Mike Shipman Addresses Borderline Illegal Knee at Bellator Paris

Paris, France — Longtime Bellator MMA vet Mike Shipman returned to the new-look, PFL-owned promotion at Bellator Paris, coming away with a TKO victory over Steven Hill.

The win did not come without its share of controversy, after Shipman (16-4) landed a borderline illegal knee in the opening round. Hill was on the way up, and replays showed the strike was very close to being a foul. When Hill was unable to answer the bell to start round two, the fight was waved off, with Shipman announced as the winner.

Even Mike Shipman himself, however, admitted that the knee was a close call.

“I’d feel pretty bad if he was down when I threw it. It’s one of those things, it’s very very fine margins. Because he was on the way up; if you leave it too long, he’s guarded again, you lose the opportunity,” Shipman explained following the fight, speaking with media outlets including Cageside Press. “I thought his knee was coming up.”

“It was a close call, but hopefully it wasn’t too bad, it wasn’t too egregious,” Shipman added. “Otherwise, I feel good.”

Asked whether he was in favor of knees to grounded opponents being legal, as they are in RIZIN and ONE Championship, Shipman clarified that he was, but that he’d accept any ruleset he’s required to fight under.

“I feel that the ruleset I’m fighting to is the ruleset that I’m fighting too. So it’s my responsibility that I follow the ruleset. I may have fallen short, it was a close call,” he stated. “In general, yeah, I’m in favor of kneeing. I don’t see the problem with kneeing a grounded opponent. I think it opens up those opportunities, especially for wrestlers to become more prolific finishers if they can throw from a front headlock when someone’s grounded. It completely changes the ground n’ pound game.”

Shipman also questioned the belief that knees to a grounded opponent are more dangerous than those landed from other positions.

“I don’t feel it necessarily introduces any element of danger. You’re still allowed to knee people, elbow them in the face anyway, why not knee them when they’re grounded, provided it’s not to the back of the head, it’s a safe shot? But that’s not in defense of, if that was a foul. The ruleset is the ruleset, but as you can see, I’m all for it.”

Watch the full Bellator Paris post-fight media scrum with Mike Shipman above.