Read Ken Shamrock’s Open Letter to Royce Gracie

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In case you don’t remember the bizarre third match between two UFC hall-of-famers at Bellator 149, it ended shortly after the first round started when Royce Gracie threw a knee that struck Ken Shamrock in the abdomen (or groin, depending on who you ask), followed by a knee to the head, a takedown, and TKO via hammerfists.

It was peculiar that Ken didn’t seem to react to the first knee, but the referee didn’t intervene and call the foul… so Royce fought on. Immediately after fight was called, Ken started shouting—claiming that he had indeed been hit below the belt, and that Royce, “did it on purpose!” He later apologized for his anger, saying it was not Royce’s fault for continuing, but the fault of the ref for failing to identify the foul.

In an impromptu “Gracie Breakdown,” Royce’s nephew Rener and Lyoto Machida acknowledged the groin strike, but blamed the controversial ending on Ken’s late reaction.

A couple days later, Rener, this time with his brother-in-online-belt-promotions, Ryron, published another Gracie Breakdown—this time taking the stand that the knee did not strike the groin at all, and that the fight was just another classic case of Helio Gracie’s perfect self-defense system.

After watching the fight over and over again, we are still uncertain who to believe. In any case, it wasn’t Royce’s job to stop fighting unless the sole arbiter of the bout, the referee, told him to. We saw a similar situation occur last weekend when Michael Bisping started to argue with the ref about replacing his mouthpiece, and got kneed in the face by Anderson Silva.

Regardless, Ken Shamrock is still on the “I got hit in the balls” warpath, and has released an official “open letter” on his website earlier today, pleading for Royce Gracie to consider a redo of their last contest.

Read the entire thing below, and let us know what you think Royce should do:


Royce, you are an icon in the sport of NHB and a role model and hero to people around the globe. Your legacy and the legacy of your family and its training is important to you.

As you know, our last (Trilogy) fight ended in a wrong manner that is unsettling to both me and our fans from around the world--and hopefully to you too. Due to the obvious missed illegal foul, I have challenged the outcome of our bout and I’m confident that the commission will render a ‘No Decision’ nullifying the result of our last fight.

Controversy has plagued our past fights and it’s important to how history will be written that we do not allow the wrong of a missed foul to go unchecked. It is crucially important that you and I redo our trilogy fight for the sake of our legacies and the many fans who are left dissatisfied.

In 1993, we had a similar situation where you caught me with a choke which caused me to tap. You let go, but the ref did not see the tap and told us to “fight.” You yelled at me “you tapped!” I remember how badly I wanted to say ‘no’ but I could not bring myself to lie. In my heart, I thought of my children and other children I had been mentoring at the time. I could only tell the ref “yes, I tapped.” I remembered how badly I wanted the fight to continue on, but in the end-- telling the truth was the right thing to do and that’s what I did. At our recent fight, you chose to not extend common courtesy for your low-blow and give me my time to recoup. You fought on with no regard that I had stopped fighting you back.

In delivering you this message, my greatest hope is to help you see that a failure to step up and do the right thing will not play out well, going into the future, for your image or the legacy of your father’s training.

This trilogy fight was a fight between two legends and we went in to settle things once and for all. Not only did that not happen, it’s now worse off than before. Today, there is unresolved like never before and that is not right. To fix this correctly, we must redo our fight.

I am asking that you do not walk away from this great opportunity to give back to this great event and our awesome fans. You and I need to finish our business so we both can walk away (win or lose) with our heads held high and in respect for all that we have been able to accomplish in doing our part in helping build this great sport. Please, do not leave your legacy to this ugly situation caused by this controversy. It’s not right to leave a fight of this magnitude unresolved for all. I trust you will make the right decision and publically agree to fight me.

Scott Coker will do this fight if you and I both say yes to finish things the right way. I am saying yes. Let’s finish this once and for all.


Ken Shamrock


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