Ken Shamrock will be the fourth man to face Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson when the two icons clash at EliteXC’s third installment of “Saturday Night Fights” Oct. 4 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The headlining bout will anchor a live broadcast on CBS. Sherdog.com confirmed the bout’s signing with multiple parties aware of the fight, while a press release is expected to circulate later today with the news. The 44-year-old Shamrock (26-13-2) beat out fellow candidates Sean Gannon and Brett Rogers, who called out Slice in May, for the coveted slot.
[*shakes head*] Okay. So first off, Ken Shamrock has lost his last five fights by first-round KO/TKO. He has a tendency to get grazed on the chin, drop to the mat with his eyes rolled up in his head, and then immediately pop up to complain when the ref stops the fight. Maybe it’s just bad luck. Maybe he’s more susceptible to flash knockouts than
most all MMA fighters. Whatever the case, he shouldn’t be headlining a network television fight card. Slice vs. Rogers would be a contest that MMA fans would actually want to watch. The only question we’ll have after Slice vs. Shamrock is, will the World’s Most Dangerous Man finally retire after this one?
It’s as good a time as any to bring up this fun fact: Kimbo’s second EliteXC opponent, Tank Abbott, had lost seven of his past eight fights before stepping into the cage at “Street Certified” in February. James Thompson had lost six of his last eight when he faced Kimbo at “Primetime.” Now, perhaps because Thompson gave Slice more problems than EliteXC had expected, they’re giving him Shamrock, who like Tank, has also lost seven of his last eight. These guys are beyond “jobbers” — they’re woefully unsuccessful.
I’ve never thought that Kimbo Slice is bad for the sport of MMA, but EliteXC’s matchmaking certainly is. Obviously, the matchup is geared more to casual fans — “casual” meaning that they understand the concept of two dudes punching each other, and may have heard of the UFC — and EliteXC certainly needs big ratings on CBS in October. Still, I’m not convinced that a squash match featuring a guy whose prime is 14 years behind him is going to hook repeat business. With their landmark network television deal, EliteXC had the opportunity to spread the gospel of MMA to the unaware, and they’re squandering it under the assumption that a flashy knockout from Kimbo Slice will save their sinking ship. We’ll see if it does.
As a consolation prize, Brett Rogers — the man who should be facing Kimbo in October — will face the winner of Slice/Shamrock “sometime in the future.” EliteXC could be saving the Rogers/Slice grudge match for a pay-per-view show early next year. Meanwhile, CBS is stuck with another freak show.