You heard it, folks. The Ultimate Fighting Championship — the biggest fight organization in the world and the company responsible for the explosive growth of mixed martial arts worldwide — could really benefit from the business savvy of one Ken Shamrock. You know, the same Ken Shamrock who, at 46 years old, needs to keep fighting in order to pay the bills, despite earning ridiculous sums of money in pro wrestling and during his feud with Tito Ortiz. Yeah, he’s got a few tips for the UFC. From Sherdog:
“I believe they handled [James Toney] wrong. I think that [he] has earned the right to come into an organization, especially since he’s coming from boxing into MMA and taking a huge chance, that they should have matched him up with somebody that he at least would have had an opportunity to have success (against). They matched him up with a straight grappler. How in the world are you going to be able to have any success when you’re first coming into a new organization and a new industry that you have never, ever done before? Take away your (boxing) shoes and go in there and say, ‘OK, world champion of boxing, good luck.’”
Shamrock suggested an alternative path for Toney, proposing a three-fight deal in which Toney would have met another striker in his UFC debut. (It should be noted that Toney has said he declined a fight with Kimbo Slice to take on Randy Couture, who easily submitted him in the first round.) Shamrock believes setting Toney up for success initially would have created much greater interest leading up to a bout against a more grappling-oriented fighter.
“And then guess what?” Shamrock said. “Your buy rates go from being 900,000 to 1.5 or 2 million like boxing’s getting.”
Now, everyone, I need to have a word with Mr. Shamrock in private.
(Ken, I think you might be misunderstanding a few things.
Here’s the deal, Ken. Toney was brought in because he wouldn’t stop running his mouth to the point where people actually wanted to see him get his ass beat in the UFC. He wasn’t brought in for any legitimate athletic purpose or to set him up for a run at the belt or whatever it is you had in mind. He was brought in because MMA fans wanted to see him get put in his place by a legitimate mixed martial arts fighter. If the UFC wanted to set Toney up against somebody who would stand and strike with him, they could have put him in a boxing match, which would have defeated the whole purpose.
And I like the way that you assume increased exposure for Toney would have driven up pay-per-view buy rates comparable to those of the biggest boxing shows simply because Toney is also a boxer. Good try on that one. But again, I have to disagree. After all, by that logic we could set you up with a UFC fight against a beatable opponent — like, say, a small child with Down’s Syndrome — and you would instantly become more bankable at this point in your career. I just don’t see it happening. And by “it” I mean you becoming more bankable, not you beating up a small Down’s kid. You could probably pull that off. Maybe.)
Aaaaaaaand I’m back. I say Ken Shamrock for the position of the UFC’s VP of Questionable Business Judgments. Who’s with me?