Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie have a history. | Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
The showdown between Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice at Bellator 138 has been aptly titled “Unfinished Business” by promotion officials, but Shamrock was initially interested in settling a different score.
Shamrock and Bellator President Scott Coker first crossed paths at the organization’s fanfest in San Diego this past November. The fan fest has become a staple of Bellator’s “tent pole” events, an opportunity the promotion has taken to pack whatever Dave and Buster’s might be in the vicinity with as many MMA superstars as possible. It was there that Shamrock felt the competitive fires begin to burn, only Kimbo Slice was not the source of his interest.
“I hadn’t seen Ken in a long time. I said, ‘Oh man this guy looks in good shape,’” Coker said during a conference call to promote Bellator 138. “I don’t know if you remember this, Ken, but the first thing you said to me was, ‘I want to fight that guy.’ I said, ‘Who do you want to fight?’ You said, ‘I want to fight Royce Gracie. You think he’ll fight me?’ I said, ‘You still want to fight?’ That’s how the conversation started.”
Shamrock’s encounters with Gracie were staples of the UFC’s formative years. The two men first squared off at the promotion’s inaugural event in 1993, with Gracie winning via rear-naked choke. They crossed paths again at UFC 5, battling to a draw over the course of a 36-minute bout. Shamrock would not get another chance to avenge his loss. Both Shamrock and Gracie were eventually elected to the UFC’s Hall of Fame.
The 48-year-old Brazilian is expected to be in attendance at Bellator’s fan fest in St. Louis next week. Shamrock laughed when asked if a third matchup with Gracie was something he’d be interested in pursuing.
“You know what, there is no tomorrow,” said the 51-year-old fighter. “Right now I’m focused on Kimbo and that’s it.”
According to Coker, both Shamrock and Slice “jumped at the chance to fight each other.” For now, the thought of a Shamrock-Gracie reunion is little more than a nostalgic hypothetical, one more likely to be played out on an air hockey table than in the cage -- if at all.
And besides, Shamrock already has his hands full with an opponent he was supposed to fight nearly seven years ago.
“I don’t think it’s a secret that Kimbo Slice brings the fight, and that’s one thing that I respect about him,” Shamrock said. “When he gets in the ring he’s gonna bring it. I don’t think there’s a question about what kind of fight this is gonna be. We’re two guys that like to bring it.”