When you look at the collective history of mixed martial arts not only in the U.S. but around the world, Frank Shamrock has to be considered as one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s young history.
It also just happens that he is one of MMA’s best interviews. During a recent exclusive chat with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Shamrock once again gave a candid interview in which he responded to a lot of direct questions with direct answers.
During the interview, Frank didn’t hide his angst and his belief in the fact that he believes estranged adoptive brother Ken Shamrock’s actions prior to his scheduled Oct. 4 main event bout vs. Kimbo Slice on CBS ruined a potential huge money making opportunity. For over a year now Frank Shamrock had been working on a deal that would have pitted the two estranged siblings in a PPV match against each other.
According to Frank, Ken burned some major bridges when he showed up to the BankAtlantic Center in South Florida the afternoon of the fight with stitches above his eye to repair a laceration. According to Ken, he sustained the injury during an early morning workout of the fight.
At the time, many were skeptical of the scenario in which Ken alleged he sustained the injury and during our exclusive interview, Frank stated on the record that he believes the injury was self-inflicted.
Below is a transcript of our conversation.
FiveOuncesOfPain: When trying to determine the identity of your opponent for April 11, I asked a source if it might be Robbie Lawler. The source replied, “No way. Frank Shamrock wants no part of Robbie Lawler.” I wanted to see if I could get you to respond to that.
Frank Shamrock: Well, whoever told you that was probably smoking crack with Ken Shamrock.
FiveOuncesOfPain: Speaking of Ken, it would appear you’re once again having a war of words with him. Howeber, after your father, Bob Shamrock, became ill and was hospitalized this past September, I was under the impression that you and Ken had made amends. But it appears the relationship between the two of you has become strained again. What happened?
Frank Shamrock: My father is ill and is in the hospital now. I went to see him because I didn’t want to live in the past. I never reconciled with Ken. I’m just disappointed that I spent a lot of time and money on this possible fight between us and he’s pretty much thrown the opportunity by the wayside. It’s just frustrating to me and then he has the nerve to go out and say that I wouldn’t sign a contract and “blah, blah, blah.” Whatever. I just think it’s a big joke.
FiveOuncesOfPain: So Ken is claiming you never signed a contract to fight him?
Frank Shamrock: Yeah. He’s a liar. Because it was my idea and my money. I brought the investors and I made the contract for him. Once again, he’s probably smoking crack because he’s really out there now.
FiveOuncesOfPain: What did you think of his recent decision to fight on a smaller show against Ross Clifton, a 360 pound fighter with a 6-8 record? What do you think of Ken resorting to that level of a fight?
Frank Shamrock: Well, it’s obvious that he’s at the end of his rope and grasping for straws at this point. He gets set up with a multi-million dollar deal to fight some chump. I don’t know what he’s doing with his brand or his business but he’s definitely self-destructing.
FiveOuncesOfPain: During the Strikeforce conference call several weeks back you discussed how the deal to fight Ken was never finalized and that he’s having some personal issues and problems. Is that something you can discuss publicly or does it have to remain private?
Frank Shamrock: It wouldn’t be fair for me to tell those things about Ken. Ken and I have some major issues but I think it’s his own private business. I think I’d be a bad person if I spoke about them. But what I can say is that he’s making business decisions that are going to affect his brand on a global basis and those business decisions have killed this fight. I wish it was something more intriguing like I was ducking him or whatever story he is spinning. The truth is no one trusts him, especially on a network television level. No one trusts him to be the other half of a major fight.
FiveOuncesOfPain: You just alluded to some of the trust that Ken has burned. When Ken showed up to the arena with that cut there was a lot of speculation as to how he truly sustained the laceration. Do you believe that Ken truly injured himself rolling that morning?
Frank Shamrock: No. I think Ken cut himself.
FiveOuncesOfPain: What would Ken’s potential motive be for allegedly cutting himself?
Frank Shamrock: It goes back to his giant ego and not being smart enough to understand the rest of the business. I think he got upset because Kimbo was making twice as much as he was and I don’t think his ego could take it. I know for a fact that he tried to hold the network up for more money the day before the show and unfortunately his parting words were, “Well, then you never know what will happen because anything can happen.” Then when he showed up with the cut we all thought he juiced himself. You know, he’s not to be trusted.
FiveOuncesOfPain: For Ken to go right to the emergency room and have it stitched up, is that normally how a fighter would handle the situation? Especially with a six-figure pay day at stake?
Frank Shamrock: No. No, a real fighter would have superglued it and put makeup on it and would have been out there fighting. Which (is something) I have done and many fighters have done many times.
FiveOuncesOfPain: You obviously know Ken better than most people. Just the theory that Ken might have cut himself — how is he in a position to walk away from a potential six-figure payoff? How could he have done that?
Frank Shamrock: I have no idea (laughs). It’s a mystery to me. I don’t know Ken very well. I was to assume he would have went out and fought but I have no idea what he’s doing. I just hope when he’s finished destroying himself that he has something left to live by.
FiveOuncesOfPain: I’ve talked to sources in the past who were close to the MMA wars in Japan and was told an unconfirmed story about how a major MMA promotion paid a fighter scheduled to compete on a rival show promoted by Antonio Inoki to not compete as scheduled. Do you think a scenario like that could ever happen in the U.S. where a fighter might be approached by someone on the eve of a major fight and told he could be compensated not to fight?
Frank Shamrock: Sadly, in a country of capitalism I think people will do anything for money. As a martial artist, I can’t say that I could ever imagine doing that. It’s beyond me but unfortunately in this country money comes first. So who knows?
FiveOuncesOfPain: Have you or anyone that you know ever been approached with an offer not to fight?
Frank Shamrock: I have not nor have any of my team members that I have managed or trained.
FiveOuncesOfPain: There was a lot of talk that you were willing to step in for Ken Shamrock on Oct. 4 and face Kimbo Slice. How close was that to being a reality?
Frank Shamrock: I raised my hand and I got myself ready. We were in a do or die situation and someone had to step up. I’m a fighter and I’m a martial artist and I’m a businessman, so I jumped at the opportunity. But I don’t know, it just didn’t happen. I felt for sure that I was going to be that guy but and it didn’t happen.
FiveOuncesOfPain: Can you talk about why it didn’t happen in the end?
Frank Shamrock: First of all, I think a lot of people felt it was crazy. I also think from a broadcast standpoint that it would have been odd that your color commentator comes out of the booth and does fighting. I think it might just have been too much of a stretch for people to even imagine. Though it’s a sport, it’s still a heavy concept for people. But for me, it was just another day at work so it wouldn’t have stressed me out. At the end of the day, I was down.
FiveOuncesOfPain: What about your arm? How would you have been able to get medically cleared so quickly?
Frank Shamrock: I called Armando Garcia and he said if I could get my doctor to clear my arm and that if all of my medicals were current and up-to-date, I could go and fight. So I made the call and made sure the doctor cleared my arm and I just waited for CBS, Showtime, and ProElite to give me the blessing. And they didn’t.
FiveOuncesOfPain: So let me back track a bit. You got the medicals in but CBS, Showtime, and ProElite didn’t want to make the fight?
Frank Shamrock: Yeah, nobody said I could do it. But I was on the list but I kept asking because it was very hard for me to switch gears from being a commentator to being a fighter, mentally. I needed some time for that so I kept pressing and I pressed them until about 30 minutes before we went on the air and we went on the air and I made one final plea that, “Look, I’m still ready.” And then I had to let it go and I had to do my job.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: You’ve said in past interviews that you essentially toyed with Cung Le in an effort to be an entertainer. On April 11, are you going to look to take the fight a few rounds or will you come out looking to knock Nick Diaz out right away?
Frank Shamrock: Naw, my days of sacrificing my body — from at least an entertainment standpoint — are pretty much done. I’m just going to go out and very seriously smash people. I think the sport is where it needs to be and my brand is certainly strong enough that I really don’t need to go outside of doing my job.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: How do you think your catch wrestling/submission wrestling style matches up against Diaz’s more traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu style? Can you hang with him if he gets you to the floor?
Frank Shamrock: Ah, I think so. I’ve never had any problems jiu-jitsu guys. Their style kind of flows methodical and it’s very effective but explosiveness, speed, and athleticism has always defeated their style and I think I’m still young enough to play that game.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: About a year to year and a half ago, Nick Diaz’s name surfaced as a potential opponent for you and you weren’t a fan of the matchup. Why do you feel Nick is a great opponent for you at this time?
Frank Shamrock: I think we’re moving into a new era of MMA. I call it MMA 2.0. The fans that were running the companies are gone. The real professional business people are in charge. The networks are supporting us. Besides Nick having a great game, he’s also that personality that I think represents MMA wrong. I don’t want my daughter to grow up and like Nick Diaz. That’s not my goal and that’s not why I am in this sport. So I look at this fight as the blue opportunity. It’s my chance to put on a good show vs. a well matched opponent. It’s also my chance to clean up the sport a little more in my opinion.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: If you rematch Cung Le and decide to take the fight to the floor, will your knee allow you to go for leg attacks?
Frank Shamrock: Oh yeah. My knee is fine. Everything is fine. I look forward to fighting Cung again. Everyone has their opportunity and Cung had his. Yeah, I’m in pain because I am older but my body is still healthy and I’m strong.
FiveOuncesOfPain: When was the last time the UFC attempted to bring you in?
Frank Shamrock: It’s been a few years now.
FiveOuncesOfPain: So the last time you had formal contact with them was after the Cesar Gracie fight and you haven’t been contacted since?
Frank Shamrock: No. I went and met with them and (it was) the same story. Same B.S. I haven’t talked to them since then.
FiveOuncesOfPain: ProElite was in limbo for so long and you had a contract with them and Strikeforce acquired a lot of their assets and now they are involved with Showtime and CBS. What do you think this means to have two strong companies in CBS and Showtime working with such a strong promoter in Scott Coker?
Frank Shamrock: I think it’s a new birth for MMA. Scott Coker is a martial artist, for one. And for two, he’s a good promoter. He’s been promoting martial arts for a long, long time. He’s a reliable businessman and a good partner. I just think this is a huge opportunity for mixed martial arts. I hope the fans and the fighters embrace it as much as I have. I hope it’s hugely successful because the fact is there’s one giant monopoly out there and then there’s a bunch of other guys just trying to work these industry. And now there’s a number two and they’re powerful.