Bellator 138 Surprises at Scottrade Center in Unexpected Fashion

*Written on location- Scottrade Center, St. Louis MO

Red, white, and blue lights illuminated the Bellator MMA cage in front of a crowd of thousands this past Friday night as finally, YEARS of smack-talk came to an end. The legendary submission specialist, Ken Shamrock and former street brawler, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson finished their business; shocking many fans in the process.

As if nature itself knew what was in the near future, the events of fight week were plagued by stormy weather in much the same way Shamrock was plagued by allegations of intentionally throwing his original 2008 bout against Slice. He suffered a cut to his left eye just mere hours before the contest, taking him out of the fight per the ruling of the officiating state athletic commission. Slice was forced to face a fill-in, losing to Seth Petruzelli by way of knockout-- fourteen seconds into the first round. Some seven years later, Slice looked to put his hunger for a Shamrock victory to rest. Shamrock looked to silence all opinions by making it a fact that he was not just better for one night, but inarguably better than his adversary. Unfortunately for Shamrock, that didn’t happen. When the cage door finally shut, Shamrock’s mission was clear: to go for the takedown, work the ground game, and “break Kimbo’s legs” like he had promised in promo videos so that he “would never step in a ring again”. As was expected by many, when the fight did go to the ground, Slice didn’t really have a plan of attack, and appeared to have gotten caught in a vicious rear-naked choke, but it was his submission defense that helped him the most. In a post fight interview with Slice, veteran Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith said, “You didn’t even raise your arm to tap…” The response? “Tapping wasn’t an option.” After forcing his way back to standing action, Slice got world-renowned referee John McCarthy to call an end to the bout at 2:22 of Round 1, making him the winner by way of technical knockout. With the way the super-fight played out, UFC commentator Joe Rogan and many fans suspect a fixed bout. Despite what some may think about all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the main event, including right up to entry in the cage (USA Today’s labeled the showdown as “a trainwreck we couldn’t walk away from"), writer Ben Fowlkes has a point: fans were entertained. Moreover, the drawing power of big names helped to showcase the promotion’s homegrown talent--that's what I was happiest with. High Ridge, MO native, “Iron” Michael Chandler started the night off with big fireworks thanks to a seemingly flawless rear-naked choke of his own. Former O’Fallon, MO resident and WWE alumn Bobby Lashley (3-0 in Bellator, 13-2 overall) left Dan Charles curled in a ball next to the cage fence with his TKO win. Oh and did I forget to mention the only champion defending his belt on the card? Take a look at the near loss and comeback finish by Patricio “Pitbull” Freire for yourself here.

In my opinion, Bellator can label St. Louis as “mission accomplished” because it is a fact that they made local (and national) MMA history with their debut in the gateway to the Midwest.