The Upside of Ken Shamrock vs Bobby Lashley

Ref_mediumZach Arnold asks the question "Will you be interested in Shamrock vs. Lashley?" and answers it himself:

Yes. Oh yes, you will. A former WWE star involved in a Wrestlemania angle with Donald Trump versus The World’s Most Dangerous Man and UFC icon Ken Shamrock. On paper, it’s a great match-up to market. I don’t know if ‘freak show’ is a fair term to use here, but it’s certainly a compelling fight for a lot of reasons.

Let’s start off with Bobby Lashley. He’s probably going to be fighting at around 250 ~ 260 pounds and his opponent will be coming in at around 210 pounds. Automatically, Lashley will have a weight advantage and a strength advantage. Plus, he’s got an amateur wrestling background that will give Ken problems. If Ken can’t get control on the ground, then Lashley should be able to muscle him around. Even if this is Lashley’s second-ever MMA match, this will be a test for him. It could play out exactly like Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar did in UFC last year — Lesnar punished Mir until Mir submitted the big man. If Shamrock can take an onslaught of punishment from Lashley and have a referee who will allow the action to continue instead of choosing for an early stoppage, he has a chance of winning.

...

As for Ken Shamrock, facing Lashley is a good payday to start with. Plus, it’s an MMA rookie who has a big name and if Ken wins, then the casual fight fan will be impressed. Remember, the last image most fight fans have of Lashley is seeing him as a huge monster in WWE who beat up people. While the fight is set for the undercard of Roy Jones Jr.’s Pensacola PPV event and there’s less than three weeks left to market the event, at least this fight will be a YouTube moment and a fight that will get press coverage that the show otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.

Even if Shamrock loses to Lashley, you’ll watch a fight between Ken and Tank Abbott when it happens. Trust me. When that fight happens, they’ll draw at least 5,000 paid in Fresno or whatever California city is chosen. Therefore, there’s nothing much for Ken to lose by taking this fight against Bobby Lashley — and it will have great crowd heat.

You can make a strong case that the fight is utter horseshit from a sporting perspective, but Zach's cynical take is probably accurate. He's always keeping an eye focused on the crowd psychology through a pro-wrestling lens.

And as someone commented on Fightlinker recently, "pro-wrestling fans are often less mark-y than MMA fans." I think that's true. Other than a few 8 year olds and really old, dumb people, most wrestling fans are thoroughly in on the kayfabe these days.

Its us in the hardcore MMA community with our "MMA IS Sacred" stance that find ourselves often baffled and infuriated by the business decisions of the carny barkers and slimeball promoters who put their money behind the sport. The value of old pro-wrestling hands like Arnold and Dave Meltzer is the ability to see things from the perspective of the man in the ticket box instead of the fan of the sport. I'm not saying its right or wrong, just that its a good perspective to keep in mind.

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