(Ken Shamrock: haggard as he wanna be.)
Our boy Michael David Smith over at MMA Fanhouse conducted an interview with Ken Shamrock that can most charitably be described as ‘contentious.’ Give MDS credit, he doesn’t shy away from the tough questions, and neither does Shamrock. After making vague remarks about why CBS refuses to work with him, Shamrock admits he is a fighter, “not a mastermind,” which naturally is news to us all.
But where things get interesting is when MDS presses Shamrock on his most recent sad display of something resembling fighting against 380-pound Ross Clifton. Shamrock admitted that he only took that fight because he didn’t want to fight someone who might have reasonable chance of actually beating him, since this was just a ploy to set up a fight with Tank Abott, which, get this, may be on PAY-PER-VIEW. Leave it to MDS to ask the questions you’re thinking:
But you think it is possible that you fighting Tank is something that could do well on pay-per-view?
I would absolutely say yeah. Especially since I fought some fat guy, out of shape, no good, and it got over 300,000 hits on YouTube, OK? So tell me. Some big, fat, out of shape, fat guy, is going to do bigger numbers than somebody fighting a main event fighter, like [Ken's adopted brother] Frank Shamrock and Nick Diaz, who probably won’t even get those numbers. And you’re saying that your opinion — which I didn’t know writers had one, I thought you were just supposed to write the story — is that because I did that, we got those numbers, we shouldn’t be going out there and having those fans watch that, even though they’re turning on the tube and they’re pushing in the numbers on the computer to watch that thing happen?
Do you think Ken Shamrock vs. Tank Abbott is a better fight than Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz?
Absolutely. What’s the difference? Frank is taking a guy, Nick Diaz, who is a 155-pound fighter. He’s going up to 179 pounds, he hasn’t fought in a very long time, and get in the ring and fight this guy, and he’s going to come to me and say, "You’re washed up, and you shouldn’t be fighting." And he ducked fighting me.
That’s right, Shamrock-Abbott is a better fight than Diaz-Shamrock (the better one)…at least in the mind of Ken Shamrock.
Ken goes on to say that MDS is entitled to his opinion about these sideshow fights, but plenty of people still want to see him fight. He almost immediately reverses this position and says he didn’t know writers had opinions, that he thought they just wrote the stories, and finishes by continuing to use the number of people willing to watch for free on the internet as he degrades himself in these fights as a justification for continuing to participate in them.
Here’s the thing: Shamrock actually makes a decent point. If he wants to continue fighting, and if there are still people willing to watch him (regardless of what their motivations might be) he has a right. No one can make him stop as long as he’s reasonably healthy. And just because he can’t fight, you know, very well any more, that’s not a justification for insisting that he quit altogether if he doesn’t want to.
He’s right when he says that it’s selfish of fans to want him to stop fighting in order to preserve whatever legacy they’d like to remember him for. That is selfish, but that’s life as a pro athlete. The fans get to be selfish. They’re the ones paying, after all.