Over 2.1 million people tuned in to the nostalgia tour last Summer to watch 51 year old UFC Hall of Famer, Ken Shamrock fight back to relevance against 42 year old Kimbo Slice. Regardless of who won the bout (it was ultimately Slice who won) it's that 2.1 million that equals dollar signs and as long as there's an audience, there's money to be had.
That could mean that we could be seeing many more "legend fights" in the future and Shamrock is behind it all the way:
"I've been talking about this for a long time. A legends division, because the fans want to still see those guys. It was unique. It's different now because everybody does the same thing, but there were those 10 years of MMA that just were very unique, and the fans locked on to them."
It's the "historical factor" that creates nostalgia for fans and it's this nostalgia that gets people to tune in, but is it a good idea? It's one thing to see fit 20 years olds knock each other around round after round, but to watch two middle aged men go at it could provide a much "darker" experience. To put it simply, no one really wants to see their dad in a fight, never mind the pure health risk. Blunt force trauma is rough for the 20 year olds, so imagine what it can do on a 40 or 50 year old? Why would anyone want that? Especially when it's mostly for bragging rights as "the legend."
Shamrock assures that it's more for the love of the sport than anything else:
"Why wouldn't you do what you love doing? You put the time in. The fans still follow you. You still are a draw. Find another guy who is still in shape, who's around you and has some credibility that you can fight, and put it on. Because I'm telling you, the fans want to see those fights."
Although, Shamrock isn't against making a little money to pad his love:
"For me, to see these guys come out and continue to fight, and be able to dip in to some of the things that are happening today, with the money that's being made for some of these fighters -- not anything like they should be making, but they're making some money now. More than we were doing at the time. And so to see these guys come out and actually get a piece of that pie, it makes me happy for them. They deserve it."
For now, they have the numbers, but how long will fans stick around to watch "old guys" knock each other around for a couple of minutes. It's just not as exciting as it is to watch the younger guys and nostalgia only gets you so far.
Just ask the ATP Champions Tour, which has been around since the 90's. Sure, it's fun to see Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe go at it like the "olden days" but eventually they start limping around the court and that's when it becomes... well...