There are very few men that could possibly be considered legends in the very young sport of mixed martial arts but I have a very good feeling that when it is all said and done, and the dust has had a chance to settle and reveal that MMA is no more of a fad sport than boxing, baseball and even football were in their toddler days, that Ken Shamrock will be looked upon, along with Royce Gracie and a few others, as a true pioneer and legend of the sport.
Just take a look at the resume. Shamrock was the first ever Pancrase world heavyweight champion. He was the first UFC Superfight heavyweight champion, a four time UFC champion and was one of the very first men to be inducted into the coveted UFC hall of fame.
In an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Shamrock was extremely spirited in letting us know that he will quit fighting when he’s good and ready. He’s not trying to prove that he’s the best fighter in the world right now. Shamrock makes no bones about it, he just wants to have some fun at this point in his career, and to the forty five year old founder of the Lion’s Den, having a little fun involves a good scrap.
Even Shamrock knows that he can’t punch people in the face for a living forever and his most recent business endeavor with Wargods promotions may very well be the future of Ken Shamrock. On February, Friday the 13th, Ken Shamrock Productions will be teaming up with Wargods to present their very first event together at the Valentine’s Eve Massacre.
According to Shamrock, the relationship between the two production companies was a match made in MMA heaven.
“Well, we were looking for someone to help us out because there’s a lot of work to do with promotions,” explained Shamrock. “We were looking around for who would be the best fit and Wargods was near us. I had a couple guys that have fought on their show and I really liked how they did things.”
“I sat down and talked with them and I really liked their idea to start small and build their program up because that’s the way that we want to do it. I thought we both basically thought the same way and I thought that it would be a good marriage.”
Shamrock knows that it’s not wise to bite off more than you can chew in the early goings of building your own promotion so he’s starting things out slowly, but if he has it his way the promotion will become increasingly more busy, as far as putting on shows, as time goes on.
“Well right now we’re looking at putting on four events in 2009 but we would like to be doing about eight or ten,” said Shamrock. “We want to get some great fights going. We want to put together some good fights that people wouldn’t normally get to see. We want to be different and we want to put together fights that the fans want to see. That’s what we want to do in 2009 and hopefully we do a good job and get it done and we can keep doing it.”
Make no mistake about it, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” has no plans of putting the UFC out of business anytime soon, or even competing with the super organization. He just wants to put on some good fights that leave the crowd entertained, that’s all.
“All I’m doing is, I’m trying to run a promotion and I’m trying to get the fans to come and watch some good fights,” said Shamrock. “I’m trying to put together some fights that I would enjoy and that the fans will probably enjoy too. I’m not tying to run the MMA world, I’m just trying to have some fun.”
When Shamrock says he wants to put on fights that the fans will enjoy, he doesn’t mean that he intends to have a WAMMA unification bout under his label anytime soon. There are plenty of fighters that people still want to see fight that may not fall under the UFC, Strikeforce or Affliction labels but fighters that many want to see compete never the less.
“It goes back to the early days of the UFC when they didn’t have weight classes,” explained Shamrock. “I was in a tournament one time called David vs. Goliath. In every fight there was a David and there was a Goliath and all of the David’s won. So this is just a throwback. I thought it would be interesting.”
Oh yeah, there will be another former octagon superstar that requires no introduction making an appearance on the card along with Shamrock, Tank Abbott. The unforgettable brawler’s early highlight reels from the UFC are an absolute succession of unconscious, crumpled bodies. The Tank has come a long way since his glory days in the UFC, dropping eight of his last nine contests, but the one knockout win sandwiched between those losses over Wesley “Cabbage” Correira proved that Tank will always be one big swing away from victory.
A fight between the two former UFC superstars would be highly entertaining, if nothing else, and seems like it’s more possible than not for the very near future.
“The next time we have a show we would like to set up a fight between me and Tank in the main event,” said Shamrock. “It’s a fight that should have happened a long time ago and it never happened, for whatever reason, so we’re going to make it happen.”
Shamrock will worry about Tank when he has to but he has bigger things on his plate right now, much bigger. On Friday night, the former UFC champion will square off with the most gigantic opponent that he has ever faced when he takes on Ross Clifton.
Clifton may not hold the most impressive record at 6-8, but seriously, the guy weighs in at right around the 400 pound mark and stands at a humongous 6′ 8″ tall. Shamrock could care less how big his opponent is. He is brimming with confidence and he is eager to show the world that he is far from done in this business.
“I’m feeling like a monster,” said Shamrock. “I’m ready. When I get in there, I’ll get it done. I’m going to go after him. I’m faster than he is, I’m in better shape than he is and I’m stronger than he is. The only thing that he has on his side is his height and his weight and I can kill that. I just have to get off first, I have to get in his face and I have to hurt him.”
When asked what he would view as the absolute perfect ending to this bout, Shamrock was blunt and to the point.
“He’s unconscious,” said Shamrock.
It’s no secret that Ken and his younger adoptive brother Frank Shamrock have had a long standing feud that was supposed to be settled numerous times the old fashioned way but the fight has yet to come together and according to Ken, he doubts that it ever will at this point.
“I’ve been through this with Frank about four times now,” said Shamrock. “He’ll get all of the publicity by saying that he wants to fight me, we’ll start in with the publicity, and then at the end when it’s about to happen he finds a reason not to fight. Every single time he has done that
“Now, he’s trying to throw it on me, saying that I have personal problems and that’s why we’re not fighting. That is an absolute lie. That is a blatant lie. Frank’s not fighting me because he has a promoter, Scott Coker, that’s telling him that he can’t fight me because that fight was set up and ready to go before they pulled it.”
To put it mildly, Shamrock is not impressed with his younger brother’s most recent choice of opponent in Nick Diaz. A fight that, according to Ken, should have been with him.
“The fight he’s having with Nick Diaz is the one that he was supposed to be having with me but they’re taking the high road,” said Shamrock “Frank is taking a lighter fighter, a guy that is not as strong as him, the skills are the same but Frank is just bigger and stronger. He’s taking a fight that he knows that he can win.
“They’re the ones that backed out of the fight, not me. He has backed out five times now. Five times we have tried to set this up now. That’s why I don’t like getting involved with him. He wants all of the press and the publicity that he gets from me and trying to fight me because he gets all of these interviews and people talking about it and then he backs way from it.
“He did it with Royce Gracie, Rickson Gracie, and even Wanderlei Silva in Japan. He’s done this with several fighters early in his career where he was supposed to fight them and he would build it up through all of the publicity and then there was a reason why he couldn’t fight them.”
There’s only one way for the brothers to truly bury the hatchet and according to Ken, he has been ready to go since day one. Ken claims that Frank knows the score between the two, and it’s up to him if he wants to do something about it.
“He’s not ever going to fight me because he knows that I will beat his ass. He knows that. He’s always going to be under my thumb, all of the time. He’s never going to get away from that. He’s the younger brother, I brought him into this business and I created him. He’s where he’s at in this business because of me and he will never be able to get out from underneath that no matter how much he tries, unless he fights me. If he walks in front of me, I’m going to punch him right in his mouth because I’m tired of him talking.”
There have been plenty of people that have called for Shamrock’s retirement in recent years, and it is to those specific people that he would like to deliver this very special message.
“I would say ‘Okay, when you turn forty or forty five years old, I want you to go and sit on your couch and eat popcorn and drink beer and die’, I’m not ready to do that,” said Shamrock. “I love competing. I want to stay in it.
“How many people out there don’t want to work? How many people want to live on welfare or collect a social security check? I don’t want that, I want to work. Kill me. People think that wanting to keep working is such a bad thing. Where is peoples minds at today? People say ‘Oh, go ahead and retire and take life easy’, dude, that’s not how I’m built. I love competing, I love what I do and I want to compete. I’m not a bum and I don’t want to be a bum.”
Shamrock feels that at this point in his career, after all that he has accomplished in and for the sport, that he should be able to be the ultimate judge on when he decides that it is time to walk away from the sport that he has grown to love, and honestly, it’s hard to argue with him.
“When people are saying that you should retire, then basically what they’re saying to you is that you’re too old to be doing what you love doing and that you should sit aside and just die,” said Shamrock. “I don’t want to do that. I want to compete and I’m going to as long as I’m able to get in the ring and throw down.
“I have been in more main events than anyone in this business. Ever since I stepped into the ring I have been a main event fighter. Every single time that I have stepped into the ring. I have thrilled millions of fans around the world over the years. It is my turn now to thrill myself. Please, don’t force me out, this is what I love to do. I have thrilled the fans for so long and for so many years that, now let me have some fun. The thing is, this is not about me trying to prove that I’m the best fighter in the world, I’m not, I’m just trying to have some fun.”
“I just want to thank Wargods and KSP and all of the people that are behind this production. I want to thank all of the fighters that have stepped up to do this fight because a lot of them aren’t making a lot of money on this, we’re just trying to get this promotion up and running, so for that, I really appreciate it. I also want to thank all of the fans that are going to support this.”