With the newly signed fight between Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice on the horizon, many questions are circling the match up. The main question is probably WHY?
Most MMA fans hate Kimbo. They don't respect him, or more importantly, the level of competition he has been handed to ensure numerous victories.
Although Slice is a newcomer to MMA, he trains with Bas Rutten. Anyone who knows anything about MMA understands that Rutten is a monster and well respected in the industry. Kimbo has proper training and work ethic to get better.
Love him or hate him, the guy is a HUGE draw to casual fans or ignorant people who only know of him for his you-tube clips. I can see them watching and saying, "Oh sh&* he got knocked the F out. Kimbo could kill people."
But MMA is an entirely different world than street fighting.
Be that as it may, the fight vs. Tank Abbot rated the highest on Showtime. The CBS debut show was a HUGE draw because of Kimbo. It had more viewers then Tito vs. Shamrock and Henderson vs. Jackson on free TV.
People want to see Kimbo. Some to see him knock someone out, others to see this marketing machine break down and prove what many think. That he just isn't that good.
So after a near defeat to a guy who is as sloppy as they come, a fight with Brett Rogers seemed to be set up perfectly at the post fight press conference. Elite XC probably figured if Rogers beats Kimbo, how would they draw ratings and viewers? They probably can't.
Ken Shamrock is 44 years old and was dominated by Franklin and Sakuraba. In 2006, Tito shut him up twice. Sadly, in 2008 Robert "BUZZ" Berry humiliated him, in the first round. The "World's Most Dangerous Man" has not been dangerous in a very long time.
I think Elite XC makes a good choice for what their focus is. They want Kimbo to win and want HUGE draws for all of thier events.
Ken Shamrock,as well as Kimbo, is known to most casual MMA fans. He brings credibility just on his name value. Is Ken a serious competitor now a days, no. His name is a selling point and will be marketed as so. If someone told me they would pay me a hefty amount to use my name and give me top billing I, like most, would gladly take it. So you can't fault Shamrock for taking this fight.
If we were to think about this from a wrestling standpoint, let's think about the 80's. Hulk Hogan was no Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, or Mr. Perfect. He had nowhere near the ability to wrestle like these men. But he put asses in the seats. Following that, the other guys were able to showcase their talent and help the business grow.
Hopefully that's what Kimbo does for Elite XC and MMA. He will continue to draw people to watch, until he fights a mid to top level guy that isn't over the hill. And he's doing that, criticized and all.
One thing about the fight is many will wonder if Shamrock can pull of a submission or shocking win. He has a chance. I, like most, believe that. But if Ken does win, it's not the end of the world for Kimbo.
They can give Ken the Rocky Balboa gimmick if he wins. Not to mention it will piss Dana White off. Shamrock could be the older guy who had a bad stretch and reached the mountain top again. Even if it's Elite XC's mountain.
If Kimbo wins then he will most likely fight Brett Rogers at the next show. After that, who knows?
Overall, the decision seems to be a win win for Elite XC. It will draw HUGE and whatever happens, will easily set up more interest down the road. Let's face it, Kimbo is NO Brock Lesnar...and probably never will be. It's time to accept it and just take Elite XC and Kimbo for what they are.
A marketing facade that seems to work if "Hogan" is fighting.
I just hope it helps MMA become even more mainstream. This is the most interesting fight Kimbo has been in from my standpoint.
I guess we will all see if the fight delivers on October 4th.
For Elite XC's hope of securing a new deal with CBS and not end up bankrupt, the only definite thing is the company really needs this match to draw and be a huge success.
I think it will draw huge, I'm just not too sure how great of a main event it will be.
Will the Randy Savage's, Mr. Perfect's, and Ricky Steamboat's please step up! MMA and Elite XC need you.