Following all of the talk of the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice bout being a “fixed fight,” or a “work,” as it is often referred to in the industry, Bellator MMA lead analyst Jimmy Smith took to The MMA Community to give his thoughts on the subject.
Below is Smith’s lengthy statement from the online MMA forum.
“Was asked to weigh in on this topic, and thought I would give my 2-cents considering I have been hearing a LOT about it.
I can only speak from the promotional/broadcast side of the equation of course, if Ken and/or Kimbo had some personal (and highly illegal) agreement to fix the fight they certainly didn’t let Bellator in on it. For those who feel that Bellator would fix the fight I offer the following:
To get caught fixing a fight is tantamount to promotional suicide. ANYONE (the UFC, Dana, Coker, the Fertitta’s, etc) who is caught influencing the outcome of a fight will never legally be allowed to promote a fight again (outside of perhaps a bare-knuckle fight on an indian reservation, but even that would be unlikely). The state would pull your promoter’s license so fast it would make you nauseous. With that in mind you have to weigh the “risk vs reward” equation for fixing a fight, especially a televised show of the magnitude of Bellator 138.
MMA, unlike boxing, doesn’t often work on the “undefeated mega-fight” system where there is a TON of money riding on 2 fighters overcoming certain fights to make the “big one” happen. Most fighters in MMA have records that would make them journeymen in boxing, even some of the biggest names in the sport. MMA doesn’t have any title sanctioning bodies like boxing, there are no rival promoters on the opposing sides of 2 fighters, and the national promotions have virtually unlimited discretion in deciding who fights who, when, and for what title. There is no need for a fix to make a certain fight happen, the only thing necessary is the promotion themselves putting the fight together.
That is my general argument against most cries of “fix!!” in the MMA world (like I stated before: from a PROMOTIONAL point of view). Why would Bellator, the UFC, or anyone else take the ASTRONOMICAL risk of fixing a fight when they can make whatever fight they want with a fan base that is fairly forgiving of a loss?
Now, dealing with the specifics of Ken/Kimbo:
Of all the fights one COULD fix, why the hell would anyone fix a fight between two fighters who are not in their competitive primes and have roughly the same fan appeal? Kimbo winning doesn’t do much more for Bellator than Ken winning. Neither fighter is going to be fighting the elite at HWT or 205, so there aren’t any “Megafights” that a fix would set either fighter up for. Also, the crowd was going NUTS for Ken! To favor Kimbo over him wouldn’t necessarily be a brilliant stroke of promotional genius. In a fight where one guy has considerably more marketing draw than the other the accusation of a fix would make a bit more sense. In this case they were roughy equal: both draw a ton of fan interest but have no real long-term prospects amongst the elite in their divisions. The “qui-bono” question (gotta love Latin) is answered fairly simply: Bellator doesn’t really benefit any more with Kimbo winning then they would if it had been Ken because neither guy is going to be challenging for a belt in the near future.
The one question I want to ask people who doubt the veracity of the fight is: What kind of fight did you expect?
Ken has built his reputation on his submission skills, but he has always been a guy who generally forced a submission rather than relied on pure technique. If you recall his fight with Don Frye, he wrenched on leg locks several times and wasn’t able to get the proper angle to finish the fight. It was a technical issue that dogged much of his career. He was squeezing the hell out of Kimbo’s neck as hard as he could but (as some on this thread pointed out) he failed to engage his hips at all and that proved to be the difference. I thought he burned his arms out trying to muscle the choke out of a much bigger fighter. It was fairly clear to me that once Kimbo got out it was only a matter of time. Ken had cardio issues against Fujita and Tito and that was EONS ago in MMA years. He gave everything he had to one choke and it didn’t pan out, as soon as he took a solid one to the chin that was it. Even the most ardent Ken supporter would have conceded that it wouldn’t take many from Kimbo to end the fight and it didn’t.
What we saw at Bellator 138 was, in my opinion, the best effort of a fighter who didn’t have that much left to give. As soon as Ken took a solid shot he turned to Big John and shook his head, he simply wanted no more. Its unfortunate, but a performance like that doesn’t require a fix in MMA, it requires a fighter who sees no merit in going any further and taking more of a beating.
Those are my honest thoughts, do with them what you will.
Thanks guys, you always great!
NOTE: You can decide for yourself by watching the Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice fight by clicking here.
NOTE #2: Find out why UFC commentator says Ken Shamrock vs. Kimbo Slice looked “fake as f*ck” by clicking here.
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