Frank Shamrock talks UFC Hall of Fame, fighting in Pride, Diaz/Silva, Jones/Cormier

On August 5, 2014 By

Frank Shamrock has always been one of the all-time greats in Mixed Martial Arts. He was a pioneer, and innovator, essentially had three careers, and according to the multiple time world champion, being left out of the UFC Hall of Fame won’t be giving him nightmares any time soon. “It’s not something I desire” says Shamrock.

Being a huge part of Scott Coker’s Strikeforce Frank understands that the UFC doesn’t like it when you oppose them, which is why Frank’s name is rarely if ever mentioned within the company, despite the great job he did as one of the company’s biggest athletes and figure heads. Thankfully, the Pancrase, Strikeforce, and UFC icon stops by to reflect on his legen………wait for it….DARY career that spans 15 years, and includes battles with a who’s who of MMA’s biggest stars, and legends.

Speaking of Shamrocks, and seeing as his brother Ken patched things up with UFC boss Dana White after his interview with Submission Radio, it’s optimistic to think that Frank might consider doing the same. “My relationship remains the same, which seems like we stand on two sides of the fence“ said Shamrock in regards to the UFC and Dana White. Perhaps it’s time to let bygones be bygones and give the fans what they want, which is Frank Shamrock’s name in the UFC record books, with the title “Hall of Famer” next to it ( anyone?). As Frank told Submission Radio, “I would hope that someone who worked so hard for the sport would be recognized for it, and I hope in the future, people that work so hard for the sport get recognized for it”. And much like the case for his partner in crime Randy Couture, from his new Spike TV show “Gym Rescue” we hope so too.

Check out the interview highlights below, as Frank talks about his career, Pancrase, Pride FC, his fights in Strikeforce, Scott Coker being in Bellator, the Diaz/Silva fight, the Jones/Cormier fight, and picking up chicks in Japan.

On Scott Coker arriving to Bellator

“Well first off, I think it’s great for the brand that Scott took over. And you know, not that Bjorn didn’t have a great Idea and wasn’t going down a great course, but I think getting trapped in that tournament you know sort of trapped them from creating stars, and the sport’s about stars”
“If you get a guy who, you know turns it on, and wins the crowd and loses, you know that’s just part of the story. He shouldn’t be penalized and have to go back through and fight X,Y, and Z. You know, a guy that wins the crowd, it’s like the gladiator days, if you win the crowd, you know you get to go to the next level. And I think that’s what good promotion in entertainment is about. The tournament kind of locked talent into that, and for me it was always about the story.”

Thoughts on his fight with Cung Le and if there’s anything Frank regrets about his game plan

“Well I definitely wouldn’t have stood up and did the one arm crazy block that got my arm broken. But yeah I was in a weird position because I was the main event, I was the spokesman, you know I was kind of all things at that time. So when it came time to writing what the story should be, you know with CBS in the front row, I did what I knew would be the most exciting and entertaining. And honestly, I just never thought my arm would break. But my coach told me, Maurice Smith was like ‘you’re gonna break your arm’, and I’m like ‘no one’s ever gonna break my arm, what’s wrong with you’. So that was one of my lessons in Martial Arts, where I was like ‘wow I’m literally not invincible’. Because my plan was to stand up with him, exhaust him in my stand up, and then knock him out, you know at his game. And I felt like everything was there for me to do that in that moment, until my arm broke. And then I felt like I need morphine, I need to lay down.”

“I did what I knew would be the most exciting and entertaining. And honestly, I just never thought my arm would break”

(Frank comes on at the [1:07:21] mark)

On Fighting Nick Diaz and realizing that it was time to retire from the sport of MMA

“Fighting Nick Diaz, I knew it was time. It was a risk, it was time. I knew that I needed to fight somebody very relevant, I knew Showtime needed a huge event. It was one of those other moments where I was like ‘ah, I gotta go to the next level here’. But my body just wouldn’t keep pace, and every time I tried to floor it, and every time I tried really, really hard, things where just popping and breaking, and I went into the fight broken. And then after the fight, it was just, you know this fight was the only time where I turned the switch and nothing happened. It’s the only time ever, no matter how broken or jacked up (I was), where I went ‘oh here we go!’ and nothing happened. And I thought it was a fluke, so I went back, I restrengthened everything and I tried again, and my body just wouldn’t hold up, and that’s when I knew, it’s like wow the car’s broken, you know it’s time to park it. It’s time to find a nice garage and push it in there.”

On how difficult it was for Frank to walk away

“Probably or most definitely the hardest thing in the world. Just because I know on a good day my body will do all kinds of stuff. You know I can watch fighting and tell you what’s gonna happen and who’s gonna win. You know, just my body wore out and I can keep pushing it, but it’s not worth it anymore. You know I got a little 6 year old daughter my little girl, and I remember the day that I couldn’t pick her up because of my back, and my knee, and my shoulder. And I was like ‘wait a minute, this is not how I want to remember her childhood or my life at this point’, you know it’s time to stop. I can keep going, but what’s the value and what’s it going to bring to my life?”
“I had a good career, I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish, and you know, I’m good.”

On wanting to potentially fight Anderson Silva

“Totally. I thought that I’d fight ’till I was 45. And I remember Anderson Silva who was a young man when I was a young man. You know, (he) was around the game, was learning, was studying. I remember him as the soft spoken Muay Thai guy. To see his development and to see his progress in MMA, I always knew, it’s like Martial Arts. The guys who keep studying will eventually be the guys at the front going ‘check this out’.”
“I always knew that eventually these guys would come back around and I’d be in line to face him (Anderson), Vitor, you know, all those guys. But I also knew my back has been jacked since I was 16. You know, when I was 16 my leg went numb and the doctors where like ‘you need surgery, you’re never gonna play sports, and you’re gonna be a patient for the rest of your life’. And I was like ‘no way, I wanna be a world champion’. So I’ve had this injury, this progressive problem that I knew was going to catch up to me. And unfortunately it caught up to me in my third phase of my career, when I was swinging against (Nick) Diaz.”

On the fight that Frank Shamrock wished he had

“I wish I closed the deal with CBS to fight Ken Shamrock, my brother. Because that would have been the biggest fight of all time.”

Frank Shamrock on Diaz vs Silva fight

“I’m super excited about the Silva fight. I think they’re both at the time in their career where only the biggest, you know moments matter, like that was in like the last 10 years of my career. This fight needed to happen and I’m super excited about it.”
“The problem with that fight is Diaz’s takedowns aren’t like impacting strong. You know he’s like grab, and turn angle, but it’s not like rip you down and take you down. And Silva’s a guy you’ve gotta blast through with a strong take down. So my concern with that fight is that as it progresses, the length, the confidence of Silva is gonna damage Diaz, and the inability to take him down is gonna damage him more, and I don’t think Diaz is gonna come out winning that fight.”

On who wins between Jones and Cormier

“I honestly think that Daniel Cormier is probably the most well trained wrestler/boxer, you know sort of MMA fighter in this era, and I don’t think Jon Jones is gonna get away from him or be able to knock him out. So you know, I think while Jones is probably 2 or 3 times the athlete, you know the rules of MMA dictate (that) if you’re on top and your punching first, you know if you cut the angle, you’re doing the damage, and I just think Cormier’s gonna do all the damage.”

On if Frank would have chosen to go fight in the UFC if he knew he had such a short amount of time left on his career

“By the time Strikeforce had come along, that was already a whole other kind of a third career for me. I was already retired twice and I didn’t expect that, you know the whole Strikeforce thing was totally unexpected. And I went for as long as I could, and I had the time of my life, and I was in so many roles there, that it wasn’t just about becoming the Strikeforce world champion or the Middle Weight World Champion, it was about getting on Network television and competing against the UFC and so many other things. And I was so deeply tied to the cause of Mixed Martial Arts and competition to the UFC in an open market place, so I was just blessed to have that third career. I never cared, I never anticipated it, I was golfing, I was like ‘I’m never gonna fight again’. And Scott was like ‘no dude we gotta, there’s a shot here and you should, you know go back to work.”

On if Drugs in MMA are getting worse, or have always been bad, but nobody ever tested properly

“I think they’re getting worse, because the culture is so and has been so relaxed about it and so, you know more of ‘find a solution’ (rather) than ‘stop problem’. So I think their getting worse”

On being inducted in the UFC Hall of fame and on Frank’s relationship with Dana

“My relationship remains the same, which seems like we stand on two sides of the fence. But you know, I’m not opposed to being in the Hall of Fame, it just is what it is, you know. I organically, you know, because of my star power and because of ability to do business, I organically started a competition. And it just put myself, my brand, and my company at odds with the UFC, and they take it very personal when you stand against them. You know to me, I’m just very blessed to be successful in business, I had a successful fighting career, I’ve been able to turn that into Television, and you know I feel very blessed that I’m able to provide for my family through Martial Arts. And you know I made some enemies along the way, but I stood for what I believed in and you know, I didn’t compromise.”

“It’s not something that I desire. I mean, I’m in the black belt hall of fame, I’m in the American martial arts hall of fame, I’m in the Guinness World records for my accolades, I’ve spoken to the Senate. You know for me it was about this personal journey, and you know if the UFC wants to recognise it that’s great, if they don’t, that’s great. It’s not really my business, it’s not really my company, so there’s nothing I can do about it. But I would hope that someone who worked so hard for the sport would be recognized for it, and I hope in the future, people that work so hard for the sport get recognized for it.”

On fighting Bas Rutten in his First MMA fight in his career

“It was just crazy because I didn’t know Bas was that good, and nobody had really explained that to me. And, you know I only trained for about 6 months before I went to Japan, and I was told ‘yeah your gonna fight Bas and that’s in three weeks’, and so the whole thing really kinda came on me quickly and I didn’t really even get it, until half way through the fight.”

On second fight against Bas

“Unlike the first time where I was super hungry and focused and had great vascular condition, second time around I really felt like I had Bas figured out. So I was like, I don’t really need to train that hard, you know. I just need to do X,Y and Z. So the problem with that was, he came even more prepared after the first fight where I beat him. So after about 5 minutes I got tired and I ran out of strategies, and I was literally going through my list of strategies, and I just remember Bas being very vocal and being very sensitive about things said in the ring, and actions, and all kinds of stuff, and for whatever reason right at that moment I was like ‘wow I have no way to win this, but if I could get him to foul me, or hit me, or lose his temper, I bet you I can get a point and I can ride this thing out’. And so that was my strategy, I tried to get him as mad as possible, and I mocked him and stuck my tongue at him. I can’t remember the stuff I was telling him, but eventually he just balled up his fist and just ploughed me in the face. And that was my – and we were half way through the fight – and that was my strategy. I was gonna hang on, and you know, bob and weave, and dance, and move, and hopefully not get hurt, and get out of that fight with a point”

On crazy fan experiences and stories from his time in Japan

“You know I didn’t get it for the first couple of years, but after a while I was hanging out with one of the old time pro wrestler guys, and a one of the beautiful Japanese women had come up and presented her card, and I go ‘oh nice to meet you’ and I took her card, and he goes ‘hey let me see that card’. And I show it to him and he said ‘that’s a personal card’. He goes ‘call that number’. And I go why? He goes ‘she’s probably waiting around the corner for you’. I go ‘no she’s not’. I called the number, she’s like ‘Hi! Yes I’m around the corner’ and I’m like ‘oh my goodness!’. So just like totally different mindset and experience over there with women and sexuality, and that to me was, you know I’m from a country town so I was pretty blown away by the openness of it all.”

“I tried to get him as mad as possible, and I mocked him and stuck my tongue at him. I can’t remember the stuff I was telling him, but eventually he just balled up his fist and just ploughed me in the face”

On why Frank never fought in Pride

“Yeah I had a contract on the table with Pride to fight (Kazushi) Sakuraba, and it went back and forth for years. And you know at the time I was the top guy in the world, and he was the top guy in the world, and I thought for sure that it was gonna happen, but yeah it didn’t. That was my one experience with Pride, and it was right when they were trying to get into the US and really make some expansion moves. My focus was to fight Sakuraba, and pretty much anyone else that came along. But the deal breaker was, they wanted me to fight anybody within 15 days, within 15 pounds of my weight class. I was like ‘well that doesn’t sound good’. In 15 days I gotta make a movie, that doesn’t work out for, you know like real planning and stuff, but it eventually fell apart because of that.”

On being in the UFC before the big MMA boom

“Well it was pretty amazing because it was still like that you know, wild west of the UFC time, where we would go around peaking at outfits, and you know, looking at guy’s black belt rankings, and trying to figure out like what his skill sets would be, and it was just really primitive knowledge about what the opponent knew or what the group knew. So that part of it was scary, but to be involved in the development of that, and to see it come along, it was pretty amazing and I mean, we were in fair grounds. They’d have hockey the night before and we’d be rolling out the next night, and there’d be water on the ground and stuff. Like it was really kind of a grass roots. You had to love it to kinda be there thing.”

On what the Tito Ortiz fight meant to Frank

“It was really just the culmination of myself as an athlete, you know when I was young, (it was) sort of the first generation of Frank. And you know, I learnt about my brand, and what I needed to do in the future, and I was a young guy, I’d spent most of my time incarcerated and in trouble with the law, so I just didn’t know any of this stuff. But by the time I fought Tito I had a good entertainment lawyer, and I was a member of ‘SAG’, the screen actors guild. So I had all these avenues to sort of, you know, go to the next level. And yeah, I totally had this plan, I was gonna fight Tito, I was gonna retire and get out of my contract, I was gonna move to Hollywood and be like a movie star, and I had just a whole crazy plan in mind, and I just trained my butt off. You know, fighting Tito at that time, he was like 225, maybe 228, and I was probably 191 pounds. So I knew hanging out with him, and wrestling with him a few times, and sparring with him that he was just the next size guy, and I’d have to really become that super athlete that night. And that was the night where I just sort of put everything together, and I was able to, you know become a super athlete in a sport where super athletes hadn’t arrived yet.”

Frank’s game plan of tiring Tito out and taking punishment for 4 rounds

“I knew if I could bob and weave and you know, run the horse for 20 minutes, the horse would crash and then I could do what I wanted. But yeah, he cut me in the third round real good, like sixteen stitches in my head. And if he could’ve got to that more – and he stuck his fingers in. He even pulled it apart at one point – he could’ve gotten to that more, and gotten me to bleed more, and it went to the judges’ scorecards or they stopped it and made their decisions, I was losing on every scorecard. Because my game was to have him beat on me and move around so he was totally exhausted, and then turn it on him and try and knock him out.”

Thoughts on Tito Ortiz still fighting

“I don’t know how he’s still going, you know. Because at 40 everything starts to fall apart, but he seems to have found a new leg of longevity. He obviously loves what he’s doing and totally inspires him, you know much like it did when he was a kid, so I don’t know. Some people get a late push in life, especially in their career. He seems to have gotten one of those and he seems to be invigorated by it. He looked terrible the last few years, but hey if he keeps winning, that’s the thing is, if you’re winning and you’re building something, or you’re building a bigger vision that’s important, then you should keep fighting. If you’re getting your butt kicked and you’re destroying your brand, or your body, or your brain, then it’s time to hang it up. And I just don’t know where he’s at on that.”

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