While Ken Shamrock didn’t get the closure he desired in his third meeting with Royce Gracie, it doesn’t sound as though a fourth bout between the two rivals will take place under the Bellator MMA banner.
Gracie defeated Shamrock via technical knockout 2:22 into the opening round of the Bellator 149 headliner at the Toyota Center in Houston on Friday night. While a series of hammerfists on the ground put “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” away, it was an apparent knee to the groin that enabled Gracie to finish the contest with relative ease. The foul went unnoticed by referee Jacob Montalvo
Once that blow landed, Gracie was able to wrangle his foe to the mat and iultimately mprove to 2-0-1 against his fellow UFC Hall of Famer. Shamrock was visibly upset in the immediate aftermath, and those feelings hadn’t subsided by the time he arrived at the post-fight press conference.
“I got kneed in the nuts. That’s as clear as it is. I don’t know what else to say. I apologized to Royce and his corner because it wasn’t his fault. He was doing what he had to do. I wanted this fight,” Shamrock said. “It bothered me a lot because I figured with a main event fight with something like this, you had all these fans there, they were waiting to see us end this our way, and all he had to do is stop and give me a chance to recover, tuck my nuts back in and go again. That’s all that had to happen. Instead they called the fight. It was pretty clear to me.”
Gracie, meanwhile, took a different view of the outcome. As one of MMA’s pioneers, he still remembers what it was like to fight with a much more limited rulebook in the sport’s formative years.
“I was telling Ken, we come from an era where there was no time limit, no weight division, no gloves, no rules,” he said. “Groin shots were allowed, but it [the knee] did not catch his groin.”
Although the stoppage wasn’t the most satisfying of endings, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker balked at the notion of having Gracie and Shamrock square off again somewhere down the road.
“I’m not sure. At this point I don’t even want to talk about it,” Coker said. “We don’t have any plans to promote the fourth fight right now. We had one fight deals with these gentlemen, and we’re gonna move on.”
Gracie, fighting for the first time since June 2007, seemed content with the result — but also left the door open to compete again.
“My father did not make fighters. He taught us how to teach, not how to fight. We fight to prove that our style is the best,” Gracie said. “It’s up to Scott Coker. I thought I was out and he pulled me back in.”
Not surprisingly, Shamrock was less eager to close the book on a rivalry that began more than 20 years ago. After all, it was Shamrock who initially asked Coker to fight Gracie at one of the promotion’s Fanfest events late in 2014.
“In my opinion it’s not over,” Shamrock said. “I wouldn’t want to win that way. If it was me personally, if I had hit somebody in the nuts and they went down….I would probably put my hands up and go, ‘I’m sorry,’ out of reaction. Out of reaction and courtesy. And given him time to get his five minutes to recover. That’s what I would’ve done.”
However, Gracie seemed less interested in facing Shamrock again.
“To me it’s closed,” he said. “I have no problem with him.”