BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Frank Shamrock Talks about Dana White, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier and More.
Frank Shamrock is without a doubt one of the forefathers of mixed martial arts. He was one of the first fighters to start training in different aspects of the martial arts and combining them to make himself a better all-around fighter.
He hung his gloves up in April of 2009, but can be seen on Showtime when the network televises Strikeforce events. He is also preparing to release his second book entitled: “Uncaged: My Life as a Champion MMA Fighter.” He was able to give us some insight about the book and what’s going on in his life.
“The book comes out on October 1st so I’m ramping up to go out on the road again and do a big book tour,” Shamrock told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I haven’t been on the road for quite some time and I’m excited about it. It’s been a long time since I taught and hung out with the fans. The book is basically the story of my life; I had a very challenging life that wound up with me fighting in a cage. It shows the things I was able to overcome and I feel it could be a benefit to a lot of people.”
Shamrock has been around the sport for so many years and has earned the right to voice his opinion on the hot button topics of today’s MMA. The biggest subject still being talked about is the cancelation of UFC 151 and the verbal thrashing Dana White unleashed on Jon Jones and Coach Greg Jackson.
“I don’t know if Jones made the right decision or not, but I liked the decision,” said Shamrock. “I personally don’t like Dana so I like that he stood up to him. Dana is just a big bully and a blow hard. It’s sad to see someone of Jones’ stature brought down by the President of the company. He was basically laid out and destroyed because he didn’t take one for the team. I feel bad for the fans, but fighting is fighting.”
There is no love lost between Shamrock and White, it’s a feud that’s been ongoing since White and the Fertittas bought the organization. Shamrock is not one to hold anything back and feels as though White’s behavior is detrimental to the sport.
“I definitely think it’ll be a negative factor in the long run,” Shamrock offered. “I mean these are our sports heroes, guys we want our children to emulate. You got a guy like Dana who doesn’t care about the talent or the fans. He puts himself, his ego and his desire to make money in front of everything.
He’s destroying Jones’ brand in the process, it’s not Jon’s responsibility to save the card. Dana White has $100 million, why didn’t he pay the fans back or the fighter’s salaries? Jones made a decision that was right for his family; it has nothing to do with the billion dollars the Fertittas are sitting on. It’s ridiculous in my opinion, the whole sport is ridiculous.”
White has had feuds with other fighters before, most notably Tito Ortiz and wound up making amends with them. Is there a possible reconciliation with Zuffa and Shamrock in the cards?
“I don’t see that being a possibility and I say that because I knew Dana before he bought the UFC,” said the former UFC Champion. “I knew what he was like and they made promises that things were going to be different and I didn’t sign with them. That made me a mortal enemy because I refused to sign with them. I have no intentions of going with those people who misled and trued everything to end my career.”
Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of former UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner’s death. There is no hiding the fans adoration for Tanner and his loss was a big blow to the sport.
“Evan Tanner was a look you in the eye, shake your hand and keep his word kind of a guy,” Shamrock admitted. “There were very few guys like that in this business and there’s very few left. Every interaction I ever had with Evan was a pleasant one, from shaking his hand as he rode off on his motorcycle to working out with him. He was a genuine person, a genuine soul and our sport lost something when we lost him.”
Some fans and old school fighters feel that the fighters of today are a bit spoiled and that the money they make is going to their heads. Shamrock isn’t one of those people, but he does see something that can be fixed. He also thinks that White’s behavior is once again rearing its’ ugly head and hurting the sport that he loves.
“I don’t think the money is the reason, I think the reason is because MMA is being promoted as something cool to do on television,” said Shamrock. “It’s not being promoted as the martial arts lifestyle and something that can enrich and better your life. It’s being promoted with hot chicks and guys with tattoos beating the heck out of each other in a cage. That’s cool and all, but there are a lot of shortcomings to that.
I don’t want my family to see that, I don’t want them to hear Dana dropping F-Bombs. The guy who has made himself the star of MMA is the biggest douche bag and loudmouth on the planet and he’s bringing the entire industry down. If there’s no reason for us to be beating each other up than money then we should probably be doing something else. For me it was about surviving, helping people and sharing my knowledge. I don’t think Dana has that going for him, he’s not a martial artist!”
Daniel Cormier is set to fight former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir on Showtime on November 3rd in Oklahoma in what will be the last heavyweight bout in the organization’s history. Shamrock is a fan of Cormier’s in the cage and out of it and feel he will be successful.
“I think Cormier matches up well with Mir,” Shamrock explained. “I think whoever controls the stand-up controls the fight. I think his confidence in his boxing is beyond Mir’s. I think we are going to see Cormier hit him on the chin, Mir’s going to try and take him down and it’s not going to happen. Cormier is three yards above what we have going on at heavyweight, he’s just way ahead of everyone else. His ability to incorporate MMA into the wrestling base that he has is great. I love him as a person, he’ll spill his heart and soul to you and then show it to you in the cage, and we need more guys like him to look up to.”
Cormier has spoken about dropping down to light heavyweight to avoid having to fight his teammate at AKA, Cain Velasquez should Cain defeat Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155 in December. He feels he can be the one to beat Jones.
“If there’s anyone that can beat Jones, Cormier definitely stands a chance,” said Shamrock. “Jones has the really crazy reach, it’s really scary. Cormier would be a major test for Jones because of his wrestling and how confident he is in the cage. The guy is an Olympian and he’s been through it all, but I also think he can do it all as heavyweight.”
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez is set to defend his title against Pat Healy on September 29th. No one is giving Healy much of a chance, but Shamrock is not one of them.
“Healy has a good chance at pulling off the upset,” Shamrock stated. “I’ve seen a lot of his fights and the kid is very, very tough. He’s very durable and knows the game through and through. He doesn’t look like he’s a killer, but he doesn’t go away. I think this is a tough fight for Melendez because it’s the wrong style for him I think.”
If Melendez does prove to be successful against Healy, what’s next for the long running champion? A fourth fight with Josh Thompson is always a possibility, but other than that the organization doesn’t have very many contenders waiting in the wings.
“It’s tough, but it’s happened to a bunch of us,” said Shamrock. “It happened to me; it happened to BJ Penn, what do you do? The good thing about Strikeforce and Showtime is they keep making stars and they’ll find one to challenge him. It’s up to the champion to stay hungry and stay on top. He’s a real fighter and he will stay hungry for a long time.”
To read Shamrock’s thoughts on Women’s MMA click here.