Ken Skamrock and Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson Ken Skamrock and Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson

(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

ST. LOUIS – A headliner between [autotag]Ken Shamrock[/autotag] and Kevin “[autotag]Kimbo Slice[/autotag]” Ferguson wasn’t exactly greeted with open arms when the now-defunct EliteXC promotion announced it in 2008.

Fans quickly dubbed the heavyweight MMA pairing between Shamrock, a UFC Hall of Famer, and former bareknuckle brawler Ferguson a “freak show,” on par with giant Hong Man Choi’s two-minute tussle with former baseball player Jose Canseco in Japan. “This fight is wrong on so many levels,” wrote one MMA commenter.

Yet there were few who declared they wouldn’t watch. When Seth Petruzelli, the replacement for Shamrock after he was ruled out when a dubious cut was opened above his eye while warming up on fight day, knocked out Slice, 4.3 million people tuned in on CBS.

Nearly seven years later, not much has changed. The groans might be…

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