The following is our third and final installment of our exclusive interview with MMA legend Bas Rutten. The interview was conducted by Luis Cruz of MMANews.com on March 14, 2007.
BAS RUTTEN INTERVIEW – PART THREE
Luis Cruz of MMANews.com: Alright we'll leave Jerry …or Gary Millen alone now. Moving on. In your career as a fighter, what was your biggest accomplishment or just your favorite moment?
Bas Rutten: Hmmm. One of my favorite moments was my rematch against [Masakatsu] Funaki because he beat me the first time and I had him the second time so that was really cool. And of course when I got the King of Pancrase title. Oh and that's another thing! Frank [Shamrock] said that he was King of Pancrase. That's another lie – he was never the King of Pancrase. He was a temporary King of Pancrase. I couldn't defend my title so they had to make something up. They thought “what are we gonna do?” and then thought “oh I know what [are] we gonna do, we [are] gonna let the number one and two guys fight.” So you have the champion, Bas – and then number one and two which is [Minoru] Suzuki and Frank [Shamrock] fighting for the temporary King of Pancrase title. This was a different belt with a different stone in it and then the winner of that temporary King of Pancrase is gonna fight the real King of Pancrase, which was I, and then the winner of that is gonna be the King of Pancrase. So he never was King of Pancrase.
Bas Rutten: See, that's another one!
MMANews.com: So he was kind of like what would be called today an interim champion?
Bas Rutten: That was it. Absolutely.
MMANews.com: Alright now obviously Randy Couture just regained the [UFC] Heavyweight title, in dominant fashion. What was your thoughts on that, being a friend of Couture's?
Bas Rutten: Oh yeah it was very dominant fashion. Now listen. Randy's a very focused guy and what he wants – he's gonna get it. I gotta say though on the other side, Tim [Sylvia] didn't do anything. People say what did he throw? Well let's think about it. Against a guy like Randy Couture, what Randy does is pressuring the fight. Putting you backwards, putting you backwards. So for a guy like Tim, it's gonna be hard to do something if somebody is pushing you backwards the whole time. So Randy's game plan was top-notch and now the big task is gonna come now against [Mirko] CroCop, of course. But I think he should do exactly the same though. Push the fight so that CroCop can not take that left kick off.
MMANews.com: Do you think Randy could actually pull that off?
Bas Rutten: It's gonna be a very hard one to pull off. That's one thing for sure. But you know what? Randy surprises me many times, right?
Bas Rutten: And everytime he does it again [laughs]. So you gotta give him that man.
MMANews.com: Yeah I will never say never for a Randy fight ever again.
Bas Rutten: Yeah, I know. Absolutely.
MMANews.com: Let's say you were healthy. Would you …I know you guys are friends, but I think he [Couture] said he would fight his friends. Would you fight him if the money was right and you were healthy?
Bas Rutten: Yeah. You know it's …I fought friends before. It's a game, it's still a game you know? If you wanna be a champion and your friend is the champion, well your gonna fight him right? But thank god I don't have to make that decision because I can't fight anymore. HA!
MMANews.com: [laughs] Now you've dabbled in acting here and there. Would you ever consider a full-time career in that field if the opportunity arose?
Bas Rutten: You know what? I'm very fortunate with the IFL. I'm gonna be hosting their new show with Tiffany Fallon, Monday nights and they told me to be totally Bas. So I said: “no this, no that, no leashes. I could do whatever I want?” and they said, “yes, that's why we want you to do it.” That's one reason I wanted to do it and I think I'm gonna have a lot of fun with the Battleground show. I'm gonna invite the people at home to the fighters' homes. I'm gonna give them an inside look at what the backstage is all about. It's gonna be all about the fighters and I think it's gonna be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to this. From there, a lot of people saw some comedies I've done so there's a lot of offers right now for when the IFL is done. But for now, I think one thing at a time and I want to fully concentrate on this IFL “Battleground” and I want to make that the best show possible.
MMANews.com: Definitely looking forward to you hosting this show because you do bring a great sense of comedy with knowledge. I was looking forward to you hosting on the premiere and kept waiting for you after commercials but you never showed up.
Bas Rutten: Well I need some time also with my team of course. Because, well, we gotta fight. So I believe that maybe the next show they gonna show us in our rematch against the Silverbacks. That's what I believe, I could be wrong. Then from that point on, I believe I'm gonna be hosting the show.
MMANews.com: Who are the number one and number two pound for pound fighters in the sport right now in your opinion? I say number one and two because usually number one is the same for everybody's list.
Bas Rutten: Yeah, right now it is so difficult to say but let me talk about technical wise. Don't let me talk about champions. I will say who's the most well-rounded fighter – let's talk about that.
Bas Rutten: Then I would say. I take B.J. Penn and I would say Fedor Emelianenko. These guys can on the ground submit you. And any submission too. They can knock you out. They can be all over the place. If they get a leg they got that leg. If they get a choke, they've got the choke. And a punch? Head shot, body shot – boom, boom. They can get knockouts also. So I like that. And don't get me wrong, I love Chuck Liddell because I think he's the strongest Light Heavyweight in the world and his style is so good and he hits so hard. I like his attitude also outside the ring. He's kind of like what I used to be – partying outside, but the normal guy. This guy never changes, he's such a nice guy …and can fight! I mean he really does it. He can knock anybody out, and I love that. And I can see also sometimes that he can submit somebody. So that's another quality, but for now he doesn't need it. That's why I like to say about well-rounded fighters, if you make one mistake – no matter what you do, they can submit you or knock you out.
MMANews.com: So you favor the well-rounded fighters like Fedor?
Bas Rutten: Well, yeah. I mean …well, it's mixed-martial arts right? I don't like if you can just take somebody down and you win because you push them up against a fence and then just elbows in the face. If that's your only quality I'm …you should learn submissions, you know? On top of that. So just one time suddenly you [Bas sound effect, we'll call it "bloop"] armbar. Everyone would be like “whoa, ok now I gotta watch out because this means he can also submit people.” I think that gives an extra little …an extra little thing to a fighter.
MMANews.com: Real quick I'm going to run through a little word association with you. Well, actually I should call it name association. I'll just say a name and you throw out the first thing that comes to your mind about the person. The first one is your buddy Jerry Millen.
Bas Rutten: [laughs] Jerk-off. [laughing] That was the first thing I thought of!
Bas Rutten: I swear, it was! I can't do anything about it. I didn't want to say it, but it's part of the rules!
MMANews.com: Frank Shamrock.
Bas Rutten: [laughs] Liar.
Catch Bas Rutten coaching his Anacondas this Saturday at the IFL event in L.A.
MMANews.com: Ken Shamrock.
Bas Rutten: Really good guy and best ambassador of the sport. Yeah, that's the one. Ambassador of the sport. I'm always impressed with the way he talks. He's very, very intelligent and very good with the media.
MMANews.com: Don Frye.
Bas Rutten: Ahh. Just, the brawler you don't wanna mess with.
MMANews.com: Randy Couture.
Bas Rutten: Everybody says it – Captain America.
MMANews.com: Tim Sylvia.
Bas Rutten: [long pause] uhhh, yeah. The thing I would always say with Tim is that Tim Sylvia is a person who is enough-talented fighter. And don't get me wrong when I say that because this is a good thing I'm saying. He got that big and became champion because he really wanted it. And those guys, they're very hard to beat because they worked really-really hard for it. You have a lot of fighters where it just comes to them and most of the time you see those guys go down because it's too easy for them so they don't train as hard. And that's why I say that about Tim Sylvia. He worked really hard to become the world champion.
MMANews.com: Mirko CroCop.
Bas Rutten: [laughs] A missile. I think about a missile with the left kick to the head and I hope it's never gonna land with the chin.
MMANews.com: Alright and finally, Bas Rutten.
Bas Rutten: Funny guy. That's what I want people to see myself. I don't like myself being taken serious. I like to be the guy who knows what he's talking about, but I wanna be a happy guy. I always wanna have fun.
MMANews.com: Alright this final segment is a series of three questions. It's “Get 2 Know” Bas Rutten. I just wanna ask you three questions that don't pertain to MMA. The first one is, what are your hobbies or what do you like to do outside of MMA?
Bas Rutten: Yeah, I just did it and I was waiting 20 years for it and that is fishing. Sea fishing. Going for marlins and tunas. Some of my guys with the Anacondas came and it was one of the best times. I will for sure go back there.
MMANews.com: Awesome. Ok, what's the most embarassing experience you've ever had – not in mixed-martial arts?
Bas Rutten: The most embarassing what?
MMANews.com: Just a real embarassing moment in your life. Something that really sticks out in your mind.
Bas Rutten: You know as a kid with a terrible skin disease I was pretty used to kids looking at me with a real ugly face and think that I'm contagious. So a real embarassing moment that sticks out is a guy I was fighting, because of my diseases and how I looked. I just saw a movie [laughing] with some hero Danny Kaye, ever heard of him?
Bas Rutten: Danny Kaye he's a …like an old movie star. He was a comedy guy but he could do it all. Yeah this is old, this is before your time – I'm 42 years old [laughs].
Bas Rutten: There was this one moment in a fight when I went to beat up this guy and I jumped up on a branch like you see in a movies, because you know you wanna kick him in the head. Well, the branch broke and I fell on my back and everybody was watching. So, I didn't like that.
MMANews.com: [laughing] Alright, the last one is tell us something that no one would ever guess about you.
Bas Rutten: Oh, I mentioned it today actually – very strange. My real profession I'm a French chef/cook.
Bas Rutten: I went to school for it. People are like, “oh you can cook?”
MMANews.com: I would assume you can cook but are you saying you're like a gourmet chef?
Bas Rutten: Yeah, I'm a gourmet French chef. Yep.
MMANews.com: Wow, that's impressive.
Bas Rutten: Yep. Yep, a lot of people don't know that but now that can go “whoa the fighting cook!”
MMANews.com: Alright Bas, before we let you go is there anything you want to add? Anything you want to say to your fans?
Bas Rutten: Nothing. Just what I always say – check out my website at BasRutten.tv, of course. And keep supporting mixed-martial arts because that's what it's all about. And on my website, there's a link under there. Anyway, go to KravMaga.com and there is a link on there where you can click and donate for cancer to see if you can find a cure for cancer for people. So people can do that if they get a chance. We lost a real good friend from Krav Maga that was 37 years old, left two kids behind. So check that out.
MMANews.com: Can you spell that website, Bas?
Bas Rutten: It's KravMaga.com. Just go there and click on the link to donate for cancer.
MMANews.com: Alright, just wanted to make sure we got the spelling right for the plug. Alright Bas, definitely want to thank you for taking the time for us today. We know you've been busy the last few days and you're about to get even more busy in the next couple of days. Good luck on Saturday and I look forward to talking to you again.
Bas Rutten: Sounds good man. Thank you very much.
NOTE: Fans wanting to help Bas and donate to the cancer fund over at KravMaga.com, the direct link to check all of that information out can be found by clicking here.
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