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Interview: Ken Shamrock Talks Kimbo Slice, Bare Knuckle Boxing, Personal Protection, and His Ministry — Part 1

By Zach Heim, with Chad Blessinger 

Ken Shamrock is a busy man these days. 2015 finds the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” involved in a Bellator main event against Kimbo Slice, a professional bare knuckle fight, a ministry for God, stock trading, and at least four other business and professional ventures. He is busier than ever building a future for himself off of 30 years of hard work, and lucky for us, we managed to get a few minutes with Shamrock to discuss a variety of topics.

CagePotato: You were supposed to fight Kimbo Slice a long time back until a last-minute cut over your eye forced you to bow out. Tell us about that experience.

Ken Shamrock: Yeah, there’s a lot to it. My father had went into a coma and I spent about three weeks at the hospital with him while I was training for this fight. I got on a plane because he told me I needed to go take care of business. So I get on a plane and I fly down to do the fight. The night before the fight they called and told me he went into a coma or they put him on a machine or whatever…they had to keep him on life support. They asked what I wanted to do. So I said don’t do anything until I get back. So there was a lot of stuff going on, along with some different business stuff that was happening.

I grabbed a friend of mine and moved everything out of the hotel room. I was in a suite, so I had an area just to roll around to get my head back in to where it needed to be, a light roll, nothing heavy. I just caught his head the wrong way, it cut me, went to the hospital got it triple stitched/double stitched. I asked the doctor, “Can you clear me?” and he said, “If they let you fight, I’ll let you fight.” I went to the arena, got into the locker room and the [Florida] Commission came in, the promoters came in and I clearly told them I would fight. Of course, the Commission ixnayed it, [saying] you know we can’t take the risk. I told them if it [the cut] opens up or breaks they can stop the fight, it’s on me. No big deal, just let it roll, the fights not going to go very long. There’s no way he’s going to last very long. But if it does open up, you can stop me. I’m ok with that. Well, they said no. The fight didn’t happen.

Now what really made me angry was that when they wouldn’t let the fight happen, all the sudden all these different types of stupid comments started coming into play. Kimbo and his team being a part of that and what really upset me the most was the fact that I had made a sacrifice to go out and do this fight. My father had a problem and they put him on life support, things didn’t work out the way they should have but yet I still hear these stupid comments about why I wouldn’t fight, how come I didn’t fight, I got cut, I cut myself, I’m afraid, all these things coming from the Kimbo camp. It just boiled in me and there was not much I could do about it. I always kept it in my mind that if I ever had the opportunity to get into a ring and fight him in mma, I’d be waiting for him.

Neither of you have fought an MMA fight in 5 years and it has been reported the Missouri Commission is going to ask you to do some additional medical testing. Has any of that begun and what exactly does that entail?

They are going to want extra testing, which to me is, you know, whatever, it is what it is. I don’t know why, I thought we got past this stuff, you know, years and years ago with prejudices against women, against colors, against gender, sexual preferences — all these things. We are supposed to have grown as a nation but we continue to keep pulling people aside for whatever the reason the may be because they may be older or they speak different or whatever the reason is. It seems they can’t let it go. Why in the world would you test somebody who is clearly passing all the regulations they are supposed to pass as a regular fighter? Why does it have to be extensive testing because you are 50 years old or your forty years old? Either you pass, or you don’t pass. I don’t understand what their sanctioning reasons are for. It’s either you pass or you don’t pass. If you pass, you fight. I don’t care what age you are.

I think Kimbo showed a lot about himself when he fought Petruzelli the night they wouldn’t let you fight. Seth knocked him out in, what, 15 seconds or something like that?

I don’t get some of these comments that people are making about “Well if he stands up, he’s gonna lose,” and “If he can’t take him down, he’s going to lose.” I’m thinking, “Who are these people, where is their education?”

Not a lot of people knew much about Seth Petruzelli before that fight, which I suppose made his win all the more shocking. 

To me it’s ridiculous. I don’t think Kimbo’s going to handle me, whether it’s stand-up or on the ground. We know [he can't handle me] on the ground, but even stand-up I just; I watched his boxing. He hand picks his guys, and even then you see [his weaknesses]. Like I said, you know, I’m not going to take him lightly. I’m going to prepare like this is the best fight in the world. But like I said, in the back of my mind, I don’t see a problem here either stand-up or on the ground.

What is the current status of the Lion’s Den? How many gyms are there? What is going on with that part of your career?

I still have Team Lion’s Den. In fact, it is my son, myself, and I will be fighting under Team Lions Den in this fight coming up. My son still fights under it. I have three boys. They fight under it. All my family fights under it. That’s as far as it goes. Right now Team Lion’s Den is basically a ministry outreach program. (It’s) my non-profit organization where I walk out and I help youth and do motivational speaking. I transferred that in that direction but the Team Lion’s Den is definitely not dead now. It’s just that right at this point in time I’m just so focused on really doing more work for my ministry and work for young athletes who are amateurs who are trying to turn pro. I don’t want to, obviously, but them under a team flag or anything like that. I just want to help these guys make good decisions on their own for their own career.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview, which will be up tomorrow.

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