I witnessed one of the saddest spectacles of my life recently, and I’m not talking about the Republican Debates either. In their quest to be taken seriously, the Canadian Football League of mixed martial arts, Bellator, has foisted the worst double main event in combat sports history on an unsuspecting public: Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie III and Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000. And yes, for those of you unfamiliar with MMA, those last two names weren’t typos either. They also weren’t mixed martial artists.
I guess that’s where to start as well, the first ever athletic commission-sanctioned streetfight between Kimbo and Dada. That garbage belonged in an alleyway more than an octagon, and even then, the clash would have likely devolved into one of those streetfights that are so boring that even the gathering crowd soon loses interest and walks away. These days MMA is an actual sport, not the glorified human cockfights Bellator is trying to revert it back to in their doomed quest for usurping the UFC. Getting ratings is one thing, and I’m sure this unholy mess was easily Bellator’s highest-rated event, but that’s one helluva double-edged sword when you showcase that kind of hideously embarrassing eyesore to your biggest audience so-far.
About two minutes in, both guys were sucking wind and moving in slow-motion. Then it really got boring. In the second, Kimbo had Dada against the fence as the two behemoths teed off on eachother with all the technical skill of two seventh graders fighting in gym class. Both guys were so tired they had to be helped up off of their stools for the start of the third, which was more of the same display of exhausted rock em sock ’em robots until finally Dada collapsed just before Kimbo did. If this description sounds kind of entertaining, trust me, it wasn’t, it was two guys who should have been scrapping in a back yard somewhere instead of embarrassing the entire sport.
Speaking of embarrassments, the Kimbo debacle had nothing on the main event, which I’m still puzzled as to how it got sanctioned in the first place: 52 year-old Ken Shamrock vs. 49 year-old Royce Gracie, literally 23 years after their initial meeting at UFC 1. Even hearing about this fight I couldn’t believe it was actually going to happen, but for the same reason people slow down to look at traffic accidents, I just had to see it. And oh boy what a mistake that was.
The epic third encounter between two true legends of the sport who should have retired in the previous century lasted all of half a round, with the oldest finishing blow in the history of human combat: the ancient technique of a knee to the balls. That’s right. That’s what ended the fight. After two minutes of uneventful circling, the two men finally clinched, Royce swiftly kneed Ken in his Shamrocks, Ken went down and Royce pounced with a torrent of hammer fists as Ken writhed on the ground with both hands on his crotch. The ref jumped in and halted the so-called action, and Shamrock leaped to his feet screaming about a low blow and trying to get after Royce until calm was restored. In actuality, the fight should be ruled a no-contest, but I don’t think a fight between two grandfathers was going to be much of a contest no matter how it ended.
So there you have it. Bellator’s big free show on Spike featured two homies wheezing for three rounds and a pair of geriatrics kneeing eachother in the crotch. I don’t think Dana White is losing any sleep over this.