Although it hasn’t even been publicly released yet, there’s been a whole lot of talk about ESPN doing a story on the UFC’s policies on fighter compensation.
The “Outside the Lines” feature is already being derided as a hack job, since it’s supposed to insinuate that the UFC is a monopoly and engages in unscrupulous business tactics.
Former UFC fighter and UFC Hall of Fame member Ken Shamrock was one of the fighters interviewed by ESPN, and he spoke at length about the UFC’s unfair business policies.
But according to UFC President Dana White, Ken Shamrock is a bitter, broke old man and he has nobody to blame for that but himself. And Dana White is right.
Here are some quotes from the controversial UFC President, courtesy of MMA Junkie: “They had to dig so deep they had to find Ken Shamrock, the guy who ends up getting busted for steroids three times after he leaves the UFC… I have absolutely zero respect for Ken Shamrock… Ken Shamrock filed a bogus lawsuit against us and lost. He owes us that money…F--- you, Ken Shamrock.”
One of the biggest stars from the earliest era of the UFC, Ken Shamrock has an overall record of 28-15-2. Shamrock is currently 2-2 in his last four fights, and before that, he suffered a five-fight losing streak.
As White himself pointed out, Ken Shamrock currently owes the UFC approximately $175,000 in attorney’s fees after a prolonged breach of contract lawsuit ended with Shamrock losing his case against his former bosses.
And to be honest, Shamrock’s “words of wisdom,” at least from what I’ve seen so far from the previews of the “Outside the Lines” feature, definitely reek of sour grapes.
Let me be clear, though: the argument over whether the UFC is a monopoly is one that deserves to be discussed. I personally don’t believe the UFC is a monopoly, but I can see several reasons why the argument could be made.
I don’t want to sweep those reasons under the rug, nor do I want to unequivocally defend the UFC, because I feel that nothing is ever solved and no opinions ever change if we simply refuse to ignore the truth and stick blindly to our own opinions.
The truth of the matter is this: the UFC has bought out or helped destroy every single promotion that’s ever attempted to compete with them. Whether that counts as a monopoly is something that’s up for discussion, because you could also say that the UFC simply stuck around long enough for the other promotions' stupidity to catch up to them.
And when you have promotions that hemorrhaged money like Affliction, promotions that banked their entire future on a YouTube street brawler like Elite XC, and promotions that tried and failed to reach a niche with a bizarre team-based formula like the IFL… can you really blame the UFC for being smart and knowing how to operate their business productively?
The point I’m trying to make is this: the issue here should be discussed, but not by the likes of Ken Shamrock. Ken Shamrock is a bitter old man who owes a lot of money to the UFC right now, so of course he’ll rip apart the UFC every chance he gets.
The fact that ESPN chose to highlight such an obviously bitter individual with such an obvious anti-UFC agenda really lends credence to the belief that the “Outside the Lines” feature is nothing more than a poorly-made hack job.
Oliver Saenz, also known as PdW2kX, is a freelance journalist, opinion columnist, hardcore MMA fan, and lifelong video-game nerd. For more news, views, previews, and reviews on all things Mixed Martial Arts as well as video games, be sure to visit FightGamesBlog.net.