IT IS GROSS AND disgusting. Which is why everyone keeps watching the replay.

James "The Colossus" Thompson's left ear was grotesquely bulbous before he entered the ring for his mixed martial arts bout against Kimbo Slice Saturday.

By the end of the bout, it was a shredded, bloody mess. Picture raw hamburger on the side of a human head.

Slice pounded away at Thompson's ear until - in the third and final round - it exploded like an overripe zit.

And yet, in our humble opinion, as bad as it was, it's not the most disgusting thing that ever happened in the ring.

Years ago, Bernard Fernandez returned from a local fight and regaled the staff with the following tale:

One of the boxers - who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons - entered the ring with a large lump on his head and his opponent kept jabbing away at it.

Eventually, the "lump" broke open. Which is when everyone discovered that it wasn't a "lump" at all, but rather a "nest" of lice.

Fernandez doesn't remember who won the bout, but on the "Disgusting Meter" a lump full of lice TKOs a shredded ear any day.

Minor league pitcher doesn't balk

You've got to give minor league pitcher John Odom credit.

The righthander has refused to let the fact that he was traded for 10 maple bats bother him.

Last week, the Calgary Vipers dealt Odom to the Laredo Broncos for approximately $690 worth of hardwood. On Saturday, he gave up one run on two hits and walked two in two innings in his Broncos debut.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that Odom has laughed off the trade and the ensuing teasing that went with it - one umpire called him "Batman."

He's a guy who, at 26, is still pursuing his big- league dream. A guy who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2005 and has the words "poena par sapientia" tattoed near the scar.

It means, "pain equals wisdom." *

- Tom Mahon