Passing Of The Torch Or T.V. Mismatch??

By Tom Donelson
Updated: September 28, 2008

IOWA CITY — In his next bout, Kimbo Slice is facing a Mixed Martial Art legend in Ken Shamrock. The big buzz in the blogsphere is why is this fight being made? The betting edge is for Slice to smash Shamrock and the reason is simple — he’s lost five fights in a row.

Those losses have been decisive and his last lost to Robert “Buzz” Berry was a reminder that Shamrock’s days as a Hall of Fame fighter have long passed him. CBS and Elite XC put this match together for one reason — ratings.

Slice is one of the MMA’s recognized names and even after three fights; he is treated as a superstar. As for Shamrock, he is still a name. The only question that remains is this a mismatch?

In boxing, it has always been a traditional that a prospect begins their career fighting barely alive or tomato cans before graduating on to tougher competition. In many cases, older stars on their way down are often cast as what we would call gate keepers.

Their job is to use what left of their skills and experience to test the skills of prospect. Shamrock’s place in MMA history is set but at the age of 44, he is not the star of the past.

What he does have is experience and against Slice, he is fighting a younger, stronger, but not necessarily more skilled. Slice’s weakness on the mat is still ever present and James Thompson nearly derailed Slice before he finally pulled the fight out.

Thompson exposed Slice’s ground game and Shamrock will challenge him on the ground as well. So what the MMA is doing with Slice is to building his resume and as they say, squeeze the golden goose before the golden goose turns to lead.

Slice may turn out to be a superstar and a Hall of Fame fighter or a complete bust. This has happened to other prospects and the jury is still out with Slice. Not every fighter fulfills their promise.

Shamrock is the next test for Slice. He is the big name on the resume and a victory will only enhance the legend of Slice. A loss on the other hand sets his career back but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Shamrock’s career will be enhance.

When you are 44, time is your biggest enemy and Shamrock’s last five fights demonstrate that time has already defeated him as an elite top ten Mixed Martial Artist. It doesn’t mean that there is nothing left or that Shamrock can’t defeat an inexperienced fighter like Slice.

Slice will be tested and the fight may even be closer than what the pundits predict for the simple reason, we don’t know how he’ll react when he actually has a big name in front of him, even one past his prime.

MMA fans know the story about Slice, and how the internet made him a star. Elite XC have taken advantage of him and like any smart organizations; they are grooming him as one of their biggest star.

This fight is a step in that direction.

And some pundits are not the only way unhappy as Brett Rogers wanted his shot at Slice. However, Elite XC decided that a Slice-Rogers did not have the same draw as Slice-Shamrock and just maybe, some in Elite XC decided that Slice may not just be ready for Rogers.

Rogers defeated Jon Murphy in his last match and immediately called out Slice.

If Slice gets past Shamrock, a Rogers-Slice bout will eventually happen but it will only happen when Elite XC decides that there is money and ratings to be made.