Much has been made over Bellator 138: Unfinished Business this past Friday night (June 19, 2015). Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire made an incredible comeback victory, knocking out Daniel Weichel in the second round. Scott Coker appeared to announce Bellator 141: Dynamite, which will feature a light heavyweight title bout between Liam McGeary and Tito Ortiz, a four-man light heavyweight tournament, and a co-promotion with Glory Kickboxing.
But all of that appears to be lost in the ruckus surrounding the main event between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock. Slice and Shamrock made their first appearances inside a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage since 2010. Slice fought off a rear-naked choke to pounce on “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” for the TKO victory in the first round.
One person who doesn’t see a fixed fight making any sense for Bellator to do is the organization’s commentator Jimmy Smith. He appeared on the MMA Community forum to discuss the controversy:
“To get caught fixing a fight is tantamount to promotional suicide. ANYONE (the UFC, Dana, Coker, the Fertitta’s, etc) who is caught influencing the outcome of a fight will never legally be allowed to promote a fight again (outside of perhaps a bare-knuckle fight on an indian reservation, but even that would be unlikely). The state would pull your promoter’s license so fast it would make you nauseous. With that in mind you have to weigh the ‘risk vs reward’ equation for fixing a fight, especially a televised show of the magnitude of Bellator 138.”
Smith said he doesn’t understand why some would think a promotion would have a bout with a predetermined outcome between two fighters who are past their primes:
“Of all the fights one COULD fix, why the hell would anyone fix a fight between two fighters who are not in their competitive primes and have roughly the same fan appeal? Kimbo winning doesn’t do much more for Bellator than Ken winning. Neither fighter is going to be fighting the elite at (heavyweight) or 205, so there aren’t any ‘Megafights’ that a fix would set either fighter up for. Also, the crowd was going NUTS for Ken! To favor Kimbo over him wouldn’t necessarily be a brilliant stroke of promotional genius. In a fight where one guy has considerably more marketing draw than the other the accusation of a fix would make a bit more sense. In this case they were roughy equal: both draw a ton of fan interest but have no real long-term prospects amongst the elite in their divisions. The “qui-bono” question (gotta love Latin) is answered fairly simply: Bellator doesn’t really benefit any more with Kimbo winning then they would if it had been Ken because neither guy is going to be challenging for a belt in the near future.”
Whether or not this was a case of an old fighter who can’t do much anymore, or if both competitors and the promotion were in on a fix will probably be debated on for a while. One thing is for sure, the fight has got people talking about Bellator.