May 19, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Rafael Cavalcante (left) fights Mike Kyle (right) during the light heavyweight bout of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
It has always troubled me that Strikeforce used Mike Kyle, because he's probably the dirtiest fighter in the history of the game, with a disturbing track record to prove it (you could also make a good case for Gilbert Yvel, who compiled an impressive body of foul-plagued work).
That's why it was a pleasure to see Kyle taken out quickly last night (Sat., May 19, 2012) at the Strikeforce: "Barnett vs. Cormier" event in San Jose by Rafael Cavalcante via slam-bang choke in the opening seconds of the bout.
Yet Kyle had a regular and recurring place on Strikeforce cards. I often wonder if his brutal and eminently senseless battering of Brian Olsen would've netted him more than a mere 18-month suspension (view the appaling sequence here, with the incident beginning at 2:50 in) if it had happened in the UFC. Or Strikeforce. Or, really, anywhere where the viewing public could've seen the sport at its worst, instead of the WEC in 2006, which was an obscure show at the time. Kyle's soccer kick of the obviously downed Olsen was bad enough, and his battering resulted in long-term injuries that Olsen still deals with to this day. Unlike Kyle's suspension, for Brian, the baggage from that incident has yet to expire.
After the UFC 47 press conference, Kyle's opponent, Wes Sims, lifted his shirt and showed bite marks from Kyle during their fight.
Yes, yes, yes, we know Kyle has "served" his sentence, and there's the argument that he's paid his debt to society, but I wonder how Olsen feels about that. If there were any more need for hypocrisy in giving the rule-breaking Kyle a slot on a Strikeforce card, the program took the time to promote Tyron Woodley vs. Nate Marquardt for the vacant title, despite the fact that Marquardt was released by the UFC for failing to disclose he was on testosterone replacement therapy, at which point UFC president Dana White swore Marquardt would never fight in the UFC again.
Except until they needed someone to fight Woodley. In Strikeforce. Right.
As a result, using fighters like Kyle only reinforces that breaking the rules is a short-term problem. I'd like to see the UFC -- which prides itself on enforcing the rules and drawing a strong line -- raise the bar a little, even if it's Strikeforce.