Page 1 of 2On the eve of possibly the biggest fight of Ken Shamrocks storied career and possibly one of the biggest moments in UFC History, The Worlds Most Dangerous Man is gearing up to face Rich Ace Franklin in the main event of the final episode of Spike T.Vs The Ultimate Fighter. He was kind enough to spend some time with MMARRs own Sushiboy Arnold Lim and talked about the show, The Lions Den, and of course Rich Franklin.
On the eve of possibly the biggest fight of Ken Shamrocks storied career and possibly one of the biggest moments in UFC History, The Worlds Most Dangerous Man is gearing up to face Rich Ace Franklin in the main event of the final episode of Spike T.Vs The Ultimate Fighter. He was kind enough to spend some time with MMARRs own Sushiboy Arnold Lim and talked about the show, The Lions Den, and of course Rich Franklin.
Arnold Lim: You were there from the beginning at UFC 1 now the UFC is going on to its 52nd edition, and they are on Free TV. Where do you see MMA going from here and are we far off from where boxing is in popularity?
Ken Shamrock: I think we are a few years away from that. Boxing has been around a long time and has taken a few years to get to where it is at. We are defiantly going in the right direction. We got the TV, what we really need to do from this point on is get on mainstream T.V, like an ABC or NBC or some of these other mainstream TV shows. But I tell you what, we are going in the right direction and Spike TV is a huge, HUGE shot in the arm for the UFC and it should be a good show. We are getting probably 2.5 to 3 million viewers or more.
MMARR: Have you seen the TV show and what are your thoughts on the show?
KS: Yeah I saw the TV show it is definitely interesting, it has got great reviews, it does have its ups and downs but all in all it is a good show. There is a lot of disrespect in there that I think could be cleaned up, but I think it is a good show overall.
MMARR: You were rumored to be one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter TV show back when it was in its preliminary planning stages, what happened?
KS: it was offered to me and I had to choose to not go because I had to be gone for 13 weeks. I believe it was just way too long to be away from my family because you know they house you there, you cant talk to anybody about the show and what is going on. So it was a decision I made because I had too much going on with my family but maybe in the future sometime if something can be worked out that would be an option.
MMARR: If the Ultimate Fighter show goes into a second season, is there a possibility we can see Ken Shamrock involved in some way?
KS: Possibly, you know there would have to be some things worked out there but it is something that I would like to do, it is something that would be very interesting for me.
MMARR: You will fight in what is likely the most watched UFC event in its history dating back to UFC 1. What does that mean to you to have been there from the beginning and now still be there at its biggest moment?
KS: I think it is great. I am very fortunate in a lot of different ways. Being in the very first UFC, I have gotten to see the changes and the ups and downs of the UFC and see where it is now and be a part of history once again. I was the very first Superfight champion in the UFC, now I get to be a part of the very first TV show for the UFC. I have been very fortunate they have definitely given me a lot of opportunities, I am very happy for that.
MMARR: You will be fighting Rich Franklin, he is not necessarily a big name, there were rumors of you fighting bigger names coming into that event especially because it was going to be the main event in what is the biggest event in UFC history. What are your thoughts on Franklin?
KS: He is well rounded, he is up and coming, he is 18-1 that is a very impressive record for a guy coming up and he is 3-0 in the UFC which is even more impressive. He has got a lot of good skills and it is going to be a challenge for me so I am looking forward to it.
MMARR: Where do you see holes in his game, or is that something you dont want to talk about?
KS: Normally you dont, you dont want to do that because you dont want to tip anything away, but he is well rounded so we are just going to go after him and see what comes up.
MMARR: You have been working with Erik Paulson who is a popular trainer and Batallia Ballumundo for the past two fights, what has it been like to train with these guys and what was the difference from training in years past?
KS: With these guys they just add a different element. Batallia is an Olympic boxer from Italy, he has a style of his own, Erik Paulson has got a lot of different techniques that he presents. I have been doing this a long time and I have kind of gotten comfortable in my ways, and comfortable with the people I train with, so by getting these guys involved and by training with some different people it has kind of shaken it up a little bit. [It is] Giving me a little more of a broader span of training. I think it has been a huge change for me to help me go farther in my career because I have been so set with training with certain people and doing things my way, and then now I have to shake it up get some people in there, change it up or else otherwise I dont grow with the times.
MMARR: Is it nice to have people on top of you and beating you up a little bit as opposed to being the guy beating everyone else up?
It does change, when you do it all and you are the top dog and as you get up in age you dont have the same control and strength and element that you used to have and you have to be smarter. I am learning how to use my intelligence rather then my brawn and other things, so it is working out well.
MMARR: What is it like getting in the ring and sparring with Batallia Ballamundo, he is very good despite his age isnt he?
KS: Yeah, he is a conditioning guru. He loves to put you through and get you in great shape. He is defiantly good at what he does and sparring with him he gives you a target and he will bang with you, I am impressed with him, he is an older guy but he can get in there and mix it up with you.
MMARR: I want to talk about the old time Lions den. The rumors are that you will be rebuilding the Lions Den from the ground up. How is that process going and is that rumor true?
KS: Yes it is. Me and my wife purchased 5 acres up in Susanville which is north west of Reno Nevada and we are building a fighters house and we are going to house 6 fighters for one year. Our tryouts start in July where we are going to be trying to find the best of the best, to train to become the new Lions Den fighting team. We have a Diamond Mountain Casino in Susanville which will be holding 3 fights a year there and these guys will be fighting on these cards to get experience. Once there training is up after one year they will move out and we will manage their career and get them bigger fights whether it is over in Japan or whether it is here in the US. To get these guys going in the right direction and help them out and give them the knowledge
instead of throwing them out and saying you are on your own now, we are going to manage them for 5 years, and get them going in the right direction and get them the big fights, get them the fights that they want to reach, like the UFC, K-1 and Pride and those types of things.
MMARR: You mentioned that you are going to be having fights at the Casino, are you going to be promoting full cards or is it just for the Lions Den fighters?
KS: Well no it is going to be for other fighters but our guys will be fighting other people. But we are going to be promoting these shows and it is just an avenue to get these guys, when the come in and we are training them that these guys can get some fights under their belts. So we know where they are at when they are out, when they are done in a year and we know where to start them out in different arenas.
MMARR: When you have these people trying out are you going to be doing the same well known Lions Den grueling initiation of days past?
KS: Absolutely, I think that is something that has gotten away from our training regiment and you know I think it is very important to find out beforehand whether somebody really wants to fight or whether they really have it in them to fight. And you find that out early out in the tryouts and those ones that pass, you go well they really want this, so when you put the time into training them and getting them fights and managing them you are not wasting your time.
MMARR: I want to talk about some of the previous Lions Den members that we have not heard from in a while. First of all Mikey Burnett.
KS: I saw him at a fight in Dallas Texas and he seems to be doing really well, what a great guy, he was in my opinion when he fought Miletich and Townsend Saunders, pound for pound he was the best fighter. He was strong, good shape, good boxing good wrestling, really good, and I thought that his chance passed him by.
MMARR: How about Pete Williams?