by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Anthony Rosas interviews Ken Shamrock on behalf of Valor Fighting. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems as if Ken Shamrock has done it all. He has excelled at everything he has done whether it be MMA, pro wrestling, or running a top notch training facility. Ken Shamrock has hit the pinnacle of success in two of the most difficult sports in the world, and is not done yet. There is so much on the horizon for Shamrock, who says he is looking to fight again, and you will not believe who he wants in the Octagon! He covers both MMA, and the world of Pro Wrestling, including WWE and TNA and what the backstage scenes are like.
VF: How and why did you get started in the world of MMA?
KS: I got started when I was doing Pro Wrestling in North Carolina and had seen a videotape that Dean Malenko had shown me of fighting in Japan. From that point on I pursued trying to find out how to get into it. I got introduced
to the Japanese Organization and from that point on I never looked back.
VF: What was it like being one of the pioneers and putting UFC on the map?
KS: Obviously it is an honor, especially when you see where they are now. I can remember not too long ago coming out of the Japanese organization and coming to the Untied States for the very first UFC in Denver, Colorado. The
turn it made was huge, being one of the most popular events and then becoming illegal in all states, where we had to run on Indian Reservations. To see where it is at now, it has been quite a road. I have been through it all with Mixed Martial Arts, and I never thought that I would be looked up
to as a pioneer of it, and also be looked up as one of the founders of it. It could have gone the other way and people could have looked at it and said they are animals, so it is a good thing to see where it is at now.
What was it like being labeled the World’s Most Dangerous Man?
I guess that is fine, but I really do not look at myself like that. World’s Most Dangerous Man was given to me by a deal they did on NBC about the world’s most dangerous jobs, etc. Of course MMA has that mystique about it being very dangerous, and I was the champion at that time, so I got
labeled the World’s Most Dangerous Man. But there is no such thing, there are a lot of dangerous people out there, and I do not consider myself one of those people.
How did you come to be involved with WWE, being involved in what many would call the greatest match in WWE history (Austin vs. Bret)?
I got involved with wrestling long before I got involved in MMA. I was doing pro wrestling with Dean Malenko, and Gene Anderson back in North Carolina. I had seen the tapes of the fighting in Japan, and then it crossed over to the United States, so I started doing that. I got my opportunity when MMA started taking a big hit with the political powers that be saying it was too brutal, and wouldn’t let it be on the air, so I had to make a career change. I went back into wrestling. Fortunately for me I had a name so I was able to jump right into the big show with WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). I had great success, and it was fun. At the time I got in it, people started coming out of the closet saying, “Yeah, I watch
WWE.” There were a lot of closet fans, but then it became cool when Bret Hart and Steve Austin had their I Quit Match. From that point on it started being something that people of all ages could say they watched it because it was cool.
What were your feelings on the backstage scene in WWE, and did you encounter any problems coming in from UFC?
When I first got into WWE, I worked out in Connecticut, at Vince McMahon’s wrestling school. After that I went to Calgary to train with Bret Hart, and had my first match against Big Van Vader. I remember trying to get ready
for it, and it was a little bit of a change. There is a lot of giving and a lot of trust you have to give your opponent. I know I was not trusted that much when I got in there because I was what we would call “the shooter”. The way they work is not a shoot, so I had to adapt from the shoot
style to the work style which was very easy, as opposed to the shoot style I was used to which was very stiff. I had to adapt and build trust with all the guys in the locker room, eventually I built that trust by having good matches. I did have problems at different times. Towards the end of my run with WWE, I took some shots from some guys that were a little stiff, so I made sure that I gave them a receipt. I never really had too many problems once I got my feet wet as people got to know who I was and began to trust me. I was able to protect myself when people got stiff, I had to give something back so the boys knew how I was.
How did you feel going from main eventing UFC shows, to main eventing WWE shows and winning titles such as the IC title?
Anything I do I take it as a challenge. I knew that being a champion in UFC and then going into WWE was going to be quite different. It was not how tough you were in WWE, it was how much talent you have as far as being able to sell a match to the audience and being able to present a character to the audience and have them believe what you are doing. That would determine whether or not you were going to be successful in that arena. I was able to do that in a short period of time, winning the Tag Team Titles with the Big
Bossman and winning the Intercontinental Title in addition to having several matches with The Rock. I had a good run there for the short period of time I was there, winning the titles, rookie of the year, wrestler of the year. I accomplished a lot when I came back. It was definitely a challenge, one that I think I accomplished.
What do most people not understand about MMA and pro wrestling, and what are the main differences to you, someone who has excelled in both worlds?
I think what most people do not understand about MMA and Pro Wrestling is the slight difference, not that one is easier than the other, because they are really not. I think that MMA is something where you have to be focused. You have to put in the time for your training. You are training to
be a world class champion. In WWE, it is a different world, where it is just as dangerous if not more dangerous, as you are actually trusting someone to take care of you. You have to work on your character while you are wrestling. You have to work on your persona to make people believe what you are doing, make sure the work you do in the ring makes sense, you are what your character is about. It is just different. The biggest difference between the two is that you have to travel so much in WWE, your life and family take a back seat because you are gone all the time. In MMA, your family has to take a back seat for training, about 2-3 months because
you have to totally focus. But that is before the fight, after the fight is over you get to go back and spend time with the family and get back to normal, but WWE is constant and non-stop.
What brought you to TNA and what are your thoughts on your time there, including winning the NWA title with it’s lineage? Jeff Jarrett called me, as I worked with him in WWE, saying his Dad and himself were getting an organization going and asked if I would like to be a part of it, bringing my character, the MMA fighter, the World’s Most Dangerous man into TNA. I told him that right now my career is in MMA, and I do not mind trying to get this thing going. With that in mind, I started doing some shows with TNA. I was happy with what they did. I feel I was not able to give them everything that they wanted from me because I was
too focused on MMA. I did what I could for them and tried to help them wherever I could. They wanted me to be full time with them, but I could not do that, I was just too focused on MMA, and I think that is why I am no longer
Who do you like to watch fight nowadays, and who would you like to fight?
I like Andrei Arlovski. He has definitely got charisma. I like watching Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. I like Matt Hughes. Those are the guys that I like to watch, they are exciting to watch, and they are dominating the sport right now. I would really like to see a rematch with Randy
and Chuck, that would be awesome to see that happen. The guy that I want to fight, we are trying to put it together now, is Tito Ortiz. Last time I fought him, there were a lot of things I wish I would have done differently. Hopefully we will get that fight to happen and I can get out there and turn it on and let the cards fall where they may. There were no excuses last time, I got beat by the better man, but I would like to get another shot at him.
What one match, if you could pick only one, would define your career and why?
I would say the one fight that would define my career and changed the direction that I was going was with Royce Gracie, the second fight I had with him. It was one similar to with Tito right now, the first fight I went against him I was very confident that I would win the tournament and I
went in there not totally aware of all the opponents I was fighting and got caught with choke and went back to the drawing board. I worked on it, studied it and even broke my hand and had to wait a little bit longer to get in there to fight him in a tournament. The he dropped out of the tournament because of a fight he had with Kimo. The next time around, they put together the first ever Superfight with me and Royce Gracie. That was the first time they put a time limit in MMA, they did it 3 days before the
fight which if you saw the fight, it definitely benefited Royce Gracie because I had beaten him down for 36 minutes, and they carried him out of the ring. If there hadn’t been a time limit, he would have been beaten down on the mat and he would have lost that fight. Since there were no judges and there was no real ruling on who won and who lost, even though they carried him out of the ring, they called it a draw. That was a defining moment in my career that changed the direction in which I was going.
How did you become involved with Valor Fighting and promoting shows?
I have been involved with Rick Bassman and Eddy Millis for a long time. I helped Eddy get his school, The Shark Tank going. I trained him for a short period of time, and I trained some of his fighters to get them going in
the right direction. Rick Bassman has always been around the scene doing different things. I have known these guys for about the last 8-9 years. They recently started doing MMA shows. I have probably 2 more fights left in my career, so I am looking to forward to going on and putting on
good shows. I thought by marrying the 2, Ken Shamrock and Valor Fighting, would be a win-win situation.
What are your thoughts of Valor Fighting, and where it can go in the future?
I think Valor Fighting with Ken Shamrock can be huge in the future. Rick Bassman has the experience in putting on shows with great production. I have the name in Mixed Martial Arts and have been doing this for a long time. Eddy Millis with his experience in kickboxing and K-1 fights is
great. The 3 of us, we can put together a good card with great production as we continue to move forward. We can put together a great production with a first class event without having a lot of the attitudes outside of the ring. That is what you look for, keep the attitude inside of the ring,
Where do you see the world of MMA going in the future with it’s growing popularity?
I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. I think in 5 years it is going to be huge. The fights and production are going to keep getting better and better. Now we are getting mainstream TV involved. TV brings better pay per views buy rates, and that brings bigger sponsors. I
think we are soon going to see MMA be as big or bigger than boxing.
How do you feel about your legacy in the world of MMA as a whole? I know I have done a lot of good things for MMA, and MMA has done a lot of good things for me. I have been very attentive to my fans. I think it has been a good relationship between myself and the world of MMA. My
legacy speaks for itself. I have fought all over the world, been World Champion. I have reached the top, fallen and reached the top again. I want to be part of MMA until the day I die. I want to keep developing it and keep doing the
right things for it. MMA for me is clean, I do not want all the trash in there because that is what is going to kill it in the long run. That is why I am getting into promoting because I want to run a first rate operation. I want people to respect the event and respect MMA, as well as themselves
and the fans. They can do all the disrespecting they want as long as it is inside the ring. Prior to the fight, they can be as cocky as they want to be because that helps promote the fight, but after it is over, it is done.
What can we expect from Ken Shamrock in the future?
I have a lot of things coming out. I possibly have a movie coming out, the Ken Shamrock life story. I have a book coming out at the end of August called Beyond the Lion’s Den, and I will be doing some book signings with that. I have a possible reality show, I am still waiting to see on
that. The Lion’s Den is coming together, we are putting together some tryouts. I will be fighting, hopefully, soon in the next couple of months. We will see who the opponent is going to be, but I think everyone knows who I want
to fight, whether it happens or not. Also, my website www.kenshamrock.com will have all the latest information. Stay tuned to www.valorfighting.com for all the latest news concerning Valor Fighting, the Next Generation of Mixed Martial Arts! See why Ken Shamrock says Valor Fighting “will be huge in the future!” Also, do not forget to check out www.kenshamrock.com for the latest news from the Mixed Martial Arts Legend himself, Ken Shamrock