Exclusive Interview: Frank ‘The Legend’ Shamrock
By Dave Carpinello
PDG: Since your victory over Phil Baroni at the Strikeforce event in June; what have you been doing?
Frank Shamrock: I have been doing a lot of rehab on my knee. Working and just doing my thing.
PDG: Are you doing more coaching now or are you back training full-time?
Frank Shamrock: I am doing more of the coaching. I am usually not training full-time unless I have a fight upcoming. I still train everyday for like an hour and a half.
PDG: Speaking of upcoming fights; is anything in works now?
Frank Shamrock: I have been waiting on my knee and now finally it has stabilized to the point where I can do high kicks. So I have just been experimenting to see how far it will go. So nothing is planned right now. My knee is still adjusting to the missing tendons (ACL, PCL).
PDG: Back to your fight with Baroni; did it surprise you that he tested positive for steroids?
Frank Shamrock: No, I figured that was why we didn’t fight the first time. It’s all part of the game to me. It’s a huge problem in the business today as well as all professional sports.
PDG: Do you think it is more users or just more athletes getting caught?
Frank Shamrock: It is more athletes using. There have always been people using. My first love was body building because it gave you the opportunity to build up your body naturally. When you get to the high ranks though everybody is on steroids. It just becomes a big genetic and chemical battle. Unfortunately a lot of mainstream sports are that way now.
PDG: I read an article recently from the CSAC that stated something like 25% of fighters tested in California this year have tested positive for some banned substance.
Frank Shamrock: Yea, they have done something like 60 shows this year and they have had a 90% positive test rate. The problem isn’t that there is a huge spurge in usage, the testing now is so stringent that a lot more athletes are getting caught. Anytime that you make a living off of the risk to your body, people are going to try to cheat. You only have a limited window and your body is the product. So anything that helps the product get stronger is hugely tempting.
PDG: Speaking of that window of opportunity; I read that you have plan for your career through 2009.
Frank Shamrock: Yea, through 2009. I plan on doing at least 2 or 3 fights per year. I was going to try to go every quarter but I don’t know with the whole knee injury thing. The plan is to fight the 2 or 3 times a year and yea I know what I am doing. I have been waiting for the sport of MMA to catch up but I have always known what I am doing.
PDG: Recently the sport has been on a growth spurt; what are your thoughts on all of the recent mergers and increased publicity?
Frank Shamrock: The sport is still in its infancy stage. By way of getting into the mainstream I mean. It is definitely on its way though.
PDG: So will the career of Frank Shamrock end in Strikeforce?
Frank Shamrock: I don’t know. I like the way they run their business. It makes me feel comfortable. It doesn’t really matter to me though; I am just really excited about the fighting. I absolutely love to fight and I am going to do it as long as I can.
PDG: During your career you have fought for many organizations including the UFC and now Strikeforce; what are the notable differences between the two companies?
Frank Shamrock: It is a different thought process pertaining to the end goals. Strikeforce is very talent orientated and is concerned about the future of the fighter. I think that the UFC is a little more short-sided when it comes to that aspect.
PDG: Do you mean as far as Dana White & Co. backing the fighter who is on top at the present time?
Frank Shamrock: Yes, the UFC is paying the top guys great money but not any of the other fighters. Unfortunately the none main event fighters are not getting paid enough. You know that those fighters are the middle class of MMA. They should be the most important guys.
PDG: Do you mean that those fighters are like the “building blocks” of the organization?
Frank Shamrock: Yes, in my opinion they are the future.
PDG: Back to your career; if Strikeforce offered you a pick of two contracts for your next fight. Either Cung Le or Maurilo “Ninja” Rua; which one do you sign?
Frank Shamrock: I don’t know for sure but I think that technically I would prefer to fight Cung Le. In my opinion it would be an easier and less damaging fight. Business wise and financially though, that fight needs more time to percolate. As far as “Ninja” goes, he didn’t look so good in his last fight. He looked slow and lethargic. He is someone though that I would definitely want to fight.
PDG: Your career has been by most standards, very successful. You have lost only 8 fights in 31 contests. Which of those 8 defeats would you like to avenge before your career ends?
Frank Shamrock: I would fight Yuki Kondo again. I fought him in 1996 at Pancrase and it was a very weird time. I enjoyed fighting him. I would also like to fight one of my old instructors like Masakatsu Funaka or Minoro Suzuki again.
PDG: Speaking of your past fights; I talked to Tito Ortiz a couple of weeks ago and he said that he would like fight you again before his career is over.
Frank Shamrock: Yea, he is on the list. I think it would be a good fight and with my striking now I think it would be a clean fight for me. I would love to fight him. I would fight Tito with two bad knees.
PDG: Coaching; you’re International Fighting League Team (IFL), the Razorclaws. What have been the positives and negatives about you experience?
Frank Shamrock: The positives were the team coming together and working as a team and having that experience. Functioning as a team, that is huge for anything in team sports. Learning that camaraderie and team mentality, that was a big step for our team this year. The negatives start with the fact that most of these guys don’t have the technical skill or the experience. You know we lost a lot of fights and some of the guys got caught up with the losing and lost it mentally as well. They were fighting to lose and not to win. I look at the overall experience as something to build on for the future. The league itself though isn’t doing so well. They are searching for a model that makes money and they are not there yet. They have actually asked me to cut my current roster and start over with a new team. So October 13 we are holding tryouts for my new team.
PDG: You have a couple of your fighters from your gym going to compete at the Playboy Mansion later this month. Which young fighter should fans be looking forward to making an impact in the near future?
Frank Shamrock: No doubt about it that would be Clint Coronel. The “Aztec”, he was an alternate on my IFL team and has been fighting in Strikeforce. He was a golden gloves champion and has a red-shirt in submission fighting, which is impressive. He has a killer look and a killer left hook.
PDG: Family; your brother Ken Shamrock, do you think he is done?
Frank Shamrock: I don’t know. I do know that he is banged up a little bit. I don’t know if he is done but I hope he saves one more fight for me. He is also on the list. I think the fight would be good for everybody. Easy story that has been there from the beginning, who doesn’t want to see brothers with a beef between them get in the cage. It is a match-up that might appeal to the masses.
PDG: Outside of the ring, you do a lot of non-profit work. What cause is the most rewarding?
Frank Shamrock: The cancer-kids and cancer society are up there. We did an event at Great America amusement park. They shut down the park for a couple of hours and let all the cancer survivors and their families have the park to themselves. We (Shamrock, Ronnie Lott, and other football legends) got to meet everyone and sign autographs for them. It was a good time and very rewarding personally.
PDG: Any upcoming events and appearances?
Frank Shamrock: The Paradise Warrior Retreat weekend, November 2 through 4. Also there is Frank Shamrock Fight Night on September 21st, which is our MMA-Smoker. Fight Night is all about our school getting together and challenging our students. They compete against each other in various martial arts. Then on September 22nd I will be commentating and working the corner at the Playboy Mansion event.
PDG: Anything else that you would like to tell your fans about?
Frank Shamrock: Yes, I have started a management and development company called MMAStars to get athletes prepared for all of the aspects of a career in MMA. The website will be launching next week and is www.mmastars.com. I think it will help the upcoming fighters walk, talk, and drink MMA.
PDG: Thanks again for your time.
Frank Shamrock: Thank you I appreciate it.
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