Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock on October 4th for EliteXC

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Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com apparently has the confirmation:

Ken Shamrock (Pictures) will be the fourth man to face Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (Pictures) when the two icons clash at EliteXC’s third installment of "Saturday Night Fights" Oct. 4 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The headlining bout will anchor a live broadcast on CBS.

Sherdog.com confirmed the bout’s signing with multiple parties aware of the fight, while a press release is expected to circulate later today with the news.

The 44-year-old Shamrock (26-13-2) beat out fellow candidates Sean Gannon and Brett Rogers (Pictures), who called out Slice in May, for the coveted slot.

Shamrock, a 15-year veteran of the game who made his storied Octagon debut at UFC 1 in November 1993, has dropped his last five bouts in a row since 2005, including a lackluster showing against brawler Robert Berry (Pictures) at Cage Rage 25 last March.

However, "The World’s Most Dangerous Man" exudes substantial selling power for a match now only five and a half weeks away. A strong personality in and out of the cage, Shamrock’s 15 appearances in the UFC earned him international recognition alongside his original nemesis Royce Gracie.

Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the athletic commission in Florida failed to approve this fight. Shamrock's position in the annals of MMA history are well-entrenched, but it's situations like this that are likely to tarnish or re-write what could be considered a successful and glorious career. Shamrock is in no position to take this fight and Slice's power represents a threat to Shamrock's health. I shudder to think what could happen to EliteXC, Slice and perhaps even MMA if Shamrock is seriously injured on the CBS broadcast.

As for Slice, it's regrettable EliteXC would line up an opponent so beatable, but there is a silver lining:

MMARated.com has learned that despite the fact that Ken Shamrock was chosen over Brett Rogers to face Kimbo Slice on the next EliteXC on CBS card on October 4th, Rogers' camp has been told by EliteXC officials that he will face the winner of that fight sometime in the future.

In addition, EliteXC officials have invited Rogers to sit ringside for the October 4th card to get a better a look at his next opponent (like he really needs it).

EliteXC will achieve their immediate objectives for this show. The Shamrock-Slice fight will buy them enough time to get Slice a legitimate challenger and fulfill their four-event deal with CBS. But in so doing, they are branding themselves the dubious relative to the UFC. EliteXC promotes MMA, yes, but with a questionable cast of oft-repeating characters in what can be argued is done in favor of legitimately anonymous legitimate talent. Booking Slice vs. Shamrock is a short-term solution (necessity?) that only exacerbates long-term requirements for acceptance among fans, critics and investors. Color me extremely unimpressed.

UPDATE: Two more thoughts:

1. The pressure from EXC on Slice's management and team to accept this fight may have been overwhelming, but this is a serious set back for Slice in terms of giving him opponents in a hierarchical manner. There is no upgrade here either in terms of talent or experience. Giving Slice a beatable opponent still serves the larger purpose of getting Slice exposure as well as comfortable performing in large-scale events. But Slice is already accustomed to the big stage thus far in his career and Shamrock is not step up in competition at this stage in his career. This match does little for Slice except to line his wallet and inflate the bubble around him.

2. And speaking of that bubble, I wonder when it will burst. Should EXC go under and Slice is forced to find a new home, who is going to pay him his current going rate? Admittedly, if he defeats Rogers he will have earned a win over a credible challenger. But that's by no means a given and neither is high pay days even with that win. Slice's value has been artificially inflated by EXC's need for him. His aura and YouTube history with EXC's marketing and CBS's medium made for a potent combination, but what value does Slice have outside of a promotion that needs him for fiscal solvency? Yes, he could probably sell tickets for Strikeforce or Affliction should EXC fold, but Slice's ability to put asses in seats currently rests on a gimmicky image cultivated by a desperate organization. Worse, it's an image that can be shattered with a thunderous right from Rogers. If Slice losses or is finished, his credibility takes a far more significant hit than any other professional heavyweight at his popularity level. Slice is still at a point where what legitimacy he has can be erased very quickly. And he's at the point where his ability to ever challenge the top of the heavyweight food chain is VERY much a question. The ability of Slice to command a strong pay day outside of the overly hospitable waters of EXC is by no means a given.

If anyone thinks this is an upgrade over James Thompson, you're dreaming. Shamrock is handled here by Buzz Berry of all people. Slice may very well lose, but that would make him almost unfit for professional competition.

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