I am compelled to watch Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice.

I shouldn’t be and it’s wrong that I am. But I have to.

I actually saw Shamrock fight live once – his trilogy fight against Tito Ortiz, and that loss should have been his last foray into MMA action. And if memory serves me correctly, it was all but agreed by Shamrock and everyone on the inside that, yes, he would be done after that fight. Shamrock certainly acted that night like that was it for him. I still vividly remember him blowing kisses to the crowd when he got in the cage – a hello, thank you, and goodbye all in one.

That was 2006. Shamrock seemingly unretired two years later for a fight in England. And he lost in three minutes, his sixth straight setback via knockout. A little less than a year later, now February 2009, Shamrock came back again and won, albeit against human blob Ross Clifton. Fast-forward once more, 18 months, and Shamrock came out of the mist to fight fellow legend Pedro Rizzo. Three and a half minutes in, Rizzo dusted his foe. Shamrock fought two more times in 2010, somehow needing a full 15 minutes to take a decision from a sloth named Johnathan Ivey, and then suffering the ninth knockout loss of his career in falling to Mike Bourke in two minutes. Bourke, for the record, hasn’t fought since beating Shamrock and his career log reads 10-16.

Like nearly every single combat sports athlete I’ve ever met or dealt with, they don’t want to go out “that way.” They don’t want to be remembered for losing, and definitely don’t want to exit stage left flat on their back or in disgrace.

Shamrock, one of my first ever interviews in MMA, shouldn’t be fighting anymore. He’s still in magnificent physical condition, at least outwardly, and we probably won’t get any idea of his cardio against Slice, who is not exactly known for A) a great gas tank himself, and B) needing more than a minute or two in his own fights.

Should a commission step in and not allow Shamrock to fight? It’s certainly worth consideration. He’s 51 and without a notable win since 2004 against Kimo Leopoldo. He hasn’t even fought in five years. If Ken doesn’t care about Ken, shouldn’t somebody say something?

Should Bellator be allowing him to fight? They’re getting much more than the usual level of coverage for this “overdue” fight so why would they turn it down? Business is business.

But Bellator shouldn’t want to do this fight. They shouldn’t want to have this bout featured on Spike. No one should care that Shamrock, or for that matter Slice, is fighting anymore. Yet Bellator falls back on needing a fight, a rematch of sorts … from 2008. Figure that out. How desperate to sell your product can you be? And what does this say to your current talent pool, although that point brings up the whole other issue of why this company seems compelled to sign almost every UFC cut instead of focusing on building their own lineup and being recognized for developing the next wave.

I don’t want to watch this fight. I fear this is the kind of fight that could have serious repercussions on the sport of MMA. No one, not any writer, promoter, fighter, or fan would ever want a dramatic health emergency to happen in the ring or cage but this is the kind of fight that something like that could happen. It’s the kind of fight where you find a guy on the floor in the shower afterwards. It’s happened before, predominantly in boxing, and it leaves deep scars on everyone involved. If you don’t believe that, watch the extraordinary documentary that ESPN put together on Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and his fateful night in the ring against Kim Duk-koo.

I’ll watch Shamrock vs. Slice. I’ll watch not because I’m expecting anything tremendously exciting to happen. Either Shamrock will catch Slice in a submission a la Couture vs. Tony, or Slice will KO Shamrock with a couple big punches. Worst case (well not worst, but bad for the fans) will be a three-round snoozer.

I’m feeling more compelled to watch because of what might happen. I don’t want to feel like a ghoul waiting for tragedy. But this could go very wrong.



About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.