On Oct. 4, 2008, Slice was scheduled to headline EliteXC “Heat” against Ken Shamrock on CBS. When doctors refused to let Shamrock fight due to a last-minute cut, the promotion scrambled to find a replacement just hours before the event. Frank Shamrock, according to both him and Shaw (Pictured), offered to take the fight.
“Frank Shamrock pulled me in the back of a room, turned the music up and offered to work the fight against Kimbo Slice,” Shaw claimed on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show. “I almost threw up in my own stomach because I had thought for the past six months prior to that, that him and Cung Le had fixed their own fight, unbeknownst to me. Because I just can’t understand why Frank Shamrock didn’t go to the ground on Cung Le. I really don’t. I still don’t, until he said that, and then my stomach made me throw up in my own mouth. I’m like, ‘Frank, I don’t fix fights. I don’t do that.’”
However, Shamrock remembers the conversation differently.
“The whole thing’s goofy,” he responded. “I can tell you what I probably honestly said is, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll make him look like a million bucks.’ But I would have never [offered to work the bout]. That’s just silly.”
Asked to clarify what making Slice look like a million bucks would entail, Shamrock said it meant that he’d “kick the crap out of him with style.”
“I have never been approached to throw a fight, carry a fight. I’ve never participated in the carrying of a fight or the throwing of a fight,” Shamrock said. “… I love Kimbo, but at that level, I was going to come off the bench, off an all-night bender and kick his ass. It was beyond question. The skill set wasn’t even comparable.”
Shamrock explained that MMA is too dangerous to “carry” an opponent, or allow the foe to survive longer than he should or perhaps look better than he is. Shaw offered to take a lie detector test to back up his claim.
“He’s going to deny it,” Shaw said. “He’s going to swear at me. He’s going to do everything. I don’t care because I’m not going to try to ruin the guy. You’ve got a career. You’re not going anywhere. You’re a good announcer. … You tried to do what was best for the company because you had a piece of the company back then. He was a percentage owner.”
Shamrock acknowledged that he was, and still is, a shareholder in ProElite, EliteXC’s parent company. He said his offer to fight Slice was bigger than that, though.
“I’m here for the sport,” Shamrock said. “I’m here for the cause, and at that moment, the sport was in serious jeopardy. The CBS executives were basically saying, ‘If you don’t produce Kimbo, we’re all going home.’ And that was the end of ProElite. That was the end of that MMA movement. That was the end of everything we’d generated. No one else was raising their hand, so I raised my hand.”
Seth Petruzelli ended up getting the nod to fight Slice, the promotion’s best-known fighter, and beat him in 14 seconds. In an interview shortly after the win, Petruzelli said EliteXC had paid him to stand up with Slice and not take him down. EliteXC denied the allegation and Petruzelli soon backed away from his comment, but EliteXC folded within three weeks regardless.
In his “Rewind” interview, Shaw again denied that Petruzelli had been paid to stand. He explained that he was sharing the Shamrock story, though, because he was tired of keeping it to himself. Shamrock calmly reiterated that the claim has no basis in fact.
“Was I going to throw a fight and ruin my career? Hell no,” Shamrock said. “And my image and reputation? That’s retarded. Was I going to go out there and come off the bench and try to close a heck of a show with an amazing story and keep the ball rolling? Yeah.”
Shamrock also dismissed Shaw’s suspicion that he had worked the fight with Le. He pointed out that he had suffered a broken arm in the bout, which Le won when Shamrock couldn’t continue after 15 minutes.
“If I wanted to break my own arm, I guess I could have had it done that bad,” Shamrock said. “I was quite honest about the Cung Le thing. I was old. I was tired. I needed something to keep me excited about fighting. Standing up with Cung Le was that moment for me. I never thought I’d break my arm. I thought I’d knock him out in the third round.”
Listen to the full interview with Shaw and the full interview with Shamrock.