Wednesday, March 21, 2007


By Mick Hammond

When Bas “El Guapo” Rutten does things, he does them all the way. Whether it’s fighting, commentating, or leading his IFL team, with Rutten it’s usually all or nothing.

So when the IFL came to Bas recently asking if he’d become the face of the promotion both on TV and abroad, he had a choice to make. Either he could remain with the Los Angeles Anacondas as Head Coach and try to balance that with his commentating, or take on the bigger responsibility of being the company’s ambassador across all mediums.

Rutten chose the latter.

And so this past Saturday at the IFL’s event at The Forum in L.A., Bas made the surprise announcement that he would be leaving the Anacondas, handing the reigns of the team over to Assistant Coach Shawn Tompkins, and concentrate solely on commentating and promoting the IFL in every way possible.

Understandably the choice was not an easy one to make, as Bas himself told MMAWeekly shortly after the announcement was made and Rutten began his new role as “The Face of the IFL.”

MMAWeekly: First thing Bas, tell us why you left the Anacondas, what lead to that decision?

Bas Rutten: First of all, I came to America to do something in entertainment, and now the IFL came to me and asked me if I wanted to do a show [IFL Battleground] and on top of that represent the IFL – so every where I go I be the face of the IFL.

Now normally, I wouldn’t have done this. Because I love my team and it’s a very, very strong bond, and I cannot do both because there would be a conflict of interest. I’m going to interview all the fighters, and will be sitting there [with the other teams] all the time, so I can understand if coaches are going to complain. So that’s when right away I thought, “You know what, why don’t I resign?”

The only reason I could resign was because of Shawn Tompkins. He’s been there for me since the beginning of the Anacondas. He brought me Chris Horodecki, Krzysztof Soszynski, and if I couldn’t make it to train with the guys, Shawn would fly out. So the guys always knew Shawn. Shawn has also been teaching under the Bas Rutten System and I’ve known him for 8 years.

He was at my gym, the Beverly Hills Jiu-Jitsu Club, a long time ago, like 8 years ago, so he’s stayed with me for a long time. We have exactly the same training thoughts. If I wouldn’t have [had] him, I don’t know if I could have made the decision, that’s the only thing, so I’m very fortunate I had Shawn.

MMAWeekly: How did the team take your decision?

Bas Rutten: The team is okay. Because, like I said, they know Shawn, they train with him, [and] everybody respects the hell out of him, because he’s a phenomenal instructor. And they know if they come to my gym that I’m teaching at, they can jump in the classes, it’s not like I’m totally separating myself from the team and everything they need.

They can always call me, although I cannot be bias anymore. I cannot help them with the team formation, I cannot do that of course, and I don’t want to do that. Because I always think that fighting is about honesty and everything like that. I think I can do a good job at that [separating myself], but it’s going to be difficult though to not be bias when they are fighting. [Laughs]

MMAWeekly: What was it like having to sit at the announcer’s table and not be able to work with the team directly during their 5-0 sweep of Frank Shamrock’s San Jose Razorclaws?

Bas Rutten: It was good, but you know what, I spent the last 10 days with those guys, and Shawn the 10 days before with them, so I took them over, brought them over [to L.A.], and I really would have liked to have been the coach one last time.

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