Monday, March 12, 2007

Shamrock Talks Rutten, Gracie, and Razorclaws

By Ben Fowlkes

Frank Shamrock has a way of finding himself at the center of controversy. The outspoken coach of the Razorclaws, Shamrock never has a problem with saying exactly what he thinks, even when it's sure to enrage others.

With his team set to take on Bas Rutten's Anacondas in Los Angeles this Saturday, and with rumors of a fourth bout between he and Rutten looming on the horizon, Shamrock sat down to talk with about his team, his career, and what really happened in his fight with Pitbulls coach Renzo Gracie. First of all, Frank, it seems like there's been a lot of talk recently between you and Bas Rutten.

(Laughing) There has?

Is it true you want another fight with Bas?

That's true. We have a long history together. I love competing and I especially love competing against people I respect. Bas is one of those guys.

He says it's untrue that he was offered a million dollars to fight you.

Liar! He’s lying. I don’t know if Elite offered him a million dollars, but I offered him a million. I’d pay it out of the proceeds of the show. I asked him point blank. I told him I’d pay him a million dollars and I can. The first day his answer was yes. Then the second day it was, my knee, my back, my shoulder. I think I’ll just leave Bas alone.

Tell me about the changes you made to your team. Obviously you weren't happy with the last performance, so what are you going to do differently against the Anacondas?

This year we wanted to get a little more serious. I hired a couple of full time coaches. I had an open tryout to find some new talent. I’m really pleased with our team right now. Donnie Liles has been very inspirational. He’s very talented, very focused, and very respectful.

Dan Christison, our heavyweight, he got in without trying out purely on his past record and experience and on the basis of my conversations with him. He’s a great guy. He’s a very good ground technician, far superior to any other man of his size that I have seen in the sport. He’s a real 270-pound athlete who can move, a true heavyweight martial artist, and most heavyweights in this sport aren’t.

Your lightweight, Josh Odom, has a tough task ahead of him with Chris Horodecki, who is undefeated. What are you saying to Josh to get him ready for this fight?

Josh Odom has been with me since he was an amateur. He trains hard, and he learns like he’s eating food. He just can’t get enough. Josh is an incredible athlete with great mental fortitude. It’s just a matter of him having confidence in his techniques.

He’s a much better fighter than he realizes, so I’ve been telling him to just move forward and let go. In my experience, Bas Rutten could not fight going backwards. You make him take a step backwards and he would lose. He had no power. I think Horodecki is the same way. If Josh can push him backwards, he can beat him.

Is this a must-win for your team?

They're all must-wins. As a fighter, you can't go in there thinking you're going to lose. As a coach, you'd better not think that way. So yeah, we have to win this just like we have to win them all.

Your fight with Renzo Gracie ended with you being disqualified for illegal knee strikes. What happened in that match?

I have no idea. Everything was going according to plan. I was about thirty seconds away from knocking the guy out. I could tell he was physically exhausted. I was hitting him with strikes to the body. My personal opinion is he stuck his head in the way of my knees so he could get out of there and go home early. That’s my personal opinion.

So do you think he was really injured?

I don’t know. What I do know is that after all my years of fighting, I know when someone doesn’t want to fight anymore, whether they’re hurt or not. Renzo was done.

You know, a lot of people will say that if it was anyone else, they might believe that he was faking an injury, but this was Renzo Gracie. He had his arm broken in the ring because he wouldn't give up. What would you say to that?

It’s different when someone is rolling around and your arm pops out. That hurts, but it's different. When you know that someone is going to punch you in the head and put you to sleep, that’s a deep psychological issue you’ve got to deal with.

Everyone has found a way out of fight. Everyone has seen the light when they don’t think they can fight anymore. That’s part of the game, convincing someone that they’ve lost. Whether it was an illegal blow or not, Renzo was done. He wasn’t going to do any more in that fight, and he certainly wasn't going to do any damage to me.

You say everyone has found a way out of a fight. Have you?

Oh sure. I’ve had to tie my shoe strings. I’ve had to turn my knee pads around. There’s always a way. Sometimes you're scared and you need a breath. I’d venture to say that 70% of knockouts are people just knowing it’s time to leave and accepting that fact.

Would you like a rematch with Renzo Gracie?

Yeah. I felt bad because all and all we both did the best we could but it didn’t work out well. I’d like a rematch and this time I’ll just pound him out in the first round. I won’t mess around with him.

Is it possible we might see that rematch in the IFL?

He can fight me anywhere he wants to, I don’t care. I’d love to fight Renzo. I’ll fight him in a thong. I’d be more worried about Bas Rutten hurting me than I would about Renzo doing anything to me.

Frank, as always, it's been a pleasure. Good luck in L.A.

Thanks. We'll be ready.

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