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Fightlore: Forrest Griffin Recalls Sparring With Kimbo Slice

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When Kimbo Slice first began training in professional MMA settings, an urban legend was born, even making its way into Fightlore: A Slice of Life. It’s a day Forrest Griffin remembers well.

A drop-in gym session by Kimbo Slice and then-mentor Bas Rutten led to a mini sparring session that through the years has grown, morphed and taken on a life of its own as Griffin was approached and asked to spar with Kimbo. With the streetfighting legend’s severely limited wrestling knowledge in mind, Griffin kept things on the feet and went through the motions of what he felt to be a routine sparring session.

“He was a really nice guy,” Griffin said. “I think Bas brought him in the gym. We were cool. He didn’t try to knock me out. We were just working.”

Opting to distance himself from Slice’s jab and test the waters of Slice’s kickboxing skillset, Griffin started working in kicks. First light, then working the body more and more.
 

UFC pays Tribute to Kimbo Slice
UFC pays Tribute to Kimbo Slice
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The UFC pays tribute to former MMA star Kimbo Slice, who passed away on June 6, 2016.


“I remember thinking ‘he’s got good hands.’” Griffin recalls. “So I stretched things out and started kicking him. Kicking him in the leg a little bit then I kicked him in the body; I was kicking him in the body pretty hard.”

After upping the tempo to the body, Griffin took significant velocity off his kicks and landed a head kick that has been intensified in triplicate with each sharing of the tale. A light ‘wake up’ kick to the head has turned into a rumor Griffin has been since been trying to shut down.

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“First things first, I did not knock Kimbo Slice out,” Griffin sternly assures. “I remember actually hearing people say, ‘Hey! I heard you knocked him out!’ No. Don’t say that!”

Griffin does admit to ruining Slice’s night with the kick, but it had nothing to do with the strength of the shot. It was all about that location.

Forrest Griffin makes weight during the UFC 148 Weigh In at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 6, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
Forrest Griffin makes weight during the UFC 148 Weigh In at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 6, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

“I kicked him in the head, but I kicked him light,” Griffin said. “It was more like a slap kick, but my foot hit his ear and his ear started ringing. After the practice he was like, ‘my f****** head’s still ringing!’”

Not that a former champion, TUF winner, savior of a sport and frontrunner for most likable athlete in MMA history needs the ego boost, but surely rocking a man more famous than YouTube is quite the badge of honor. Well, not for Griffin.

The potential Griffin saw in Slice and his ability to learn left an athlete as humble as the former king of the 205ers wondering if he just discouraged Slice. Immediately after wishing he could have spent more time in the gym with them, Griffin also thought about the man who introduced the two and was even more happy with the way he treated Slice.

“Bas Rutten was old, but he could probably still hurt me,” Griffin laughed. “That was another thing. When you come in with Bas Rutten, Bas was looking out for him.”

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