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Kimbo Slice wanted to fight Ken Shamrock to finally 'close that door’

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Chuck Mindenhall

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – On Thursday, it was announced that Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice would finally meet some six years after they were originally booked. Only, instead of fighting on CBS for EliteXC, they will meet June 20 in St. Louis for a free show on Spike TV for Bellator.

The times have changed, but the names are still the same.

And on Friday the Slice (real name Kevin Ferguson) and Shamrock sat in on an eight-minute press conference in the bowels of the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to discuss why it’s happening.

Particularly Shamrock, the MMA pioneer who is now 51 years old.

"I’ve been asked that quite a bit," he told the media ensemble. "I’ve heard people say he’s doing it for the money -- of course I am. I mean, that’s what we do. When you’re a professional, you fight for money, just as I have my whole life. But that’s not the only reason I’m doing it. I’m 51 years old -- or young, however you want to look at it -- and I’m enjoying life. I’m not fighting a 27-year-old No. 1-ranked opponent in the world. I’m taking fights that are interesting to me, ones that I think the fans would enjoy, and ones that I would definitely enjoy. And ones that I believe are marketable businesswise. So, if these things all line up, I’m in."

Shamrock last appeared in a professional MMA fight back in 2010, when he lost to Mike Bourke via TKO. Though he says it’s been a long time, he insisted he’s not some relic that’s being brushed off.

"Over the years I’ve been training and keeping myself in shape and staying fit," he said. "I think I’ve earned the right to be able to fight for fun. I think a lot of people have a hard time understanding that I don’t want to go fishing. I don’t want to go hunting. I like being in the room with a bunch of dudes getting ready for a fight -- training, building camaraderie, patting each other on the shoulder, preparing for a fight, walking into a ring, competing, winning, walking out and enjoying a good time together. To me that’s the best thing in life. I love that."

The fight is slated to take place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on June 20. Bellator president Scott Coker said that they would deal with the licensing and medicals per protocol, but first they were dealing with registration permit forms.

Slice, 41, didn’t speak a lot during the press conference, but did state that if the fight "makes sense, it makes dollars." He also explained that he was committed to more than just a single appearance in the Bellator cage.

"No, this is not one and done for me, bro," he said. "I’m here. I am here to fight anybody in the heavyweight division. I ain’t here to make friends or shake these guy’s hands."

He was supposed to fight Shamrock on Oct. 4, 2008, as part of the "Saturday Night Fights on CBS." Back then he was one of the most marketable MMA stars going, having become a YouTube sensation for fighting in back alley brawls in South Florida. However, the fight never happened. Shamrock got hurt after the weigh-ins, which left EliteXC frenzied state to find a replacement. It ended up being journeyman Seth Petruzelli, who was supposed to fight Aaron Rosa that night.

Petruzelli ruined the party by scoring a TKO victory over Slice, which, in effect, brought down the EliteXC promotion.

Asked if this fight with Shamrock was a resolution to that chapter in his career, Slice said that it was.

"That was one of the reasons I decided to come back," he said. "To close that door. To close that gap."