by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
On back-to-back days, ESPNews featured an MMA-related segment on its afternoon show, The Hot List. This time, the focus was on MMA legend and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas Rutten, who spoke about his comeback and his background in MMA.
ESPNews still doesn’t seem to be particularly knowledgeable about MMA or its fighters, so many of the questions during Rutten’s appearance were of the generic variety. The majority of the segment focused on Bas’ return to MMA competition after such a long lay-off, as well as his roots in the sport and what inspired him to fight.
“I was bullied when I was a kid,” said Rutten when asked what got him into fighting. “I had a lovely family, so it’s not like my dad used to beat me up, or all these stories that you always hear. I had bad skin disease and bad asthma. I had to wear gloves to protect my skin, and I think it was kind of a payback time for me when I realized I was pretty athletic and I could fight.”
Rutten’s parents allowed him to start training in tae-kwon-do, right up until he got revenge on some of the aforementioned bullies and the police came knocking on his front door. He also talked about balancing his fighting life with his family life, and discussed how he tries to be as calm and relaxed as possible before every fight.
The host did bring up the subject of the dangerous nature of the sport, trying to tempt Rutten into talking about how children might imitate their favorite fighters and hurt one another, but again Bas showed why he is one of the best ambassadors for the sport when he gave another lucid and well-reasoned answer.
“A lot of people ask me that same question,” said Rutten when asked about children who follow the sport. “I think pro wrestling is more dangerous for kids, because kids think that is real and they jump out of the cage, and they jump out of the ring, and onto the table, and drop onto people… and they think it’s real [and] that these people they jump on will just stand up again. Now, real fighting, which you’re going to see on Saturday night, you actually see if somebody gets hit, it hurts. I think it gives a good message, actually.”
Bas also talked about his wife coming to the WFA show on Saturday night and giving him moral support for his fight. He went on to talk about how his family wasn’t always so understanding of his fighting career but now he is able to support his family with the money that he earned from fighting. Bas also got to mention some of his more famous fans like Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, and of course, King of Queens star Kevin James, who trains with Rutten. It was also mentioned that James will be in Rutten’s corner for his return bout on Saturday.
Bas Rutten was extremely well-spoken during the interview, and while the conversation didn’t lend much time to talking about the specific facets of the Kimo fight, the appearance can do nothing but help with the WFA’s show. Rutten and Kevin James will also be making an appearance on the TV show “Extra,” which is set to air in syndication on Friday, June 21st, just one day before his fight against Kimo Leopoldo at WFA: King of the Streets.