Weeks before Ken Shamrock was left plastered on the canvas like roadkill, the word in the MMA community was that the 51-year-old UFC Hall of Famer had no business being in the cage with Kimbo Slice, a 41-year-old street fighter turned MMA fighter.
It was the senior-citizen brawl that no one really wanted to see. Yet the fight smashed Bellator’s ratings record by 27 percent, according to MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer.
Oh, the hypocrisy.
After spending several years hidden under the porch somewhere, as UFC President Dana White would say (warning: video contains profanity), Shamrock emerged back in the mainstream spotlight by agreeing to fight Slice in a fight that should have happened back in 2008.
You all know the story by now. Shamrock somehow managed to cut his eye during warm-ups, and Seth Petruzelli Kimbo-bombed the EliteXC off the map.
Seven years later, fans were equally as eager to see Slice lock horns with “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.” The pre-fight hype was magical from a pure promotional perspective. Age might have taken away his speed and timing, but nothing had taken away Shamrock’s ability to promote.
And then the fight happened.
Hardly any punches were thrown, aside from Kimbo’s right hand that dropped Shamrock in the first round. Shamrock even missed on a routine rear-naked choke attempt—hooks in and all—after securing one of the easiest takedowns in MMA history.
So the 51-year-old fighter who wasn’t supposed to be in the same ring with Kimbo became the face of controversy for not putting up a decent fight. The circus bout that everyone penned as atrocious leading in became the subject of ridicule when it actually was atrocious.
According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, when speaking on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast (warning: video contains profanity), the fight “looked fake as f--k.”
Speaking with Submission Radio, Shamrock swore on everything that the fight wasn’t fixed. He simply admitted he made a mistake, and Kimbo made him pay for it. As for Rogan, Shamrock claimed the commentator’s words could have ruined his career:
Being in a professional position, you have the people’s ear. You have a responsibility to make sure whatever you say you can back up, that you can prove and not just say it because you think it. Because you ruin people’s lives on something that you have no proof, and (Rogan’s) wrong in what he’s saying. He could have ruined my career and my life on what he’s saying.
Rogan wasn’t the only person to deem Shamrock’s performance scripted.
UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, who appeared alongside Rogan on the podcast show, was also suspicious of the fight. Fox Sports 1’s Katie Nolan, the host of Garbage Time, accused Shamrock of taking a “dive” while live-tweeting during the event:
Amid a cloud of suspicion, Shamrock vehemently asserted the fight was not fixed in any shape or form: "I swear on everything that I love—my family, my God, everything that I love—that fight was not fixed. And the people that are saying it are saying it because they’re angry or they lost a bet in Vegas or they’re just trying to be hurtful."
Imagine losing a massive bet after Shamrock missed that rear-naked choke attempt. I guess I’d feel salty, too.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He also is the MMA writer for FanRag Sports and co-founder of The MMA Bros.