First things first. Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock is a marketable matchup. It’s one that I’m sure will draw ratings. Shamrock has been around the game for a very long time, can hype a fight, and has name recognition from his time in the UFC, WWE, and his run on TUF 3. Kimbo is Kimbo. We’ve seen what kind of attention he draws and what kind of drawing power he has. This has all been stated in the past. It’s a fight that will get eyeballs on CBS, EliteXC, and have people tuning in.
That being said, EliteXC is getting as close to scripting fights as possible in MMA without actually determining the outcomes. Say what you will about the UFC, at least they give us legitimate fights where the best fighters on their roster fight one another and they let the chips fall where they may. It may be better off for one of their fighters to win over another but they let the fighters decide what the outcome is and not the matchmaking.
With EliteXC it’s the complete opposite. Going into the fight we already know who’s going to win. And it shouldn’t be that way. Part of the allure to MMA is that the sport is so unpredictable. But nine times out of ten, Slice dominates Shamrock. There’s no fun in that. Are we supposed to legitimately think that Shamrock has a chance in hell to win this fight? That it’s a competitive fight? Anyone with half a brain knows that Shamrock will get knocked out within the first couple of minutes. The guy hasn’t won a fight since he beat a washed up Kimo back in 2004 and his chin has turned into absolute glass over the past few years. Sure, the guy knows his submission game and there’s a small chance he might catch Slice in something but Shamrock is following the path of Tank Abbott as just another guy to throw in the cage against Slice so Kimbo can knock his block off. If “Buzz” Berry can do it then Kimbo certainly can. EliteXC looks second rate as it is. This matchup only helps solidify that fact.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing but love for Kimbo Slice. I’ve been a Kimbo Slice supporter since the beginning. I think his aura, his charisma, and his fighting style are good for the sport. His story is one that appeals to a lot of different types of people and he seems to be taking the sport very seriously. That being said, you don’t know if his next fight is going to be against a legitimate opponent like Brett Rogers or if it’s going to be against Doink The Clown. I mean honestly, the circus surrounding Kimbo’s future opponents has become ridiculous. Who’s next? Tommy Morrison?
Sooner or later Slice is going to have to be tested. But because EliteXC has zero stars past Slice and to a lesser extent Gina Carano, it forces them to continue to protect Kimbo because should he lose then they have no drawing power. Carano can’t carry a show by herself and the reason people will tune in on October 4 is almost solely because of Slice. It’s a sad state of affairs because Slice deserves better. He was being built up the proper way. First it was the debacle agaisnt Bo Cantrell, then Tank Abbott, a relative can. Then it was James Thompson, a more legitimate fighter who really tested Kimbo. And now I’m thinking: “Hey, maybe they’ll actually put him in against Rogers and let the chips fall.” But no, they disappoint me with Shamrock. And after he beats Shamrock I’m sure they’ll pull Don Frye or Dan Severn out of the woodworks. Or would Dan Severn be too risky?
My hope is that EliteXC runs into a situation where the undercard fights are great and the sport itself is elevated because people tune in to see Kimbo and also happen to see some great MMA fights along the way. Paul Daley vs. Jake Shields is one of those fights that could steal the show and it would be great if a ton of people saw it because that is a true MMA fight with two elite fighters vying for a title shot. Maybe that’s EliteXC’s plan. But I have a feeling that it isn’t.