draw and a catchweight fight between he and King Mo would be hard for most fight fans to resist.

. . . Fight fans have been busy criticizing the Andrei Arlovski vs. Brendan Schaub fight at UFC 174. UFC President Dana White said the fans were the ones who lost in that fight. Arlovski won a controversial split decision against Schaub, whose balloon face after the fight indicated that he may have broken his jaw. Schaub’s face was just swollen, as he indicated on his twitter account:

Schaub and many others may believe that he won the fight, but lost in the drama is the comeback of Arlovksi, the 35-year-old former UFC heavyweight champion. Arlovski left the promotion in 2008 to sign with Affliction Entertainment, which promised big pay checks, but didn’t last more than a year.

At Affliction’s second and final show, Arlovski was knocked in the first round by the great Fedor Emelianenko. He lost three straight after that, including a brutal 22-second knockout to Brett Rogers in Strikeforce, in a fight that aired live on CBS.

Refusing to retire, Arlovski came back though and won six out of his next eight fights, earning a spot back in the UFC. That’s something to be proud of, even if he didn’t look like the Arlovksi of 2005. He was competitive with the 31-year-old Schaub, who just came off a stunning d’arce choke victory over Mitrione.

Arlovksi may never win another UFC fight, but he’s a guy that many wrote off. His big victory was just fighting again for the UFC.

. . . UFC cast-out Paul Daley really wants back in the UFC. Daley was fired by White after he threw a late punch, clearly after the bell, at Josh Koscheck, who had just given Daley a wrestling lesson.

White fired him and vowed Daley would never be allowed back in the UFC. Since the loss four years ago, Daley has won 11 out of 15 fights in a multitude of MMA promotions. He was knocked out by Nick Diaz in Strikeforce, where he also lost a unanimous decision to Tyron Woodley. Daley wrote a long blog post for whoatv.com, where, among other things, he said this:

The welterweight division needs that explosiveness that is currently lacking. I’d like to put the division on notice that they are on borrowed time should I be allowed to compete among them.

Daley wants back in, but considering the richness of the welterweight division, his callout may not be the best way to get back into the UFC.