When the possibility of a match between Cung Le vs. Frank Shamrock began to be floated in early 2007 (and really, the two were talked about as possibly fighting each other long before that), my initial reaction was that Shamrock would tear through Le. The thing was, I was only looking at things on the surface and did not analyze things thoroughly.
To me, it was simple: Le is inexperienced in MMA and his ground game was unproven. There’s no way he could beat a well-rounded threat such as Frank Shamrock.
But I’ve done a 180 since then and I think this is Cung Le’s fight to lose. He’s a dangerous opponent and his athleticism is going to cause Shamrock problems. Le, despite being the slightly older fighter, is simply faster, quicker, stronger, and more dynamic than Shamrock.
The biggest problem in this fight could be Frank Shamrock’s ego. He rubs a lot of people the wrong way but I understand what he’s about. Some fighters say their job is only to fight and it’s the job of the promoter to promote their fight. It’s hard to argue with that line of thinking. If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t want to have to be distracted by a bunch of business-related drama.
That being said, pro athletes have a limited shelf life when it comes to peak earning potential. An average Joe like you and I in most cases can do what we do until it’s time to legally retire. But unless an athlete makes a ton of money, they have to find a new occupation after their athletic peak is over. Shamrock understands that by trying to be promoter in addition to fighter he can maximize his earning potential. I think more fighters should take Frank’s lead. It’s not right that they have to try and sell their own fights, but trying to be more than just a fighter is in their financial best interest.