by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
A legend first in Japan then in the Octagon, Frank Shamrock has been one of the greatest champions to ever set foot in the world of mixed martial arts. On Saturday night, Shamrock called it a career, as he announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

Shamrock, debuting in Pancrase in 1994, was one of the first true hybrid fighters to combine his love for striking, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu into one fluid style. Giving credit to his brother for getting him involved in the sport, he says he will walk away from the sport now simply because the time has come.

“When I was 22 years old, my brother gave me two important things. He gave me an ass whooping, and he gave me my love of mixed martial arts. Since that time I’ve traveled the world teaching mixed martial arts, preaching mixed martial arts, and dragging my poor family with me from country to country, and city to city. I’m 37 years old now, and my time has come,” said Shamrock.

“Tonight I announce my retirement, and I say that this will be the last time I walk into this cage as a fighter.”

The California based fighter made his move to the UFC in 1997 after spending several years fighting all over Japan, and made an immediate impact. Undefeated in his career with the promotion, Shamrock may be most remembered for his epic fight against Tito Ortiz in 1999.

A tactical war throughout, Shamrock eventually used one of his biggest weapons to finally wear Ortiz out. Tremendous cardio from Shamrock made Ortiz a target in the fourth round, where he finally finished the fight with strikes.

Returning to his roots in San Jose, Calif., late in his career, Shamrock fought for Strikeforce, launching the promotion into mixed martial arts, to close out his historic career before saying goodbye on Saturday night.

“It was an honor to bleed for you, to break my bones for you, and to entertain you,” said Shamrock to the San Jose crowd.

Frank Shamrock retires from the sport with a career record of 23-10-2, and a legendary status that makes him a Hall of Famer in anyone’s book.