Kimbo Slice says he has more than one way to win. | Photo: Terry Goodlad/Sherdog.com
The first scheduled encounter between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock at EliteXC “Heat” met an untimely demise when “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” suffered an accidental cut during warm-ups, forcing him to withdraw at the last minute.
Slice was left to face Seth Petruzelli, who was previously booked on the same card against Aaron Rosa. Petruzelli finished the former porn industry bodyguard in 14 seconds, an unceremonious debunking of the legend Slice had crafted through years of taped street fights. Meanwhile, with its star exposed, EliteXC announced that it would cease operations just a few weeks later.
Nearly seven years later, the two would-be combatants have been booked to face one another again at Bellator 138 at Scottrade Event Center in St. Louis on June 19. The event is appropriately title “Unfinished Business.” When asked to recall the turn of events that led to him facing Petruzelli instead of Shamrock on Oct. 4, 2008, Slice doesn’t offer much in the way of insight. However, he does have some colorful thoughts on what might happen if any misfortune should befall Shamrock this time around.
“I can’t even really comment on that. I just hope that he f--king pads his hands up so he can’t cut himself, and they keep all the sharp objects away from him,” Slice said during a conference call on Wednesday. “What is he gonna do next time: Shoot himself in the foot? I don’t know what Ken’s gonna do. I just hope he fights and takes this fight. Who cuts themselves? You do shit like that when you’re scared, when you’re afraid. I hope he fights. I hope he don’t p---y out. If he does, I’m going into the dressing room and we’re going to do an old fashioned bare knuckle right there. Right then and there in St. Louis. F--k it.”
Not surprisingly, Shamrock, who said he required six stitches due to an accidental head butt that night, wasn’t particularly interested in revisiting that portion of his past.
“I’m not gonna go into it,” Shamrock said. “I’ve already gone over this. Right now my mind is focused on the Kimbo fight and going into something like that frustrates me and makes me angry. It takes my mind away from what’s important right now.”
Slice would compete just two more times following that defeat. After a stint on Season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” where his presence helped to deliver consistently high ratings, Slice outpointed Houston Alexander in a tepid affair at the reality show’s finale. He was released from the UFC following a second-round TKO loss in his next appearance.
During his time away from the sport, Slice compiled a 7-0 professional boxing record. He says he’s also acquired an appreciation for the many facets of MMA, including an increased dedication to his training.
“I’ve always had love for MMA. I really did. Hell, I was tempted to throw a few kicks and takedowns while I was boxing,” he said. “It was always in my heart. It was always there. Now I have a love for training where I didn’t have this love for MMA training, say, five years ago. I didn’t have that love for it then. I just had a passion to fight. Now I have the love for training along with the passion to fight. I’m a well rounded martial artist now.”
Slice was always known for his hands, and he was often booked accordingly. Based on his track record, Shamrock would appear to be a different type of foe. The Lion’s Den founder has finished 23 of his 25 career triumphs by way of submission. Slice is confident that he can succeed if the fight moves out of his comfort zone.
“I can hold my own in the cage. I’m no longer one dimension. You’ve got to be ready to come fight. You can’t f--k around with me because I can either knock you out or I can choke you out,” he said. “If I get a hold of something, I’m gonna choke you the f--k out. If I’ve got an armbar, I’m gonna try to pop your shoulder out of place.”
While Slice might not feel totally secure that his long-awaited clash with Shamrock will happen until he’s standing across from him in the Bellator cage, the former YouTube sensation respects that his opponent is still willing to fight at 51 years old. After all, Slice is 41 years old himself, and he still feels the pull of competition.
“I’ve been fighting professionally now for 10 years. It’s not something you just say you’re done with... It’s never like you’re done,” he said. “I take my hat off to Ken Shamrock, being 51, even though I’m still gonna knock his punk ass out. I take my hat off to [boxer] Bernard Hopkins, being that he’s 50. These guys being as old as they are. That’s not even old if you really look at it. They’re just a little bit older, so they’re a little bit wiser. So they train I little bit smarter. I would love to be [doing that] at that age. I’m just right around the corner from these guys... It’s a beautiful thing, man.”