Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice will headline the Bellator MMA event on June 20th inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. The bout is scheduled to take place at heavyweight and will air on Spike TV. This is a rematch of the fight that never was from October 4, 2008, when they were booked to headline an Elite XC show on CBS.
The day of their originally scheduled bout, Shamrock suffered a cut over his left eye and withdrew. There was controversy surrounding this since Shamrock was upset when he learned how much more Slice was being paid than him and asked for an increase in salary, which was denied.
Seth Petruzelli, who was already fighting on the card, accepted the change of opponent to Kimbo on the shortest of notice and knocked out the backyard brawler in 14 seconds. Allegations from Petruzelli stating he was told not to take Kimbo down, along with huge money losses from the advertised main event falling through, caused Elite XC to file for bankruptcy and then close their doors seventeen days later.
Six and a half years later, the fight emerges on Bellator’s stage as president Scott Coker has worked wonders for the promotion in a short period of time. Coker has stated that he wants the company to thrive, and accomplishing this means making big fights that people want to see, regardless of fighter rankings.
He has done that here with Shamrock/Slice because, for every person who will damn this fight with faint praise, there will be twice as many people glued to their television on June 20th. While this fight has no divisional relevance, history dictates that doing business with these two could be a fool’s errand.
You never know what you’re going to get when you enter the Lion’s Den with Ken Shamrock. He hasn’t fought since 2010, lost seven of his last nine fights, and whispers of worked fights were brought up due to the ease of his losses. Shamrock also tested positive for steroids following a 2009 bout and has backed out of more fights due to injury than perhaps any name fighter. Some have also openly speculated that Ken purposely cut himself in protest for the discrepancy in pay during the Elite XC event.
Kimbo Slice has amassed a highly suspicious 7-0 professional boxing record since leaving MMA after losing to Matt Mitrione in May of 2008. The UFC has been known to protect fighters with financial cache. However, they could not do so with Slice because his skills were so deficient that they had to release him. He’s also been granted preferential treatment by promoters, such as being allowed to have his entourage present during season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter while the other fighters couldn’t even call their families.
It’s a good thing this fight is being held in Missouri since it’s unlikely that states such as Nevada, California, and New Jersey would approve this bout, considering Slice is 41 years old and Shamrock is age 51. Randy Couture fought into his late forties, but he was competitive up until his final bout. Slice and Shamrock, not so much.
I remember how excited people were for their previously scheduled fight. Friends of mine who didn’t watch MMA were having get-togethers to see the mayhem unfold. Once the broadcasters publicized Shamrock’s absence, the excitement left the room like an untied helium-filled balloon.
The chances of this fight actually happening are a roll of the dice, and drama in front of and behind the camera is a virtual guarantee. Even if Scott Coker can get both men in the cage simultaneously, something fishy could still occur. If so, the MMA elite will reign down from the heavens with a cascade of “I told you so’s” while the rest will act surprised even though we knew the risks going in.
In a perfect world, we would say no in unison to such a hollow prize fight. The reality is that we will always say yes because big names will always draw big ratings regardless of combative merit. You got to love the circus that is MMA.