MMANews Exclusive: Ken Shamrock Explains New Promotion “Ring of Fire”
Exclusive interview by Jon Gorajski with introduction by Sid Needelman
Many questions have been circulating around an event with little coverage in the past few weeks. With it being only days away, the MMA public wanted to know about this “Ring of Fire” event where a Team Royce Gracie would take on Team Shamrock, where Ricco Rodriguez would be fighting about one month before his scheduled fight against Mike Kyle. Also on the card is Team Josh Barnett featuring a scheduled line up of Yuki Kondo, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Jeff “the Snowman” Monson against the Team Gokor who can brag about having Amanda Buckner on their roster.
Here is what Ken Shamrock had to say about himself and the new promotion, including what rules they will employ and strategies against the Team Gracie members. Oh and he confirms that he would like to fight his brother Frank Shamrock as well.
KEN SHAMROCK INTERVIEW (DEC. 6, 2007)
MMANEWS.COM: What’s going on in your life right now?
KEN SHAMROCK: Just trying to stay in shape, training and working with this new promotion.
MMANEWS.COM: What is your involvement in this new promotion?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah, well I’m working with this new company “RING OF FIRE” just trying to get this thing started with their event in the Philippines. They are starting to establish this new company and they asked me to help. I’m sure when they get things up and running it’ll work out for them. They seem to know what they are doing, I think this will work!
MMANEWS.COM: How is the competition set up?
KEN SHAMROCK: It involves four teams with five fighters on each team, but it’s not like the IFL because it’s a tournament. If we win we will be facing the winner of Gokor Chivichyan and Josh Barnett’s team.
MMANEWS.COM: Is it open weight or are there set weight classes for the teams?
KEN SHAMROCK: They have a 155 lb. class, 185 lb. class, 205 lb. class, heavyweight class and a 130 lb. women’s class.
MMANEWS.COM: Who is on your team?
KEN SHAMROCK: We have a really strong team. Myself and another coach handpicked this team. Tonya Evinger is fighting at 130 lbs. for the women’s. For the men we have Evan Dunham at 155, Kyacey Uscola at 185, Mike Whitehead at 205 and of course, Ricco Rodriguez at heavyweight.
MMANEWS.COM: Who is your team facing?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah were going up against Royce Gracie’s team. He has a team of mainly jiu-jitsu practitioners. We saw the list of names but we don’t really know them, none have stuck in my mind. I have never seen them with any fights in the states. It’d be interesting to see if they can stand up with the punching and the elbows.
MMANEWS.COM: What are the dates?
KEN SHAMROCK: December 9th is the first night of fights and the finals will be in China, they haven’t decided on a certain date yet.
MMANEWS.COM: What are the rules?
KEN SHAMROCK: In a cage with no knees on the ground, elbows are allowed, no punching in the back of the head, basically the same as what we see in the U.S. There will be three, five minute rounds.
MMANEWS.COM: Will it be televised?
KEN SHAMROCK: No, since it’s so far away it won’t be televised.
MMANEWS.COM: Any news on the IFL? Are you still coaching?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yes, right now the IFL is going on with the championships. My team, The Nevada Lions is going through their off-season. After the season is over they will give us fight dates for 2008.
MMANEWS.COM: What is your current physical shape?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah I’m training to keep in shape with any upcoming fights. I feel great. I’m bout 220 lbs. I’m working on my kickboxing, boxing and grappling. I am lifting a lot of weights and just trying to get stronger.
MMANEWS.COM: Will we see a return from Ken Shamrock to MMA competition?
KEN SHAMROCK: Right now I’m in negotiations with a couple of different organizations. I can’t discuss it right now but we're gonna try to get something done with in the next two weeks.
MMANEWS.COM: Is there anyone in MMA right now that you would like to fight?
KEN SHAMROCK: No, right now I just wanna get a fight. As soon as I get into the ring to knock off some of this ring rust then I’m gonna start pointing fingers.
MMANEWS.COM: In your 15 years of MMA, who was your toughest fight?
KEN SHAMROCK: Masakatsu Funaki. He’s a tough man. I fought him three times and my record against him is 2-1.
MMANEWS.COM: Any fights you would like to do over?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah, it’d be the Tito Ortiz fights, I thought coming into those last two fights my head was not right. I didn’t get into training and do the things I needed to do to beat him.
Ken On Frank Shamrock: “It doesn’t matter to me, I’ll fight him.”
MMANEWS.COM: How is your relationship with Tito Ortiz now?
KEN SHAMROCK: Me and Tito are good, ya know? We're on two sides of the world. He is doing his thing and I’m doing mine. I really don’t know him as a person, I only know him through fighting. I don’t hold any grudges when I’m done fighting someone and we don’t have anything between us now.
MMANEWS.COM: When your contract ended in June with the UFC, did it end on good terms and did they leave the door open?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah, well, the UFC cut my contract short. This threw me off a little because I had one fight left on my contract. I was expecting one more fight with them. Basically Dana White decided to cut my contract short because I had chosen to be a coach in the IFL. He got mad about that and he cut the contract. Just because you’re mad at someone you can’t breach the contract. As far as I’m concerned if you have an agreement with someone you should honor that agreement. I think what they did what was wrong and I want them to understand that you can not do those things and not have repercussions.
MMANEWS.COM: Do you think you can see yourself return to the UFC?
KEN SHAMROCK: I have no idea. Weird things happen and we’ve seen some crazy things in this business.
MMANEWS.COM: How is your relationship with your brother Frank Shamrock?
KEN SHAMROCK: Me and Frank are the same – he does his thing and I do mine, ya know? Maybe we can put a fight together. He’s been trying to put a fight with me together for quite some time. But every time we try to put something together it can’t ever get done – but now he is saying he is gonna do it so we’ll see.
MMANEWS.COM: So there is interest to fight Frank Shamrock?
KEN SHAMROCK: ABSOLUTELY! It’s not because we hate each other. What people don’t understand is that we became brothers through fighting. I can punch him in the face and he can punch me in the face but it doesn’t mean we don’t care about each other. It’s just what we do. He wants his respect; he does not want to be the little brother anymore. He wants to be known as the better fighter. It doesn’t matter to me, I’ll fight him.
MMANEWS.COM: Did you watch his last fight against Phil Baroni?
KEN SHAMROCK: Oh, I thought it went the way I thought it was gonna happen. Phil is a very explosive guy. You can’t beat a guy [Frank] who is in shape and who will move around on ya. If you’re a standing target for Baroni you're gonna get hurt, but if you move around on him it’s gonna make it hard for him to win.
MMANEWS.COM: You used to be a pro-wrestler before you were a MMA fighter; some people think it was the other way around. How did it all really work?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah, I used to be a pro wrestler at a small level then went to MMA later. The WWF came after me when I was a champion in the UFC and I went over there for a bit.
MMANEWS.COM: Have they approached you recently about doing anything for them in the future?
KEN SHAMROCK: Yeah, well we are on good terms and there has always been talk coming up for me to get back in there. I had good times with them and I wouldn’t mind doing things for them in the future. I enjoyed the times I had over there but l love fighting. If I could do both I’ll do it.
MMANEWS.COM: You said you were in better shape than you have been over the past three years, who would win in a fight; Ken Shamrock at 43 or Ken Shamrock at 33?
KEN SHAMROCK: Well the Ken Shamrock at 33 was a lot better of an athlete. He was faster and able to train easier because healing was better, so he would not need that much time off after a fight. Ken Shamrock of now is a lot wiser, smarter and stronger. I don’t know; I think if it went three rounds the Ken Shamrock at 33 would take it, but that’s if he can take it in the first two and stay standing.
MMANEWS.COM: Anything else you want to let your fans know about Ken Shamrock for 2008?
KEN SHAMROCK: I just want to let people know that I’ll be back in 2008. Look for a better Ken Shamrock than you’ve seen in the last two or three years.
For more exclusive MMANews.com fighter interviews, check out our full archive section by CLICKING HERE.