by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
Frank Shamrock announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition on June 26 during Strikeforce’s broadcast of “Fedor vs. Werdum.”
Making his debut in Pancrase against Bas Rutten in 1994, Shamrock has done it all and seen it all in MMA.
He was the first UFC light heavyweight titleholder, the first WEC light heavyweight champion and the first Strikeforce middleweight titleholder. The choice to retire from fighting wasn’t easy, and the 37-year old mulled over the decision for over a year.
“I’ve been thinking about it for probably a year or so,” Shamrock told MMAWeekly.com. ” When I fought Nick Diaz my body just didn’t hold together well and I didn’t perform. I have never not performed in a fight no matter how damaged I’ve been. After that fight I kind of slowed down and started looking at my body. I tried to fix it. I tried to do a couple of things to get it to go longer, and it’s just my body is tired.”
His physical well-being was the primary variable in his decision to retire.
“The biggest one was just my health. My back and my body are kind of falling apart a little bit,” confessed Shamrock. “About six months ago I was wrestling with my daughter who is only two and a half (years old) and my back got a spasm and I couldn’t get off the ground for a good twenty minutes and I realized I think I was done.”
The realization and the conclusion didn’t come easy for the San Jose resident.
“It was really hard. This has been my life. I haven’t done anything else for fifteen years. It was just a big change. And just getting my mind to accept the fact that I would not go out anymore was really tough and emotional. I did a lot of walking here in my garage and shed quite a few tears trying to figure that out.”
“For me, fighting was a thing that I loved to do and now it hurts more than it feels good,” continued Shamrock. “I know that the time of me racing this vehicle is done and I’ve got to slow it down and cruise a little bit. It was a tough decision to make, but it was the right decision for me and my family, my body and, I think, my future.”
“It was a very personal decision, and I made it alone and with my family,” commented the former fighter. “It was really personal to me. This whole journey has been a real personal experience for me.”
But his health wasn’t the only factor considered before declaring retirement. Business played it’s role.
“I got into this sport because it was amazingly beautiful and I saw an opportunity to pull myself out of the bad place I was living. But also part of that was building this brand and I know if I keep fighting my brand will diminish,” said “The Legend.” “I will not have the respect for my brand that it deserves and what it’s worth and that I’ve put into it, so part of it is business too.”
Shamrock has walked away from the sport before, taking a three year hiatus from fighting from 2003 to 2006, but he says there will be no comeback this time.
“I haven’t needed the money to fight for a long, long time. I’ve been doing this because I love it and think it’s the greatest sport in the world,” stated the Californian. “I wouldn’t have went out there and said goodbye if I ever thought I was ever going to fight again.”
“I would be doing a disservice to the sport if I went out there and continued to perform and was not my best. I have more respect for this sport than that.”
Through it all, the wins, the loses, the rivalries, the choices and the consequences, Shamrock doesn’t regret anything.
“I would have done it all the same.”