In Nov. 2014, Bellator MMA scored the biggest MMA audience on cable television that year with "Ortiz vs. Bonnar" at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California.
Even critics had to admit the familiar names and trash talking delivered big time in the ratings department ... even if the main event fell flat.
Bellator 131 averaged 1.8 million viewers and peaked at 2 million on Nov. 15, 2014. And in the coveted 18-34 and 18-49 male demographics, "Ortiz vs. Bonnar" eclipsed every MMA fight in 2014 other than UFC's "Henderson vs. Thomson" on FOX.
Bellator President Scott Coker believes Bellator 138: "Kimbo vs. Shamrock" will be even bigger.
"Tito Ortiz set the benchmark with the Bonnar fight and we'd like to beat that record. I think it could do it."
Speaking to The MMA Hour w/ Ariel Helwani, Coker explained the reason this fight, which is seven years in the making, makes sense and how neither man needs extra incentive to fight this Friday night (June 19, 2015) inside Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
"Here we are back so many years later putting that fight together. There's a circle of life here to this fight. And I'm excited to watch it. I'm telling you right now, there's some heat between these guys. These guys do not like each other."
For the skeptics who felt "Ortiz vs. Bonnar" was all talk, Coker says the heat between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock is real ... and so is this fight.
"I've been around a lot of fighters in my career. Usually they can talk the talk, they can have the little publicity scuffle or whatever. This is real. There was times where I was like 'These guys are gonna fight right now.'"
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