Ken Shamrock is bringing back pitfighting, bare-knuckle style.
The UFC Hall of Famer wants to thrill the crowd by putting combatants in a pit when Valor Bare Knuckle holds its inaugural event on Sept. 21.
“You saw when it came to the cage when you saw UFC and no-holds barred era,” Shamrock told MMA Junkie. “It was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ I think our design will have that same effect.”
Shamrock declined to go into details about the design but said VIP fans will get an unobstructed view for the bare-knuckle boxing fights at 4 Bears Casino & Lodge in New Town, N.D.
Valor isn’t the first promotion to stage fights in a pit. In 2008, former UFC chief Bob Meyrowitz unveiled the YAMMA pit, which added a slope to the bottom of a standard cage. The design was intended to limit long bouts of stalling as fighters grappled on the canvas. YAMMA held one show before folding up shop.
Shamrock wants to make the crowd fall in love with the pureness of bare-knuckle boxing, which has grown in popularity after the success of Bare Knuckle FC.
Initially green-lighted by the Wyoming State Board of Mixed Martial Arts, Bare Knuckle FC’s first effort brought a surge of attention featuring several UFC vets sans gloves. Several other states then moved to allow the events, including Florida and North Dakota.
Shamrock, 55, said he’s not interested in competing despite reports of a possible matchup with fellow UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman. UFC vets Rameau Thierry Sokodjou, Jack May, Marc Godbeer and Estevan Payan are scheduled to compete.
Two of MMA’s biggest stars played to the cameras Friday, with UFC Hall of Famers Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell facing off in Las Vegas.
Shamrock and Liddell were in attendance at the Olympia Weekend Expo to help promote the launch of the LIMITLESS line of health and fitness products, and they took a moment to stand face-to-face, teasing a fight between two pioneers of the sport.
Shamrock, 55, made his debut for the UFC at the company’s inaugural event, famously losing to fellow MMA legend Royce Gracie in the semifinals of that night’s eight-man tournament in 1993.
Liddell, 49, came to the sport five years after Shamrock, debuting at UFC 17 in 1998. He would go on to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the history of the sport, registering four successful defenses of the UFC light heavyweight belt between 2005 and 2006, when the sport was just starting to emerge into mainstream awareness.