Bellator MMA analyst Jimmy Smith responds to Kimbo vs. Shamrock ‘fix’ allegations

In a month where Fabricio Werdum upset Cain Velasquez to become the new UFC heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson fended off Father Time by KOing…

By: Mookie Alexander | 8 years ago
Bellator MMA analyst Jimmy Smith responds to Kimbo vs. Shamrock ‘fix’ allegations
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

In a month where Fabricio Werdum upset Cain Velasquez to become the new UFC heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson fended off Father Time by KOing Tim Boetsch in 30 seconds, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on a virtuoso performance against Jessica Penne on Saturday, the most discussed and debated fight is unquestionably … Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock. The Bellator 138 main event lasted exactly 2:22 on Friday night, with the 51-year-old Shamrock unable to finish a deep rear-naked choke on Kimbo before Slice got back to his feet and knocked him out with a right hand.

Of course, a section of MMA fans on social media, as well as UFC analyst Joe Rogan, believed the fight was fixed to some extent, and that Shamrock should’ve been able to finish the choke.  There have been videos circulating with angles that also argue Kimbo Slice did tap at least once and referee John McCarthy didn’t do anything. Unleashing an accusation that Kimbo/Shamrock wasn’t on the level is a very serious one, because the ramifications for fight fixing include licenses getting revoked and Bellator essentially getting shut down.

Bellator MMA lead analyst Jimmy Smith was on-site in St. Louis to call the fight, and responded to the fix claims as well as gave an assessment of what transpired on Friday. The blockquote is a snippet of the full statement posted on The MMA Community forum, but the screenshot of the full statement can be viewed below the blockquote.

I can only speak from the promotional/broadcast side of the equation of course, if Ken and/or Kimbo had some personal (and highly illegal) agreement to fix the fight they certainly didn’t let Bellator in on it. For those who feel that Bellator would fix the fight I offer the following:

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.

MMA, unlike boxing, doesn’t often work on the “undefeated mega-fight” system where there is a TON of money riding on 2 fighters overcoming certain fights to make the “big one” happen. Most fighters in MMA have records that would make them journeymen in boxing, even some of the biggest names in the sport. MMA doesn’t have any title sanctioning bodies like boxing, there are no rival promoters on the opposing sides of 2 fighters, and the national promotions have virtually unlimited discretion in deciding who fights who, when, and for what title. There is no need for a fix to make a certain fight happen, the only thing necessary is the promotion themselves putting the fight together.

That is my general argument against most cries of “fix!!” in the MMA world (like I stated before: from a PROMOTIONAL point of view). Why would Bellator, the UFC, or anyone else take the ASTRONOMICAL risk of fixing a fight when they can make whatever fight they want with a fan base that is fairly forgiving of a loss?


The one question I want to ask people who doubt the veracity of the fight is: What kind of fight did you expect?

Ken has built his reputation on his submission skills, but he has always been a guy who generally forced a submission rather than relied on pure technique. If you recall his fight with Don Frye, he wrenched on leg locks several times and wasn’t able to get the proper angle to finish the fight. It was a technical issue that dogged much of his career. He was squeezing the hell out of Kimbo’s neck as hard as he could but (as some on this thread pointed out) he failed to engage his hips at all and that proved to be the difference. I thought he burned his arms out trying to muscle the choke out of a much bigger fighter. It was fairly clear to me that once Kimbo got out it was only a matter of time. Ken had cardio issues against Fujita and Tito and that was EONS ago in MMA years. He gave everything he had to one choke and it didn’t pan out, as soon as he took a solid one to the chin that was it. Even the most ardent Ken supporter would have conceded that it wouldn’t take many from Kimbo to end the fight and it didn’t.

What we saw at Bellator 138 was, in my opinion, the best effort of a fighter who didn’t have that much left to give. As soon as Ken took a solid shot he turned to Big John and shook his head, he simply wanted no more. Its unfortunate, but a performance like that doesn’t require a fix in MMA, it requires a fighter who sees no merit in going any further and taking more of a beating.

For what my own opinion is worth, Ken Shamrock is 51 years old and hasn’t submitted anyone since the legendary WARGODS win over Ross Clifton in 2009. Bellator literally didn’t exist the last time Shamrock won by submission. Shamrock’s previous one before Clifton? August 2001 vs. Sam Adkins, whose career MMA record is a sensational 7-20-2. His last win by rear-naked choke was in 1994 in Pancrase. So as limited as Kimbo Slice is and always has been as a fighter, maybe, just maybe, as much as Shamrock should’ve finished Kimbo, it’s simply a case of a man about 20 years past his prime and with numerous injuries and wear-and-tear flat out not having the ability to achieve what observers feel is simple for a man of his pedigree.

Share this story

About the author
Mookie Alexander
Mookie Alexander

Mookie is a former Associate Editor for Bloody Elbow, leaving in August 2022 after ten years as a member of the staff. He's still lurking behind the scenes.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories