Siemingly Imponderable: Fight or Flight

By Matt,


I have become rather obsessed with the Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Fransisco Zoo. In my post-attack hyper sense of preparedness I’ve thought long and hard about what I would do if I saw a tiger wandering the grounds of our beloved St. Louis Zoo.


I shared my thoughts with one of our photographers, Brandon Voges, while at the zoo scouting locations for a shoot. We had a lengthy, theoretical discussion/debate that went a lot like, “Okay, there’s the tiger, what do you do?” Our quick-reaction drills netted the theory that jumping in the nearby pond may be the best chance for survival. Our rationale: (1) The tiger would not have anything to pounce from. Assuming the water is deeper than 3 feet, it could act like an equalizer, siphoning the tiger’s strength. (2) If the tiger is treading water, presumably with three of its legs, it would only have one claw and its mouth to maul you. (3) The average person (not panic-stricken) can hold their breath for over a minute and may be able to dive below the tiger and confuse it to their actual location.


Finishing a close second to jumping in the pond, was climbing a tree, for many of the same reasons; the tree would be the equalizer, climbing would be the
hindrance, and gravity would be your friend. After running through several different “would you rather” scenarios involving a tiger; our thoughts turned to the next scariest thing known to man, Kimbo Slice.

Kevin Ferguson, a former high school football player and University of Miami scholar is better known on the national stage as Kimbo Slice, a professional ass-kicker on the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting circuit. MMA is the fastest -growing sport in the country; its fighters come from many different technically-trained backgrounds. However, Kimbo, 6’2” 250 pounds, has made a name for himself as an underground street fighter from Miami. Of his three professional bouts, none of his opponents have made it out of the first round. The longest bout was against a former professional boxer who lasted one minute and 12
seconds, the others were 43 seconds and 19 seconds respectively.


Sitting at the studio one day, we began another theoretical discussion: How much money
would it take for you to get into the octagon (an MMA fighting ring) with Kimbo
Slice? The only stipulations are that you have to last 90 seconds and all medical bills will be covered. Brandon ‘Fleet on His Feet’ Voges would do it for $100,000,
he thinks that he could stay away from the powerful bone crusher for the full 90, “If he gets a hand on you, you’re a dead man”, Brandon said. Fellow co-worker James ‘I Have a Death Wish’ McKenzie would face off with Mr. Slice for only $10,000, “I just bought a house, that’s a lot of money”. Personally, I look at it like punitive damages from a lawsuit, if he hits you in the face he could cause serious, permanent damage, I wouldn’t entertain the thought for less than $10 million.

The natural progression of male conversation, combined with a couple things that most mortals fear, lead to one last question…Would you rather spend 90 seconds in the ring with Kimbo Slice or Tatiana the Siberian Tiger?
I would elect to take on the tiger.
Here’s why: If either one of them gets a hand on you, you’re going to be mauled. Your only chance at survival would be the slight chance that the tiger isn’t interested in eating you; she may be disoriented, distracted by the crowd, scared, or just plain lazy. But, you know that as soon as the bell rings Kimbo’s coming in for the kill.
Which would you choose?

Need more proof for your pudding?
The tigers are fed daily at eleven… Kimbo’s next feeding is May 31st on the
premiere of Saturday Night Fights on CBS.