The rivalry between MMA pioneer Ken Shamrock and the late streetfighting sensation Kimbo Slice is a storied but unusual one. While most would agree the prime of Shamrock’s fighting career came before his return to pro wrestling in the mid-1990’s, the pair weren’t even first scheduled to fight until 2008. This was immaterial though. Slice had become one of the biggest stars in the burgeoning Elite XC promotion, thanks to his history of internet streetfights and impressive physique.
After dispatching veterans of the UFC and Pride respectively in Tank Abbott and James Thompson within his first three fights, Kimbo was fast becoming the biggest MMA star in the US not under contact to Dana White. In just his fourth professional fight, Kimbo was expected to meet 44-year-old Ken Shamrock, who, while undoubtedly way past his prime, was by far the most skilled grappler that Slice had come across.
Unfortunately, just hours before the event was supposed to take place, Shamrock suffered a cut to the eye while warming up forcing him to be removed from the card. Kimbo asserted at the time that he still wanted to fight, so Seth Petruzelli was brought in as a late-notice replacement. Against all the odds, Petruzelli won via a surprise KO, effectively ending Elite XC as a promotion. But that is a story for another time… Shamrock and Slice would finally get to settle their differences in Bellator, 7 years after the fight was initially scheduled to take place.
Despite both men being out of their fighting primes, the bout lived up to the hype. Using his considerable grappling experience, Shamrock secured an early takedown and nearly managed to finish Slice with a rear-naked-choke. However, in his attempt, Shamrock had exerted considerable energy and when Slice managed to free himself, the direction of the fight changed quickly. As both men rose to their feet, Slice landed a vicious uppercut that clearly rocked Shamrock then finished the fight with a barrage of punches against the cage.