That's what a Florida commission wants to know in the aftermath of the alleged mixed-martial-arts phenom's sudden loss to Seth "Silverback" Petruzelli last week. People's ears pricked up when Petruzelli told an interviewer that he had been offered bonus money before the fight if he would wage a "stand up" bout -- relying on striking rather than grappling. Some apparently infer from this that someone was setting Slice up for a quick knockout.
People who've watched the fight on this blog tell me that they thought it was stopped very quickly. To them, the Silverback didn't seem to be striking devastating blows. Unfortunately, MMA is much like boxing, officially determined to err on the side of caution in giving referees discretion to stop bouts in order to prevent severe injuries. The sport prides itself in lacking the litany of comas and deaths to be found in the annals of boxing. But any sport that gives referees so much crucial discretion is susceptible to corruption. Their decision will always appear questionable when fighters remain conscious enough to protest the decisions, as is often the case in combat sports. Let's note, however, that Slice, to my knowledge, did not protest and has not protested the result of last week's encounter. Nevertheless, if you follow the link to the bottom of the page, you'll see that fight fans have a variety of opinions on the subject.
Personally, I think it was a simple case of the ref erring on the side of caution. Slice has shown more resiliency in past fights I've seen and might have been capable of fending off his foe, but in the ref's eyes he didn't seem to be defending himself as the Silverback rained blows, whatever their effect, upon him. There's bound to be a big payday coming for both men from a rematch, but I don't think that was the thought on the part of the promoters beforehand. Any investigation of the story should also look into what exactly happened in Ken Shamrock's training facility and how he got the cut that scratched him from his scheduled encounter with Kimbo. Earlier, I hinted that it might have been a has-been's way of chickening out of fighting someone whom he, with most other people, had overrated. But if you think what happened in the cage was questionable, you should also question the circumstances that put Petruzelli in there instead of Shamrock. If that's your plan, have a blast.