“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson
There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help dogs, but for all of my efforts I must admit that I have found somebody whose devotion to man’s best friend makes mine look inadequate.
His name is Gordon “Shotgun” Shell.
Shell is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from Detroit who was forced into early retirement in 2010 due to a heart condition.
Now he fights a different battle – he has waged war on dog fighting.
Dog fighting is an abhorrent activity that is much more common than many people know.
Here are just a few statistics about it:
- Over a thousand arrests were made for dog fighting in the U.S. between 2003 and 2008
- An estimated 40,000 individuals are involved in professional dog fighting in the U.S.
- While exact amounts are hard to pin point, a top bet in a professional dog fight can go up to $100,000
- Dog fighting is a felony offense in all 50 states
The most publicized case involving dog fighting was that of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who, along with three of his associates, was convicted on federal and state charges related to illegal dog fighting.
Vick has yet to respond to the challenge.
Shell has left the offer open in case Vick changes his mind, but in the meantime he has decided to continue fighting for the cause.
Despite his heart condition, Shell stepped into the ring one more time to raise money and awareness. His story was chronicled by film maker Douglas Schulze in a pay-per-view film called (appropriately) The Dog Fighter.
Every three months new shelters and rescues will be selected to receive a generous portion of the revenue generated from the film’s release.
You can watch the film for $5 by clicking this link – and in my opinion it is $5 that is extremely well-spent.
Gordon’s passion and dedication has quickly made his name synonymous with dog advocacy. I first heard about the project a few months ago on facebook – and have followed it very closely. The support continues to grow, it is truly inspiring.
Now, I am proud to bring you this interview with the man himself…Gordon “Shotgun” Shell – dog’s best friend.
Tim Baker – Can you give us a brief history of your fighting career?
Gordon Shell – I started in formal martial arts (isshynru) in 1992, I fought in weekend tournaments and began fighting in no holds barred fights around 1995 (this was the early days before the UFC). My cage fight record since that time is 13-1 with my one loss coming at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2010 for the IFL
TB – When did you first become interested in the dog fighting problem? What brought it to your attention?
GS – I have always been an advocate and have done on and off volunteer work with different groups since the mid 90’s when I adopted my first dog, Samantha (German Shepard). The Dog Fighting portion really caught my attention with the Vick story and I have wanted to make a difference since the story broke.
TB – You made quite an impact with your “Fight Me Mike Vick” campaign…did you ever get a reply from Vick or his representatives?
GS – My initial invite to him was thru emails to every manager, agent, PR person, Vick email etc. I received a Cease and Desist notice via a time delete email from someone that claimed to be his attorney. The email auto-deleted after I read it, I’m sure this was done so I would not run to the press with it. Earlier this year Vick’s agent was questioned by the Huffington post about my offer. He replied with “Mike is concentrating on the Denver game and has no time to think about this fight.” Vick lost to Denver 54-20 J. Vick is aware of who I am and my campaign, but is careful not to reply.
TB – How difficult was the decision to go into the ring one more time “for the dogs” even though the doctors advised against it?
GS – I really wasn’t as concerned about the doctors as I was my wife’s concerns. She supported me in my efforts, but feared the training I was going through. During the training for the last fight I tore the meniscus in both knees, sprained and fractured both ankles, broke my ribs, broke my nose, right orbital cracked, detached bicep, torn tendons in my toes on my right foot, torn oblique and a mini stroke.
TB – Would you consider more fights in the future?
GS – The only fight I will accept is Mike Vick for charity in a large venue. My heart is healthy and I am cleared to fight again. I would also accept DMX as he is also a known dog fighter.
TB –Now that the film has been made, what other plans do you have to keep this issue alive?
GS – I continue to make appearances across the country educating on animal abuse. I am going to appear beside Comedian Rebecca Corry for the Million Pibble March on the Whitehouse in May 2014. I am also signed to star in a film starting in 2014 called Conversations With A Pit Bull by LA director Foster Corder. I have been approached by 2 different studios regarding a reality show based on what I do and I continue to sell the Fight ME Mike Vick shirts to support my efforts. I have spoken, and will continue to speak, at schools across Michigan and possibly the US about dog fighting. I am one of the administrators on the FB page The Anti-Dogfighting Campaign as well as the Barking Army reaching close to 300,000 followers between the two. I will continue to keep my offer open to Vick until we get a formal response or acceptance.
TB – Whose idea was it to make “The Dog Fighter”?
GS – The Idea was a mutual one between Douglas Shulze and myself. I approached Doug to make a highlight film on me for my last fight. After hearing about all the other drama surrounding this fight (heart, dogs, wife, age) Doug said “There’s more drama in your story than all the Rocky movies put together. I want to make this a feature film.” I agreed and the project was born. The movie actually started with a script, written by Douglas, after one day with me Doug scrapped the script and just decided to film everything that was happening around me and the fight. The film is 100% accurate except for the part about my opponent’s support of dog fighting. Mike Guindon is a great guy and has rescue dogs, we asked him to take that stance to add to the excitement of the fight.
TB – Short of eradicating dog fighting altogether, what is the one thing you hope this film accomplishes?
GS – Awareness about the issue. Many people do not know, or believe, that dog fighting happens in their cities and states. We hope to change the Breed Specific Laws (BSL) so that real families can own these dogs and they are not exclusive to the bad guys as status symbols and/or fighters. I am also hoping to show the huge differences between MMA fights and Dog fights. A lot of ignorant people, including Senator Steven King, think they are the same and think dog fighting is okay.
TB – Were you surprised at how your campaign has grown?
GS – Yes and No. I knew that there were millions of animal advocates, and I knew they would support my efforts, but I am pleasantly surprised and sometimes baffled on the celebrity status I have been given. I have been recognized in airports, malls, restaurants, etc. and people want my picture and autograph. I have been invited to major events with A-list celebs, I have received twitter and FB messages from Chael Sonnen, Frank Trigg, Sylvester Stallone, I have spent phone time with Pat Millitech, been asked by Mark Coleman for a spot in the sequal and trained with Ken Shamrock in the film. I recently appeared on the Red Carpet with Moby, Rebecca Cory, Kaley Cuoco, Whitly Cummings, Bill Burr, Cheri Oterry, Moon Zappa. The Barbi Twins (Playboy, and animal advocates) and Ken Wahl (TV Star of Wiseguy) have both written me and continue to retweet about me. I love every minute of it and look forward to doing more in the entertainment industry with films and/or shows that will support my efforts.
TB – How can people donate to the campaign?
GS – Donations for my direct efforts can be sent via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org, those funds are used for travel costs to educate, vet bills for dogs I work with or dogs I donate to via FB, equipment in my fight against dog fighting (such as bullet-proof vests), equipment and hopefully one day a transport vehicle for the dogs.
Donations for the film efforts can be made in care of:
The Dog Fighter Movie LLC
MPI Studios 2040 Crooks Rd., Ste. B
Troy, Michigan 48084
These funds will be used for our 2014 theater tour with the film and myself as well as a possible follow-up film or TV show.
TB – Thank you very much, not only for this interview, but for your efforts on behalf of dogs. Any final thoughts?
GS – Just hoping to get more followers at Facebook-Gordon Shell (personal page), The Dog Fighter Movie, Gordon Shotgun Shell (fan page), Gordon Shell Vs. Michael Vick Fight for the Dogs (Fan Page), Twitter @gordonshell and Instagram @gshell661.
Thanks to everyone for their amazing support, please watch the film on www.vimeo.com or soon to be released on Amazon and Itunes.
I can’t thank Gordon enough for taking time from his incredibly busy schedule to grant me this interview.
Please share, ReTweet or ReBlog this interview and help spread the word – and PLEASE watch the film.
“A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he’s on the level.”
As always – thank you for reading