At Thursday’s Bellator 149 press conference in Houston, TX, event headliner Ken Shamrock discussed working on a “legends division” in MMA for older fighters. Shamrock said fans still want to see seasoned veterans of the octagon in action, but that it’s not right to put them in the cage against younger fighters.
“I’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Shamrock told MMA Fighting. “A legends division, because the fans want to still see those guys. It was unique. It’s different now because everybody does the same thing, but there were those 10 years of MMA that just were very unique, and the fans locked on to them. There were a lot of legends that were created during that time, and a lot of those guys are still capable of getting into the ring and fighting. Obviously not fighting for a world title, but there are guys who, fighting other guys who are basically the legendary status, they will still pack the house because people want to see them. Royce (Gracie) did it, I did it, many other ones have done it, (Pat) Miletich has done it — there’s guys who have kept themselves in tremendous shape and can still go.
“We don’t have the recovery or the reaction time we used to, so we’re not going to compete with the guys who are young. But we could compete with the guys around our time who the fans want to see fight again, and I think there’s a huge market for that. Scott Coker has bitten into that, and I think he has bitten into something very unique. If he keeps going with this, he’s going to see this thing really blow up.”
Shamrock explained some of the motivation to head up a legends division, citing his passion for the sport, and that veteran fighters would be in for bigger paydays now than earlier in their careers.
“Hey, I want to do it. I fight for fun. I enjoy it. Shoot me. I’m doing what I love doing. And now I’m starting to see it turn around. I’m starting to see people embrace it. I’m starting to see guys coming out of the woodwork, like Miletich just the other day, saying I want to fight the winner. Dan Severn wants to fight.
“For me, to see these guys come out and continue to fight, and be able to dip in to some of the things that are happening today, with the money that’s being made for some of these fighters — not anything like they should be making, but they’re making some money now. More than we were doing at the time. And so to see these guys come out and actually get a piece of that pie, it makes me happy for them,” Shamrock says. “They deserve it.”
Ken Shamrock fights Royce Gracie at Bellator 149 in Houston, TX on Friday, February 19th.