Bellator’s Shamrock vs. Slice brought back some good memories.

Oh, not of Ken Shamrock in his hey-day against his fellow legends. And not those of seeing Kimbo Slice fight for the first time on some street in Miami.

No, it brought back memories of Saturday Morning Superstars, that great program from WWF back in the day. It was a good chance to see all the ring luminaries of the day in the ring – Macho Man, Big Boss Man, The Million Dollar Man, Tatanka, Hacksaw Jim Duggan. You saw those wrestlers in what was known as squash mashes. Yes, you got to see them in action, but they were there for ratings and to appease fans, and not to compete in actual matches. They faced some scrub (nowadays known as developmental talent) from the locker room, ‘squashed’ him in two or three minutes, and that was that.

Everyone was happy and eagerly awaited the next pay-per-view or Saturday night’s main event.

Bellator reminded me very much of those squashes.

Whether Slice vs. Shamrock was a work or not, it was fun for a moment to realize it was actually going to happen. Then it happened. And it was fun.

I can’t figure out how Shamrock didn’t finish the fight with that rear-naked choke, and like many others including Joe Rogan have stated since, it certainly raises an eyebrow inquiring if the fix was in.

We got to see two ‘stars’ in the business and it was over fast. The squash reference was fulfilled.

Slice’s finishing punch wasn’t a work – it was a legit wallop.

Still, the whole thing just stunk.

However, the pungent aroma of the main event paled in comparison to the one that emanated from Bobby Lashley’s bout. I’ve worked with Lashley before as one of his earliest fights in MMA was with the Maximum Fighting Championship and AXS TV. He was fairly easy to work with, but it was not easy getting a match setup for him as he was extremely selective.

Fast forward six years and I don’t believe much has really changed for Lashley. There’s still questions about his gas tank due to his incredibly developed physique. Moreso, the questions are there about his quality of competition.

Dan Charles was a late replacement and he did what most of them do – put up a brave face and then crumble.

But Lashley didn’t make a statement in crumbling Charles. It took him nearly two full rounds to end it. I’ll give him the squash because Charles wasn’t much more than a sparring partner. More compelling is the story that Lashley isn’t a half-step closer to being a heavyweight threat. Had he come in and demolished Charles with a damaging suplex and then a barrage in ground-and-pound, maybe I’d think different. Perhaps more blame should be laid at Bellator’s door rather than Lashley’s feet. On the grand stage of this event, a greater replacement opponent might have brought more out of Lashley. On the other hand, anybody beyond Charles’ depth might just have beat Lashley. Bellator needs to decide it they’re going to push Lashley or let him dictate what opponents he’ll face.

After that slug-like performance I’d highly recommend that Lashley pass on MMA and go back to wrestling full-time. It’s a much longer shelf life and frankly he’ll go further whether it’s a return to the WWE or in Japan or wherever.

Outside of the Lashley debacle, the worst thing I saw from Bellator was that ghastly ‘major announcement’ which I had to rail on about via Twitter on Friday night. Zero enthusiasm from everyone in the spotlight except for ancient pitchman Tito Ortiz. I know Scott Coker doesn’t want to be Dana White, but his stage appeal was way beyond invisible. Letting King Mo walk out with headphones on and look totally disinterested in being there … well, if someone got fired at the UFC for letting Dennis Hallman walk out in banana hammock fight shorts, then someone should be pink slipped for Mo too.

Outside of the smartly designed arc on the fighter walkway, the best thing I saw from Bellator this past Friday was the highly entertaining Kyle Kurtz vs. Adam Cella matchup. Perhaps there’s a message there for the bosses. Maybe it’s time to rethink this whole blasts-from-the-past approach. Maybe it’s time to stop signing every scrap the UFC tosses their way (see Chieck Kongo, the next ‘main event’ fighter on the schedule). Maybe it’s time to really focus on developing new fighters and push the new stars like Douglas Lima.

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.