By Chris Howie
September 24th, 2008
In May, Kimbo Slice defeated James Thompson in a three round war that made fans question the belief that Kimbo was invincible. Kimbo was then called out by Brett Rogers at the post fight press conference. Many believed that the two would meet up sooner rather than later but that would change when word broke that Ken Shamrock would be the man to fight Kimbo Slice on CBS, October 4th.
Now Shamrock is preparing to step into the cage against Slice in what should be an interesting fight on very nice line up from EliteXC. The card will include a welterweight title defense, as Jake Shields faces Paul Daley, along with Gina Carano in action and a recently added heavyweight contest pitting former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski against Roy Nelson.
Chris Howie was able to catch up with Ken Shamrock to discuss many topics including the fight with Kimbo, being a legend in the sport, a fight with his adoptive brother Frank and much much more.
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: Lets talk about your big fight on October 4th with Kimbo Slice.
Ken Shamrock: Ok, let’s talk.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts going into this fight?
Ken Shamrock: Well, my thoughts on this fight….I go in, punch him a few times, take him down, and then break his leg.
MMANews.com: Are you worried about Kimbo going into this fight or is your confidence at an all time high?
Ken Shamrock: I’m taking this fight very seriously. I’m going in with the idea that I’m going to work hard and that I can take the either standing up or on the ground, wherever I want it. I’m not taking it lightly and I’m not over confident going into this.
MMANews.com: Do you feel with Kimbo’s ground game being suspect you may be better off taking this to the ground instead of trying to bang with him or are you willing to fight through his beard and test his chin out?
Ken Shamrock: Well I think everyone knows that the game plan will be to take this to the ground but at the same time I plan on testing his chin. It’s not going to straight in and take the guy down and BAM it’s over. I plan on testing it a little bit.
MMANews.com: You said that you are taking this fight very seriously, what are you doing different for this one that you weren’t in your last few?
Ken Shamrock: I’m staying healthy man, and keeping my fingers crossed as the fights get close. [laughs]
MMANews.com: What types of health issues have you been having?
Ken Shamrock: I had some knee problems and had surgery and didn’t do well with that and struggled for a while. Then I had shoulder problems and struggled with that for a while. I finally got everything where it needed to be and I had some problems with sickness. Staph was going around and that got in my blood stream and I got pretty sick for a while. Now I’m going into this fight and I figure that everything that possibly could go wrong has gone wrong so hey, something good has to happen somewhere along the line.
MMANews.com: What strengths do you see Kimbo having going into this fight?
Ken Shamrock: Well he’s big man, he goes like 250lbs so he is big and powerful and he moves pretty well for a big guy and he throws big punches. He is pretty straight, although they are sometimes looping but they tend to find the mark and he has power behind them. He has some strengths that I have to watch out for and he is one of those guys that if you go in there and you are not sharp he will catch you.
MMANews.com: Have you been attempting to put on weight to counter his size?
Ken Shamrock: I’ve been trying dude. I think I’ll be coming in at around 260lbs.
MMANews.com: 260lbs eh?
Ken Shamrock: In my dreams. [laughs]
MMANews.com: What do you plan on going in around?
Ken Shamrock: I’ll be going in around my natural weight at 215lbs if I can. I’m around 212lbs right now so I’m trying to get up there.
MMANews.com: A lot of people have questioned the decision to have you fight Kimbo, considering you have lost eight out of your last ten fights. What do you say to those people?
Ken Shamrock: What can I say to them? EliteXC came to me with the fight and I took it. Kill me. Everybody gets opportunities and I got one to fight Kimbo and I took it. Whether I deserve it or not, we’ll see.
MMANews.com: Where could a win take you?
Ken Shamrock: It could take me right back up in the mix of things. Kimbo is a well known fight, whether it is deserved or not he is still out there and he is still credible He has a lot of recognition in the MMA community and also in main stream. For me to go out there and beat this guy is going to make a statement.
MMANews.com: Do you feel you can take the aura away from Kimbo Slice?
Ken Shamrock: Absolutely.
MMANews.com: How much of a factor will your experience be coming into this fight?
Ken Shamrock: It’s going to play a big, big factor. I’ve been in there many a times. I think my experience level on the ground and standing is far superior than Kimbo’s. He has his things I need to watch out for but as long as I do that I will do just fine.
MMANews.com: Is Kimbo treated unfairly in the MMA world do to his street fighting background?
Ken Shamrock: Well there are some things unfair about him. He got into MMA after fighting on youtube.com and the internet and he was trying to open some doors for himself then got picked up by EliteXC. They have been pushing him quite strongly so can you blame a fighter for that? No. He is just trying to make a living in this fight game. It’s not his fault. He has been doing a great job of getting himself out there so more power to him.
MMANews.com: Could the hate towards Kimbo be pinned on EliteXC for the way they promote him?
Ken Shamrock: I think the reason for the hate is because there are a lot of guys out there that have been training hard and putting their time in for along time and they aren’t getting the same opportunities Kimbo Slice is getting. That is why there are some haters out there. But you can’t hate on him for taking his opportunities. Anyone in their right mind would want to be doing what he is doing. If you want to hate him, hate him because he thinks he is a good fighter. Hate him for something real.
MMANews.com: What have you worked on in training?
Ken Shamrock: Nothing really new. I’ve worked on my stand up quite a bit but other than that just the same things you would normally do in MMA training.
MMANews.com: Your legacy has already been cemented in the sport of mixed martial arts, what drives you to continue to fight?
Ken Shamrock: I love going to the gym man and I love to train. I love the comradery and being in front of crowds. I love the excitement of walking down the isle and seeing my name up there and the people cheering for me man. The feeling you get inside just before the bell rings and you don’t know what is going to happen next. Those are the things that I have lived for many many years and I still dwell on those times and love it. It will be a very sad day when I can’t do it anymore.
MMANews.com: How much longer do you think your body has left to give you before you may have to retire?
Ken Shamrock: Right now I am just enjoying the moment and have had a lot of success in this training camp. I don’t want to jinx it.
MMANews.com: Being one of the first fighters to make this sport as big as it is, do you feel that the sport has passed by some of those fighters that used to dominate the sport?
Ken Shamrock: I wouldn’t say the sport has passed them because their names will always be associated with it but I feel the experience level and the fighters themselves, with these guys starting out at 14 years old and such makes the experience level so much greater. When we did it you had like 3 or 4 years of experience but these guys nowadays have years and years of experience. With MMA now it’s like back in the day when kids would start boxing at such a young age and would just have so much experience. The training level of the guys getting in the ring nowadays is just phenomenal.
MMANews.com: Did you think back at UFC 1 that MMA would get as big as it has?
Ken Shamrock: When you are living in the moment and trying to achieve a goal, which for me was to be the best in the world, and you are experiencing that, you aren’t looking towards what is going to happen a year or two from then, you are thinking about what you need to do and where you need to be to get to that goal. I never had a chance to really think about where the sport would be 5 or 10 years from then but now that I look back at it I am happy to know that I helped build something that was just so unique.
MMANews.com: How important is it to go into a fight with a proper game plan nowadays in modern MMA as opposed to back in the first years of the UFC?
Ken Shamrock: I think it is huge. Preparation is something that is a big part of the game now. There’s more to it than going in there and thinking you are going to just take a guy down or stand in front of him. You need to have the proper training and just so much preparation going into a fight, especially when you are at the level where you want to be a world champion. Sometimes things are just so closely matched up that you will need to find a way to beat that guy.
MMANews.com: What do you see for the future of MMA?
Ken Shamrock: I think there is a lot more room for it to grow. It’s really starting to explode on TV with CBS and other channels and such and with that, the PPV numbers will just start to grow and you will see some huge numbers like you see in boxing. I think that it’s just getting started. We haven’t even got to the tip of the iceberg.
MMANews.com: With the mention of boxing numbers and MMA numbers, what are your thoughts on the Affliction and Golden Boy Promotions partnership?
Ken Shamrock: That will be a good partnership but I think people make the mistake…when Affliction put their last card on they had a good card with a lot of good fighters but I think they were lacking in stardom. They need a couple of those some bodies that people have seen fight and have a following in MMA. Just putting guys on the card because they are good fighters and were big in Japan or big in Russian doesn’t work here in the States. You need guys that have a following and people want to see fight here in the USA. Just because you have good fighters and good productions doesn’t mean people want t watch. You need to have story behind the fight. It doesn’t really matter who you partner up with, you need to build stories.
MMANews.com: How important is a story in selling a fight?
Ken Shamrock: There is no question. People can watch fights anywhere dude. If they can watch fights with a storyline built into it, like the UFC has with The Ultimate Fighter, than they will pay more attention to it and be more interested in the end game.
MMANews.com: How do you see your fight with Kimbo playing out?
Ken Shamrock: I see Kimbo coming out and making his move. I’m not sure what he is going to do yet but if I was coaching him I’d tell him to keep distance between him and myself. Enough to where if I shot in on him or tried to clinch he has some room. If we go to the center you are going to see me doing a lot of punching then taking it to the mat where Kimbo will not be able to stop me.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on Brock Lesnar getting a title shot at Randy Couture?
Ken Shamrock: I think Brock is a guy like Kimbo who is big and strong and impressive looking and is very marketable. I think it would be good for the sport if Brock can pull it off. Randy is a very clever MMA fighter and he knows a lot of stuff where as Brock just doesn’t have that experience yet.
MMANews.com: In terms of a story line behind a fight, what are the chances of seeing one fight that definitely has a story behind it, the one between you and Frank (Shamrock)?
Ken Shamrock: I think there is a very good possibility of it happening. It has been talked about for quite some time and I don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet because I’ve always said “Let’s get it done”, but they have always had their reasons for not doing it. I’m going to go fight Kimbo and get that done then I am going to go and see where Frank is.
MMANews.com: Anything you want to say to your fans out there?
Ken Shamrock: October 4th baby. It’s time for Ken Shamrock to get back into the mix.
MMANews.com: I appreciate you speaking with me today Ken and I wish you luck against Kimbo Slice.
Ken Shamrock: Thanks man.