Since the announcement was made that Kimbo Slice would make his return to action on Oct. 4 in the third edition of the CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights series, fans and critics alike have been clamoring to find out whom his opponent would be.
It was decided earlier this week that Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall-of-Famer Ken Shamrock would fill those duties to step in and face the Internet sensation.
But the immediate question turned from the match-up between Kimbo and Shamrock to what did the embattled leader of the Lion's Den do to deserve a fight against Kimbo?
"I think I've paid my dues to be able to get in there and be able to have something thrown my way every now and then," said Shamrock during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio on Wednesday. "To those people that say that (I don't deserve the fight) those are short timers, and the ones that haven't really followed the career of MMA to know the guys that have been here a very long time and fighting when there was no money. To now get an opportunity to fight and make some money."
Shamrock puts it clearly on his experience and sacrifice as to why he was offered the opportunity to face Kimbo in such a high profile fight. A career that has spanned over 15 years in the sport and with that time he feels his body has helped him earn this fight.
"I've got a shoulder I had to replace, I've got a knee I had to replace, I've got a few broken bones in my feet and my hands," he commented. "A bunch of stitches and all of that is attributed to the time I've put into the UFC and the times I've put into MMA.
"Me and a bunch of others have stepped in and made it possible. We went through all the trials and tribulations of them trying to close it down, and calling us animals and fought for practically nothing at one time because we love the sport."
Among Shamrock's detractors about his placement in this fight is EliteXC heavyweight Brett Rogers, who has a history with Kimbo following his last fight in May. He had choice words for the former UFC champion because he was getting the fight that Rogers believed he deserved.
"Some guys in the fight world are saying that I stepped in front of them or this and that, and hey I didn't do nothing, but train and be a part of the history of the UFC, and the history of MMA and it got offered to me," said Shamrock very bluntly. "Tell me any jabroni that wouldn't take it if it got offered to them."
Shamrock also directly addressed the reason he is in this fight and not Rogers.
"To me it's ridiculous because when you've got people that are talking like that who don't know the source, don't know how things get started, they're just flapping their jaws. You have know idea why this fight happened," he commented. "This fight is happening because the organization needs a good fight, they need something to go out there and sell tickets and draw people in.
"And unfortunately, for [Rogers], he's not there yet. He will be someday, but he's not there right now. Fortunately for me, I've put in my dues. I've been in this for a very long time. I've sold my body to MMA, all of my body parts I've left in the ring. I think I deserve to get in there and get some redemption."