(*No*, Quan, I do *not* need a *spotter* in the *bathroom*!)
I’m starting to get the feeling that EliteXC doesn’t want to be taken seriously.
Ten days after they announced that Kimbo Slice‘s next victim would be washed-up “pit fighter” Tank Abbott — who MMA fans born after 1982 do not give a fuck about — Elite distributed a new press release stating that the organization has signed Ken Shamrock (!) and his 19-year-old-son Ryan (!!) to multi-fight deals. Ryan Shamrock fights as a bantamweight, and scored a victory by rear-naked-choke in his professional debut in April; his father is that dude who was supposed to retire after Tito Ortiz beat him for the third-straight time in 2006. Both Shamrocks will compete at “EliteXC Presents: Cage Rage 25’’ on March 8th at Wembley Arena in London, against yet-unnamed opponents.
To be honest, if Elite had announced that Kimbo Slice’s next opponent would be Ken Shamrock rather than Tank Abbott, I would have bitched a lot less. Sure, Shamrock and Tank have both lost seven of their last nine fights, but at least Ken takes the sport seriously; Tank’s training regimen seems to consist of carbo-loading and 12-ounce curls.
Still, the world of MMA has passed Ken Shamrock by, and to put him in a ring again seems a bit exploitative — a word that could also be used to describe the novelty of signing his inexperienced teenage son. But EliteXC has never shied away from exploitation. Their apparent business model is attention-grabbing but short-sighted: cash in as quickly as possible with freak-show fights that will sell out college auditoriums, then depend on the accumulated notoriety to carry them over until real MMA fans get onboard. The problem is, with so many organizations putting together respectable fight cards in their attempt to grab a piece of the pie, going the freak-show route might sour many fans on EliteXC for good. And of course, good luck convincing young MMA fans to pay money to see fighters who were last relevant when they were in grade school…