Early next year, shortly after the time we’re pining for a chubby, furry rodent to bless us with a favorable forecast and announce the end of Winter and the onset of Spring, Bellator MMA will take on the role of a tardy Santa Claus and lavish us with gifts… err, well, fights.

Ol’ Saint Nick, well Scott Coker, will give us spectacle like never before, with a trilogy fight between UFC legend Royce Gracie and UFC legend Ken Shamrock in the main event, and noted UFC washout/Youtube star/backyard fighter Kimbo Slice against not-exactly-noted former backyard fighter Dada 5000 in the co-main event. And before you exlaim “Why?!?” and “Who??” – hey, I’m right there with you.

Now, a disclaimer: I will be watching. It’s awfully hard not to watch a spectacle of this magnatude, even if the fights themselves are likely to be disasters of epic proportions. Ken Shamrock looked shaky in his loss to Kimbo Slice this past Summer even though he did come close to choking the street fighter out, and Slice, for his part, came off looking like he hadn’t learned a thing about MMA since he debuted, still awkward as ever off his back.

Yet the second appearance for each in Bellator feels even stranger than the first, and this particular freakshow is getting just a little too freaky.

The problem here is one of timing. Five years ago, a third bout between Shamrock and Gracie, both already well past their prime, might have been a welcome nostalgia trip. Now, it simply feels like two fighters going through the motions in their old age, hopping on the Bellator money train. Each man is welcome to make a living as they see fit, but in a dangerous sport, you’ve got to question the logic.

For his part, Gracie would no doubt like to go out on a fight other than one that came with a drug test failure attached to it. For Shamrock, well, after coming close in the Slice fight initially, maybe he feels this is a second chance. Both men will likely pick up a king’s ransom for their work — but it’s a fight that simply doesn’t need to happen. For fighter health and safety, and for the sanity of the fans, this one doesn’t need to take place.

The worse offender, however, is the co-main event — which, we should point out, BJPenn.com speculated on months ago. With such a small number of notable heavyweights, it’s shocking to see Bellator waste one of their biggest names (and even then, a name of questionable relevance) against a virtual unknown, even if it is a grudge match. Dada 5000, a.k.a. Dhafir Harris, is a former bodyguard of Kimbo Slice who Slice feels disrespected him and tried to cash in on his name. Dada (or is it 5000?) feels otherwise, and had a documentary of his own street fighting exploits released this year. They’ll settle things in the Bellator cage, but it feels like a step backwards. Dada 5000 is 2-0 in pro MMA fights, and hasn’t had one in years. Last time he was in the cage, even in a win, he looked far from a polished mixed martial artist, even in comparison to the relatively one-dimensional Slice.

Slice would have been an interesting bout for a fighter like Bobby Lashley, who just took out James Thompson and was a huge ratings factor for Bellator 145; he’s arguably the biggest star of the heavyweight division in Bellator aside from Cheick Kongo. With champion Vitaly Minakov busy in Europe and a year and a half removed from defending his Bellator crown, it seems unthinkable that Slice, who still has a name in the sport and is at least a danger on the feet, is given what looks like a throwaway fight.

Freakshow fights can be a lot of fun (The MMA Corner has a weekly feature dedicated to them, after all), but there’s a limit. Bellator 149 seems to be leaving that limit in the dust. Yes, we’ll be watching, but how much longer Bellator is able to hold viewer interest with these freakshow fights remains to be seen. Bellator’s Dynamite card (featuring a one-night light heavyweight tournament and Tito Ortiz vs. Liam McGeary) didn’t pan out the way they’d hoped, and Gracie vs. Shamrock 3 has an eerie feeling of deja vu about it. Things are simply getting a little too freaky.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.

  • shocbomb

    100% agree its getting over the top & ridiculous now and I thought I would never say this I am actually starting to miss Bjorn Rebney ! Also I feel like Bellator gets a free pass from the MMA media.God forbid the UFC were to match make two aging fighters like Royce & Ken the blow back would be non-stop. When its Rebney you hear nothing and its not condemned or criticized at all !