Height 1.85 m
Role Mixed martial artist
|Name Ken Shamrock|
Reach 72.5 in (184 cm)
Siblings Frank Shamrock
|Born Kenneth Wayne Kilpatrick
February 11, 1964 (age 51)
Macon, Georgia, United States (1964-02-11) |
Other names The World's Most Dangerous Man
Residence Reno, Nevada, United States
Weight 212 lb (96 kg; 15.1 st)
Division Heavyweight Light Heavyweight
Children Ryan Shamrock, Rebecca Shamrock, Fallon Marie Shamrock, Sean Garret Shamrock, Connor Kenneth Shamrock
Spouse Tonya Shamrock (m. 2005), Tina Ramirez (m. ?–2002)
Movies and TV shows The Ultimate Fighter, Impact Wrestling, Scarecrow Gone Wild, Champions, WWE: Rock Bottom 1
Similar People Kimbo Slice, Royce Gracie, Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Dan Severn
Bellator mma in focus with ken shamrock
Kenneth Shamrock (born Kenneth Wayne Kilpatrick; February 11, 1964) is an American mixed martial artist, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer, and retired professional wrestler. He emerged as one of the biggest stars in the history of mixed martial arts, headlining over 15 main events and co-main events in the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships during the course of his career and set numerous pay-per-view records with his drawing power. Shamrock is widely considered to be a legendary figure and icon in the sport of mixed martial arts. Shamrock was named The World's Most Dangerous Man by ABC News in a special entitled "The World's Most Dangerous Things" in the early part of his UFC career, a moniker which has stuck as his nickname.
- Bellator mma in focus with ken shamrock
- Ken shamrock highlight
- Early life
- Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling 19931996
- First UFC rivalry Ken Shamrock vs Royce Gracie
- UFC Champion
- The Dance in Detroit
- Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round
- Pride Fighting Championships 20002002
- Feud with Tito Ortiz and UFC Championship
- UFC Hall of Fame
- The Ultimate Fighter Season 3
- Post UFC Career 2007present
- Bellator MMA
- Fighting style
- Early career 19901997
- Various feuds 19971998
- The Corporation and The Union 19981999
- Independent circuit 20022013
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling 2002 2004
- Personal life
- In wrestling
- Mixed martial arts
- Professional wrestling
Shamrock became known early on in the UFC for his rivalry with Royce Gracie. After fighting to a draw with Gracie in the inaugural Superfight, he became the first UFC Superfight Champion after defeating Dan Severn at UFC 6; the title was eventually replaced by the UFC Heavyweight Championship when weight categories were introduced to the UFC. He was also the first foreign MMA Champion in Japan, winning the title of King of Pancrase. During his reign as the UFC Superfight Champion, he was widely considered the #1 mixed martial artist in the world. Shamrock was also ranked by Inside MMA as one of the top 10 greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time. Shamrock is the founder of the Lion's Den mixed martial arts training camp. He is also the older adopted brother of former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock.
In addition to his mixed martial arts career, Shamrock enjoyed considerable success in professional wrestling, particularly during his tenures with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA, now GFW). In the WWF, he is a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWF Tag Team Champion and the 1998 King of the Ring. In TNA, Shamrock is a one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion and a 2002 Gauntlet for the Gold winner. He headlined multiple pay-per-view events in both promotions, and twice competed for the WWF Championship in late 1997.
Ken shamrock highlight
A "military brat," Kenneth Wayne Kilpatrick was born at the Robins Air Force Base, in Warner Robins, Georgia, where he lived for the first four years of his life. His father Richard Kilpatrick was a United States Air Force enlistee, and his mother Diane Kilpatrick worked as a waitress and a dancer. Diane had her first son when she was only 15 years old. Shamrock had three brothers and came from a broken family in a predominantly black neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia.
He was often left to fend for himself, getting into many fights without the supervision or guidance of his parents. Shamrock's father abandoned his family and when Shamrock was five years old, his mother, Diane Kilpatrick, now divorced from his father, remarried an Army aviator named Bob Nance. The newly formed family moved to Napa, California, Nance's hometown. Shamrock and his brothers were outsiders in this community, coming from a poor background and speaking in a Southern accent, they continued to cause trouble and get into fights and also began using drugs. Nance, who had fought in the Vietnam War, became a member of the local fire department and also found work in roofing and upholstery. Shamrock became involved and excelled in sports at a young age, playing in Little League baseball and Pop Warner football. Nance remembers a veteran coach telling him that he had never seen a player with as much heart and tenacity as the young Shamrock. Shamrock was not as involved with drugs as his brothers, such as his brother Richie, who enjoyed smoking marijuana and eventually using heroin intravenously, but who also played football.
At age 10, Shamrock was stabbed several times during a robbery and then placed in a juvenile hall. Shamrock, at the age of 13, was then kicked out of his home by his stepfather, and each of the brothers went their separate ways. Shamrock lived in cars as a result before being placed in a foster home. He bounced around between several group homes before being placed in Bob Shamrock's Boys' Home at age 14, in Susanville, California where he turned his life around. Bob Shamrock legally adopted Ken as his son, and Ken changed his last name from Kilpatrick to Shamrock in Bob's honor.
At Lassen High School, Shamrock (known there as Kenny Nance) excelled in both football and wrestling. As a senior, Shamrock qualified for the state championships in wrestling, but broke his neck in practice days before the competition and underwent neck surgery. Shamrock did not receive scholarship offers from any big colleges, and doctors told him his sports career was likely over. Against doctors orders, Shamrock joined the Shasta College football team, where he was voted team captain in his final season. The San Diego Chargers of the National Football League later offered Shamrock a tryout, but Shamrock declined in order to pursue a career in professional wrestling, where he debuted in 1989 in the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion.
Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling (1993–1996)
The origins of Shamrock's mixed martial arts career began in the Japanese pro wrestling organization Fujiwara Gumi. On October 4, 1992, at the Tokyo Dome, a legitimate match between "Wayne Shamrock" (Shamrock's ring name in Japan) and kickboxer Don Nayaka Nielsen took place. Shamrock submitted Nielson with an arm lock in 45 seconds. The success of this match made young professional wrestlers Shamrock, Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki question what they had been told since entering into predetermined wrestling: that nobody would ever pay to see real matches.
Shamrock, Funaki and Suzuki then founded a group of professional wrestlers and decided to pursue marketable legitimate matches. They formed a promotion called Pancrase. Using professional wrestling rules—no closed fisted punching to the head and breaks on the ropes—but fighting for real without predetermined finishes. Shamrock beat Funaki by arm-triangle choke in the main event of the first Pancrase show on September 21, 1993. The show attracted a sell-out audience of 7,000.
Shamrock defeated world kickboxing champion Maurice Smith and Alex Cook in the opening round of the 16-man King of Pancrase Tournament and Masakatsu Funaki and Manabu Yamada in the Second Round to become the first King of Pancrase in December 1994. With this win, Shamrock became the first ever foreign champion in MMA history in Japan. He then defended his King of Pancrase title against Bas Rutten in 1995, submitting him with a kneebar. He lost the title in his next fight against Pancrase co-creator, Minoru Suzuki.
In addition to his MMA bouts in Pancrase, Shamrock also competed in a kickboxing match in 1994 with Frank "The Animal" Lobman, who holds a pro record of 110-6 with a 90% KO ratio. Shamrock broke Lobman's nose with a right cross early in the bout but was ultimately defeated by TKO due to leg kicks.
Shamrock eventually had a falling out with Pancrase management in early 1996 and left the company to compete in the UFC full-time. Shamrock left Pancrase with a record of 17–3.
First UFC rivalry: Ken Shamrock vs Royce Gracie
On November 12, 1993, after the first three Pancrase shows, Shamrock returned to America to fight in the newly formed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at UFC 1, an initiative in which he was helped and trained by Masakatsu Funaki and Takaku Fuke.
The event was held under a one-night tournament format. In the first round, Shamrock was pitted against taekwondo stylist Patrick Smith, who he made short work of by throwing Smith to the mat and submitting him with a heel hook. His next opponent would be Brazilian jiu-jitsu exponent and eventual tournament winner Royce Gracie. Shamrock sprawled a takedown attempt and maneuvered on top of Gracie, and then grabbed his ankle and sat back to attempt another heel hook. According to Shamrock, however, his arm had gotten tangled in Gracie's gi, and when Shamrock sat back, it pulled Gracie on top of him, which allowed Gracie to secure a choke and submit Shamrock. While the move is often listed as a rear naked choke, Shamrock later stated it to be actually a gi choke, in which Royce would have wrapped the cloth of his gi around Ken's neck. The ending of the fight was also source of controversy because the referee did not see the tap and ordered the two fighters to continue fighting after Gracie had let go of the hold. Shamrock paused for a few seconds but declined, admitting to the ref that he tapped out and that it would not be fair for him to continue fighting.
After the fight, Shamrock admitted that he underestimated Gracie: “I didn’t know who Royce Gracie was...when I saw him in his gi, I thought he was some karate guy (with no ground skills).” Also, he put the blame of his loss in the fact that he wasn't allowed to wear his wrestling shoes during the fights, while Gracie himself had been allowed to wear his gi.
Shamrock was originally scheduled to compete at UFC 2 but broke his hand after blocking a high kick while sparring with a teammate. He still wanted to compete, but when doctors told him that he might never fight again if he injured his hand any further, he reluctantly withdrew from the show.
On September 9, 1994, Shamrock returned to the octagon at UFC 3 in an event that was marketed by the UFC as the ultimate rematch between two-time champion Royce Gracie and #1 contender Shamrock. Shamrock's first fight, now allowed to wear his shoes, was against top ranked judo practitioner Christophe Leininger. Leininger engaged for a takedown, but Shamrock blocked and got on top, unloading hard punches and headbutts until the tap out. Shamrock crossed faced Leininger so hard into the mat that Leininger admitted to being knocked out for a second, and he later was revealed to have suffered a mild concussion. Shamrock's next fight was in the semifinals against kickboxer Felix Mitchell. Shamrock took Mitchell down and forced him to tap out due to a rear naked choke. With this win, Shamrock advanced to the finals of UFC 3. However, Shamrock refused to compete in the finals after he learned Gracie had dropped out of the tournament after his win over Kimo Leopoldo, combined with a knee injury he suffered during his match with Leininger.
On April 5, 1995, at UFC 5, Shamrock got his rematch with Gracie in a match called "The Superfight," which would determine the UFC Champion. At the time, Gracie had a reputation as being seemingly unbeatable. Gracie had obvious concerns about his relative lack of size in comparison to Shamrock, so he came into the octagon at 190 pounds – roughly fifteen pounds above what had been his normal fighting weight; Shamrock also cut his weight down to 205 pounds for the bout. Hours before the event, the UFC suddenly instituted a 30-minute time limit, mainly due to pay per view time constraints. Both Gracie and Shamrock were upset at the sudden rule change. For Shamrock, it ruined his game plan, who had been training for months to utilize his natural advantages in size and strength to wear Gracie down over the course of two hours. Shamrock and Gracie fought for the entire allotted time of 30 minutes along with 5 minutes of overtime before the match was declared a draw due to the fight not having judges. Had there been ringside judges, UFC matchmaker Art Davie believes that Shamrock would have been declared the winner. Gracie left with a melon sized welt closing his eye, a result of a standing punch due to a sudden change of the rules in which both of the fighters were restarted on their feet. Shamrock was not satisfied with his performance against Gracie, saying "it's certainly not a win. You gain nothing (with a draw)". Shamrock expressed desire to fight Gracie again for a third time in 1996, saying that if it went to a draw again, he would have Gracie declared the winner and Shamrock would forfeit his UFC Superfight Championship belt to Gracie. Gracie left the UFC after his fight with Shamrock and did not return until 11 years later.
Shamrock was then matched up with UFC 5 tournament champion Dan Severn at UFC 6 on July 14, 1995 to determine the reigning champion of the UFC. The 'superfight', a match presented as a fight between the "best of the best", was still the match that would determine the UFC champion and the tournament winners would be considered the #1 contender for the newly created UFC Superfight Championship (later replaced by the UFC Heavyweight Championship when weight categories were introduced to the UFC). Their feud began at the pre-fight press conference. After most of the attention from the media was given to Shamrock, Severn got up and walked out of the door without explanation. Shamrock took Severn's action as a sign of disrespect. Severn later said that he walked out because he felt that it would be unfair to Shamrock for him to be present in the room while Shamrock was discussing his fight strategy to the media. Shamrock became even more furious when he found a newsletter back at the hotel that explained to readers how Severn was going to destroy Shamrock. During the match, Shamrock forced Severn to tap out to a choke in 2:14 to win the UFC Superfight Championship.
On September 8, 1995, at UFC 7, Shamrock successfully defended the UFC Superfight Championship against UFC 6 Tournament Champion "The Russian Bear" Oleg Taktarov. Shamrock stated in his autobiography that he was uncomfortable fighting Taktarov, as Oleg trained with the Lion's Den and he did not wish to injure his friend and teammate. In Beyond the Lion's Den, Shamrock states; "In addition to being his friend, I was also trying to get him into Pancrase and if I broke his leg it would be a while before he could recover and he needed the money. I figured my best chance of winning without seriously hurting him was to beat on him with punches... If I could open a cut and get him to start pouring blood, I could get a referee stoppage. It might not have been the best plan going into a fight, but considering the options it seemed like the best option available. And it turned out fine. I battered him around for the duration of the match, the bout was declared a draw and when Oleg recovered he went on to fight in Pancrase."
Shamrock then defended his belt against Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 8 in February 1996 in Puerto Rico. In the bout, Shamrock secured a kneebar, forcing Kimo to submit. With the win, Shamrock defended his UFC Superfight title for the second time.
The Dance in Detroit
Shamrock was then scheduled to face number one contender and rival Dan Severn at UFC 9 in a rematch of their fight at UFC 6, which Shamrock won by guillotine choke in 2:14. Their rematch at UFC 9 was marketed as the "Clash of the Titans 2" and took place in the Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan, in Severn's home state.
UFC owner Bob Meyrowitz, referee John McCarthy and a team of lawyers were in court until 4:30 p.m. on the day of the fight battling with the District Attorney of Michigan, who was trying to prevent the UFC from holding the event in the state. An ultimatum was issued: the fight could go on as long as there were no closed fisted strikes to the head and no headbutts. The UFC, desperate to put the show on, agreed to the terms. Fighters were warned hours before the show that they would be arrested if they punched to the head with a closed fist. When Shamrock learned of the sudden rule change, he made up his mind that he was not going to fight. While training for the match, Shamrock suffered a torn lateral meniscus, a partially torn ACL, a broken nose, and cracked ribs. His injuries combined with the rule change, he did not think he could win the fight because all of his weapons were taken away from him. Shamrock was also fearful that he would be arrested; the troubled boys from his father's foster home would be watching him and he was afraid of setting a bad example. If Shamrock withdrew, the main event would have been cancelled and the UFC could have suffered substantial monetary damage. After UFC owner Bob Meyrowitz and other UFC officials pleaded with Shamrock to go on with the show, Shamrock, despite the injuries and new rules, reluctantly gave in to the pressure.
In a fight that would be called "The Dance in Detroit", both Severn and Shamrock circled each other with little to no contact for a combined total of almost thirty minutes. "I took the center of the ring understanding that I was going to be fighting for my life and Dan never came at me," Shamrock said. Severn later said that his strategy was to purposely not engage with Shamrock and wait for the fans to boo, hoping that the booing would affect Shamrock psychologically and force him to make a mistake that Severn could capitalize on. Finally, after over 15 minutes of stalling, Severn shot for a takedown, but was unsuccessful and following a brief scramble, Shamrock put Severn on his back in full mount. Shamrock held the mount for close to five minutes, throwing open fist palm strikes to Severn's head and an occasional closed fist punch to the body. Shamrock felt as though he would have damaged Severn badly and perhaps finished him from this position of full mount if he was allowed to punch Severn in the face with a closed fist. Severn eventually gave his back in an attempt to get out and the risk paid off as Shamrock slid off Severn's back and onto his back in full guard. Severn landed a headbutt to open a cut above Shamrock's eye and followed with elbow strikes and punches from Shamrock's guard. Shamrock eventually got back to his feet and after six more minutes stalling, the fight went to a judges decision. The judges gave a split decision win to Dan Severn, which upset Shamrock because he felt as though Severn had broken the rules by utilizing the banned closed fist punches to the head and headbutts. Chants of "boring!" and "Let's go Red Wings!" were echoed throughout the arena during the fight. Shamrock later stated that going through with this fight was the biggest regret of his fighting career.
After taking time off away from the octagon to heal injuries, Shamrock entered the UFC's Ultimate Ultimate 1996 in December 1996. Shamrock appeared as a guest on the mainstream American television program Late Night with Conan O'Brien to promote the event. Frank Shamrock served as Ken's head cornerman for the event. Shamrock's opponent in the quarterfinals of the tournament was Judo black belt, kickboxer, and Golden Gloves champion Brian Johnston. Shamrock eventually tapped Johnston out with a forearm choke and advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. Shamrock, however, broke the same hand during this fight that kept him out of UFC 2 and had to withdraw from the tournament.
After UFC 9, United States Senator John McCain was successful in pulling UFC pay-per-view broadcasts from numerous cable systems, including TCI Cable, which greatly hurt pay-per-view revenue. Combined with money drying out, the need to support his family and being burnt out from fighting, Shamrock left MMA for professional wrestling signing with the World Wrestling Federation.
Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round
On January 30, 2000, at the Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round, Guy Mezger, one of Shamrock's fighters, fought Kazushi Sakuraba, who at the time was considered to be one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Mezger took the fight on two weeks notice and had a broken foot going into the fight. The contract that Mezger signed stipulated that the fight would be one 15 minute round with no overtime. The fight mostly consisted of Mezger controlling the fight by stopping Sakuraba's takedown attempts while landing strikes from the outside. The round ended and Mezger expected the fight to go to the judges, but Pride officials wanted the fight to go to overtime.
According to Mezger, Pride did not like the outcome of the fight and changed the agreement/contract on the spot in order to give Sakuraba another chance to win the fight. Ken Shamrock, Mezger's corner man, entered the ring and an argument ensued. Mezger was then ordered out of the ring and back to the locker room by Shamrock, who was livid at the decision to extend the fight because of Mezger's foot injury and the fact that he took the fight on short notice.
Mezger said, "For some reason, I had a tremendous amount of energy for that 15 minutes, but I started to kind of wilt near the end. Then they called it a draw and I'm like, "What?" Everyone blames Ken for being unprofessional. Really, Ken was protecting his fighter. We had an agreement. Sakuraba said, "I wanted to go another round, thinking it would be possible to salvage the match, but when it was decided to extend the fight, Ken Shamrock was making scary faces. Later I heard that Mezger's contract was only for a one-round fight. I thought, "Ah, then it couldn't be helped." But Shamrock didn't have to get so angry like that. Seeing Mezger getting scolded by him, I felt sorry for (Mezger)."
Later that night, the president of Pride FC made a public apology to Mezger at the Tokyo Dome for the miscommunication. Braverman added, "We had a big meeting (with PRIDE). We were able to get some concessions out of them, money and guarantees of future fights. They wanted to make it right. One thing I said in the meeting was, "Do you want me to call Kenny back in here and see what he says?" "No, no, no, no!"
Pride Fighting Championships (2000–2002)
In early 2000, Shamrock made a comeback to the mixed martial arts scene following his 4-year hiatus in the WWF. He signed with Pride Fighting Championships and defeated Alexander Otsuka by KO due to punches at the Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals in the superfight, his first fight back from the WWF. During the match Shamrock was able to totally knock out the tough Otsuka, a feat which renowned strikers like Igor Vovchanchyn and Wanderlei Silva failed to do. This was the first ever Pride event to be broadcast live in America and Pride strategically used Shamrock's drawing power in America by making his Superfight with Otsuka the co-headliner of the event.
On August 27, 2000, Shamrock fought consensus top 10 Heavyweight "Ironhead" Kazuyuki Fujita at Pride 10 - Return of the Warriors. Shamrock came into the fight with Fujita noticeably smaller than his previous fight with Otsuka, dropping roughly 15 pounds of weight. During the time before the fight, Shamrock was going through a divorce and had to take care of his young kids during the day, which severely cut into his training time for the fight. Despite this, Shamrock dominated Fujita throughout the entire fight, stopping takedowns from the Japanese wrestling champion and landing hard strikes, but eventually had his corner throw in the towel because he felt like he was having a heart attack. He was evaluated after the fight and it was determined that he was suffering from heart palpitations.
In March 2001, Shamrock was scheduled to fight Igor Vovchanchyn at Pride 13 - Collision Course, but re-injured his neck during training two weeks before the fight, the same serious neck injury that ended his WWF career.
Shamrock engaged in a feud with Don Frye during his career in the Pride Fighting Championships, whose background was Don Frye's trash talking. In 1999, Alicia Webb (also known as Ryan Shamrock) dated Ken Shamrock until early 2003. Frye made comments to the effect that Shamrock cheated on and divorced his wife to date a young girl (Alicia Webb was 19 and Ken Shamrock was 35 when they started dating). Frye also joked that Ken's (at the time) estranged father Bob and brother Frank would be in Frye's corner for the fight. Ken Shamrock was enraged by Frye's trash talk, causing a feud between Shamrock and Frye. Since then, Frye has stated that he only resorted to personal trash talk to make Ken want to fight him. Frye said: "I saw Ken Shamrock whoop him (Dan Severn) at UFC 6 and I thought, "That's a guy I gotta fight. Anybody who can whoop Dan Severn like that has gotta be a man and I want to test my size against his size. I had the chance to talk trash and they gave me the fight; I crossed the line. I wasn't professional about it, but Ken was and after the fight, we shook hands and went our separate ways."
The feud ended on February 24, 2002, at Pride 19, where Shamrock fought Frye in the main event in a match that potentially had PRIDE Heavyweight Championship title implications (PRIDE FC considered giving the winner of this fight a title shot against Pride heavyweight champion Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira). Frye got the edge on a series of clinch battles, while Shamrock dropped down for an ankle lock and transitioned into both a kneebar and a toehold, wrenching Frye's leg badly; however, despite the damage, Frye refused to tap out and managed to knock Shamrock down in a subsequent punching exchange. The bout moved to the mat, where Shamrock attempted another ankle lock, only for Frye to try to counter with one of his own and finally refusing to tap out by sheer will until the time ran out. Shamrock lost a close split decision, and the two hugged after the fight ended, putting an end to their rivalry.
Feud with Tito Ortiz and UFC Championship
A feud between Shamrock's Lion's Den camp and Tito Ortiz began to build on January 8, 1999, at UFC 18. After upsetting top UFC fighter and Lion's Den member Jerry Bohlander, Ortiz mimicked shooting at Shamrock and put on a shirt in the octagon which read "I just f**ked your ass".
On March 5, 1999, at UFC 19, after Ortiz won by referee stoppage in his rematch with Guy Mezger, he immediately flipped off the Lion's Den corner and then put on a shirt that said "Gay Mezger is my Bitch". After Shamrock saw the shirt, he yelled into the octagon "Hey Tito, don't let me see you wearing that shirt!". Shamrock leaped onto the top of the cage, screaming at Ortiz and angrily waving his finger in Ortiz's face. Referee John McCarthy picked Ortiz up and carried him across the octagon to prevent the situation from escalating further. The situation was escalated to the point that police and security had to be called in to monitor the situation.
On November 22, 2002, at UFC 40, nearly four years after the confrontation at UFC 19, Shamrock returned to the UFC to fight Ortiz in a title match for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. Shamrock's apparent size advantage did not factor into the fight, however; Shamrock experienced difficulty cutting weight for the first time and cut too much weight, weighing in at 201 lbs, 4 lbs under the 205 lb. limit. Ortiz shed light upon his feelings before the fight in his book This is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion; "Ken Shamrock is a real good fighter. I was not intimidated by him, but I guess you can say I was a little bit afraid."
The match garnered mainstream attention from media outlets such as ESPN and USA Today. UFC President Dana White credited Shamrock for the show's success. White said, "the reason we did so well on UFC 40 was because of Ken Shamrock and the fact that everyone knew who he was." Shamrock nearly scored a knockout early in round 1, buckling Ortiz's knees with a punch and dropping him to one knee. However, Ortiz recovered shortly after and went on to dominate the fight with takedowns and ground-and-pound. Right before Round 4 started, Shamrock's cornerman threw in the towel and Ortiz successfully defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
After the fight was over, Shamrock revealed that he fought Ortiz with a torn ACL. He also seriously contemplated retirement from MMA, citing the fact that he had never lost two fights in a row in his career before and he had a buildup of injuries. In 2003, Shamrock had surgery to repair his ACL. Shamrock has said that since his knee injury, he has had difficulty shooting and taking people down, which resulted in Shamrock changing his primary style from a wrestler/grappler and moving more towards a standup fighter.
UFC Hall of Fame
On November 21, 2003, at UFC 45, Royce Gracie and Shamrock became the first inductees to the UFC Hall of Fame. UFC President Dana White said, "We feel that no two individuals are more deserving than Royce and Ken to be the charter members. Their contributions to our sport, both inside and outside the Octagon, may never be equaled."
At UFC 48 on June 19, 2004, a 40-year-old Shamrock returned to fight the 244 lb (111 kg; 17.4 st) Kimo Leopoldo in a rematch of the UFC 8 Superfight Championship match, which Shamrock won via submission due to a kneebar. Shamrock injured his shoulder during the fight against Kimo. He originally thought it was just "wear and tear", but a MRI revealed a rotator cuff tear. Shamrock had surgery to repair the tear in his shoulder.
On April 9, 2005, at The Ultimate Fighter finale Shamrock faced Rich Franklin. Shamrock applied a heel hook early in the fight that put Franklin on crutches for a week, but Franklin escaped and defeated Shamrock by a TKO.
In October of that year, Shamrock lost to Kazushi Sakuraba in Pride: Fully Loaded by TKO. The match ended with referee stoppage, but Shamrock immediately got up and protested to the referee, showing no signs of damage.
The Ultimate Fighter: Season 3
On November 19, 2005 at UFC 56, Dana White, the UFC president, announced that Shamrock would be one of the coaches (along with Tito Ortiz) for the upcoming third season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Shamrock was portrayed badly on the show, feuding with his fighters and often appearing uninterested. Shamrock admitted to doing a poor job with his fighters: "I failed them miserably, completely. So I have to figure out a way to get this...back in the driver's seat", Shamrock said during the show. Shamrock responded to his critics in an interview: "I trained three fighters that were the first three (UFC) Middleweight Champions: Jerry Bohlander, Guy Mezger and Frank Shamrock. And I’ve trained dozens of guys to be champs in other organizations. In Pancrase, I had eight fighters in the top ten at one point. I was the champion and (Masakatsu) Funaki was the number one contender. The rest were all Lion's Den fighters. My reputation doesn’t have to be spoken for or defended. The UFC and Spike TV did what they thought they needed to do for ratings, but in the end, my fans, my family and my God know exactly who I am."
On July 8, 2006, at UFC 61, the rematch between Shamrock and Ortiz took place. Shamrock lost the rematch with Ortiz in 1:18 of the first round by a technical knockout. During the match, referee Herb Dean deemed that Shamrock was no longer able to intelligently defend himself and stopped the fight. Shamrock and the crowd were furious at the early stoppage and Dana White immediately put together a rematch on television.
At UFC Fight Night 6.5 on October 10, 2006, Shamrock was defeated again by Ortiz by KO after referee John McCarthy stopped the fight following multiple undefended fist strikes. Immediately after the fight, Ortiz initially celebrated his victory with a mocking "grave digger" routine and a T-shirt that said, "Punishing Him Into Retirement" after giving him the finger. However, Shamrock approached Ortiz and, after the two talked for several seconds, Shamrock said they could put all of their animosity aside as it was always "just business", shaking hands and burying the hatchet. UFC President Dana White said the day after Shamrock's fight with Ortiz, "Last night was a turning point for the UFC. This will further drive the evolution of mixed martial arts into a mainstream sport."
Shamrock was rumored to fight Englishman Steve McDonald at UFC 75, but he was ultimately released from his UFC contract in June 2007. Shamrock stated that the UFC released him solely because of his decision to coach in the International Fight League. Shamrock then engaged in a feud with White in the media and ultimately sued the UFC for breach of contract, citing that he had one fight left on his deal that the UFC had to honor. Shamrock ultimately lost his suit against the UFC and was ordered by the court to pay Zuffa's attorney fees, totaling $175,000.
Post-UFC Career (2007–present)
In early 2007, Shamrock became the coach of the Nevada Lions for the International Fight League (IFL). Roy Nelson, one of Shamrock's fighters, was the reigning IFL Heavyweight Champion when the league was bought out and disbanded.
On March 8 at the Cage Rage 25, Shamrock fought Robert Berry, but lost in the first round by Technical knockout due to punches. It was announced on August 25 that Shamrock's next opponent would be Kimbo Slice at Elite XC Saturday Night Fight Special on October 4, 2008. Shamrock, however, was injured before the match and could not compete for at least 45 days.
Ken Shamrock Productions co-promoted an event with War Gods on February 13, 2009, in which Ken fought in the main event against 6'6, 380 lb. Ross Clifton. Shamrock knocked Clifton down with a right hand and finished him via arm bar from side control in the first round. Shamrock was then scheduled to fight Bobby Lashley, but tested positive for steroids after the Clifton fight and received a one-year suspension. Shamrock's attorney and former manager Rod Donohoo said Shamrock adamantly denied the allegations.
Shamrock faced Pedro Rizzo on July 18, 2010 at an event called Impact Fighting Championships in Sydney, Australia. Shamrock lost by TKO due to leg kicks. His next fight was against Johnathan Ivey for the USA MMA promotion on October 16, 2010. Shamrock earned a unanimous decision against Ivey, with all three judges scoring the bout 30-27. He then fought Mike Bourke on November 25, 2010 in Durban, South Africa for the King of the Cage promotion. Shamrock knocked Bourke down with a punch but was injured shortly after during a scramble and subsequently lost the bout via TKO (injury) in the first round, as he was unable to continue due to a leg injury.
Shamrock was scheduled to face Antony Rea at WEF 46 on April 22, 2011. Ken withdrew from the fight with Rea due to a staph infection. Shamrock was also planning on returning to MMA to take on Ian Freeman for ‘The Legends World Title’ on July 27 at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster, England. The fight with Freeman was cancelled due to contractual issues on Shamrock's part.
On January 8, 2015, Shamrock announced that he would fight James Quinn in the United Kingdom in a Bare Knuckle Boxing match. The match was set for April 2015, but never took place.
On February 27, 2015, during Bellator 134, it was announced that Ken would return to fight Kimbo Slice at Bellator 138 on June 19, 2015. During the fight, Shamrock had managed to take Slice down twice and the second time establish a rear naked choke. Slice refused to tap, however, and eventually wriggled free from the submission and was able catch Shamrock with one of his trademark powerful right hooks resulting in a TKO loss for Shamrock at 2:22 in the first round.
At Bellator 145, it was announced that Shamrock would face rival Royce Gracie in a trilogy fight on February 19, 2016 at Bellator 149, almost 21 years after their most recent fight. Gracie won the fight in the first round after taking Shamrock down and ending it with hammerfists. The win, however, was not without controversy as replays showed that Gracie landed an illegal groin strike to Shamrock, which resulted in him taking his opponent down. With the referee not stopping the bout, it was officially ruled a TKO victory for Gracie, the first of his MMA career. The fight ended at 2:22, exactly the same time as Ken Shamrock's earlier fight against Kimbo Slice. On March 11, 2016 it was revealed by Texas Combat Sports commission that Shamrock had failed his pre-fight drug test. His licence to fight was revoked.
Shamrock has been criticized by some in the MMA media for fighting too far past his prime. Jeremy Botter of Heavy.com wrote: "Ken Shamrock used to be the baddest man on the planet. In the early days of mixed martial arts, it was tough to find anybody who inspired more fear than Shamrock. His muscled and ripped frame...his intensity was unequaled in the sport at the time, and his bag of submissions made him a very real threat to any opponent he faced during those early years. But those early years were a long time ago, and Shamrock is no longer even a shell of the man he once was."
After the Impact FC 2 show, Dave Meltzer wrote: "Impact Fighting Championship's pay-per-view show from Sydney was a sad reminder of what the future may hold for many of today’s top stars. Ken Shamrock, Carlos Newton, Murilo Bustamante, Pedro Rizzo and Josh Barnett were all at various points either UFC champions or groomed to be top stars. But there they were, on the other side of the world, fighting before quiet, small crowds in an atmosphere that hardly felt like they were part of a booming sport."
Dana White said in 2008; "Ken Shamrock was in a beef with us over his contract. We thought he retired, he was claiming he didn't and still had one fight. And my attitude was, I'd rather pay Ken Shamrock to not fight. I'd rather pay him to not fight and just say, "stay home, Ken". Ken is way past his prime, it gets to the point where it's dangerous for that guy to still be fighting." WWE announcer Jim Ross said before Shamrock's scheduled fight with Bobby Lashley in early 2009; "There was a time that I could see the veteran, 45-year-old Shamrock, a former WWE superstar, schooling the MMA rookie Lashley but that ship has long since sailed. I have great respect for Ken but he's outstayed his welcome in the octagon, cage, whatever and needs to teach and coach and stop fighting...Kenny is fighting for one more pay day while Lashley is fighting to help establish what he hopes will be a long term, lucrative, MMA career."
In Dan Wetzel's eulogy for Kimbo Slice, he described Slice's opponent Shamrock as a "tomato can" in their scheduled October 2008 fight.
Shamrock's fighting style has varied over the course of his career. During Shamrock's prime, he was known as an explosive grappler with speed, power, agility, and physical strength. Ciesnolevicz called Shamrock "out of this world strong", and added "I was in awe of his strength, it was definitely something I will not forget." Bob Shamrock, who ran a troubled boys youth home and eventually adopted Ken as his son, said, "I have had over 900 young men live with me in the past 30 years and I have never seen anyone with (Ken's) athletic ability." Shamrock learned the art of shoot wrestling primarily from Masakatsu Funaki in Japan and used this style during his fights in the 1990s.
In 2000, after Shamrock's three-year absence from MMA while he was participating in professional wrestling with the WWF, Shamrock returned to MMA showcasing a vastly different style of fighting. Shamrock sustained a large amount of injuries during his WWF career, including a serious neck injury and several knee injuries. Shamrock has stated that his knee injuries caused him difficulty in shooting and taking people down, which caused him to shift his style towards striking and abandon his grappling pedigree.
Early career (1990–1997)
In 1988, Shamrock trained as a professional wrestler under Bob Sawyer, Buzz Sawyer, Nelson Royal, and Gene Anderson. He debuted in 1990 in Royal's North Carolina-based Atlantic Coast Wrestling promotion under the ring name Wayne Shamrock. After ACW folded, he moved on to the George Scott/Paul Jones-run company South Atlantic Pro Wrestling (which initially promoted under the banner of the North American Wrestling Association) and changed his ring name to Vince Torelli. Later he adopted the nickname "Mr. Wrestling" and a more villainous persona. In 1990, Shamrock traveled to Japan, where he competed in the Universal Wrestling Federation and its successor promotion, Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi.
Various feuds (1997–1998)
Shamrock made his WWF debut as a fan favorite on the February 24, 1997 episode of Monday Night Raw. On March 23, 1997, Shamrock, identified as Ken Shamrock and billed as "The World's Most Dangerous Man"—a name given to him by ABC News—refereed a submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13.
Shamrock returned to the ring following WrestleMania, squashing Vernon White (one of his Lion's Den students) in his debut WWF match. He went on to feud with Vader, Bret Hart, and The Hart Foundation throughout 1997. Shamrock's rivalry with the Harts led to his first WWF pay-per-view main event at In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede, and culminated in a bout between him and The British Bulldog at SummerSlam which Shamrock lost after refusing to relinquish a chokehold. Shamrock went on to wrestle Bret Hart to a no-contest in a match for the latter's WWF Championship on the October 21 edition of Raw. He again challenged for the WWF Championship in the main event of December's D-Generation X: In Your House, defeating champion Shawn Michaels by disqualification when Triple H interfered.
Throughout early 1998, Shamrock feuded with WWF Intercontinental Champion The Rock and his Nation of Domination stable. He lost to Rock via disqualification at the Royal Rumble and a victory over him at WrestleMania XIV was reversed after Shamrock continued to apply his ankle lock after The Rock had submitted.
In June 1998, Shamrock competed in the King of the Ring, eliminating Nation members Mark Henry, Kama and The Rock, as well as Jeff Jarrett, to win the tournament. Following the King of the Ring, Shamrock feuded briefly with the returning King Mabel, who had interfered to attack him in a rematch with Jarrett, and whom Shamrock defeated in a singles match injuring his leg. He next feuded with Owen Hart: Hart defeated Shamrock in a "Hart Family Dungeon match" at Fully Loaded, and Shamrock defeated Hart in a "Lion's Den match" at SummerSlam. In September, he formed a short-lived stable with Mankind and The Rock.
The Corporation and The Union (1998–1999)
Shamrock turned into a villain in October 1998 and won the vacant Intercontinental Championship on October 12, defeating X-Pac in the finals of an eight-man tournament. In November, Shamrock joined Mr. McMahon's Corporation after McMahon offered him "a family" in exchange for his services. On December 14, Shamrock and fellow Corporation member The Big Boss Man defeated the New Age Outlaws for the WWF Tag Team Championship, making Shamrock a dual champion. The duo held the titles until January 25, 1999, when they lost to Jeff Jarrett and Owen Hart.
In January 1999, Shamrock began feuding with Billy Gunn, Goldust and Val Venis, all of whom had made overtures to his kayfabe sister, Ryan. He lost the Intercontinental Championship to Venis on February 14 when Gunn, the guest referee, delivered a fast count. Shamrock took part in a four way bout for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania XV. The reigning champion Road Dogg, was able to retain his title by pinning Goldust after Shamrock and Venis were counted out while brawling outside the ring.
In mid-1999, the Corporation began feuding with The Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness, with The Undertaker's minions repeatedly ambushing Shamrock and kidnapping Ryan, sacrificing her on the Undertaker's symbol. After breaking away from the Corporation, thus becoming a heroic character once more, Shamrock went on to feud with The Undertaker at Backlash and lost.
After losing to Undertaker, Shamrock, Big Show, Mankind and Test formed The Union, a stable of wrestlers in opposition to the Corporate Ministry. The Union dissolved soon after defeating the Corporate Ministry at Over the Edge in May. Shamrock briefly feuded with Jeff Jarrett before beginning a rivalry with martial artist Steve Blackman that saw he and Blackman fight one another in a series of unorthodox matches. The feud ended at SummerSlam, where Shamrock defeated Blackman in a "Lion's Den weapons match". He went on to feud with the newly debuted Chris Jericho until departing the WWF in late 1999 in order to resume his mixed martial arts career. His departure was attributed to an injury inflicted by Jericho's bodyguard, Mr. Hughes. Ken Shamrock has since appeared in the video games WWF No Mercy, WWE '13 and WWE 2K16.
Independent circuit (2002–2013)
Shamrock returned to professional wrestling in March 2002, refereeing a Ring of Honor match between Bryan Danielson and Low Ki.
Shamrock made an appearance in the independent Wrestling company Juggalo Championship Wrestling during their flagship annual event, Bloodymania III.
In December 2013 at "Amo del Hexagono" in Costa Rica, he made his return by attacking Carlito and challenging him to a match.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2002, 2004)
In May 2002, Shamrock signed a one-year deal with the newly formed Total Nonstop Action Wrestling promotion. On the inaugural TNA pay-per-view on June 19, Shamrock won the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a Gauntlet for the Gold match and is recognized as TNA's first ever World Champion. After feuding with Malice for several weeks, Shamrock left TNA shortly after losing the title to Ron Killings on August 7. He briefly returned to TNA in June 2004 as an ally of Jeff Jarrett before leaving the company and the sport once more.
Shamrock and his adoptive brother Frank Shamrock had an estranged relationship. Ken has claimed that Frank mistreated their foster father Bob, while Frank claims that the real reason for the fallout with Ken is due to his feeling that Ken was trying to keep Frank's career down. Frank asserts that he and Ken have never been close and that his attempts to mend their relationship were rejected by Ken. As noted in Frank's documentary, "Bound by Blood," Ken and Frank have reconciled.
Shamrock has been married twice. His first marriage, to Tina Ramirez, ended in divorce in early 2002. Together they have four children: Ryan Robert (born November 24, 1988), Connor Kenneth (born September 26, 1991), Sean Garret (born June 15, 1993) and one daughter, Fallon Marie (born July 12, 1996). In 2005, Shamrock married a woman named Tonya whom he had known since childhood. He is now stepfather to her three children. In total, Shamrock has seven children and ten grandchildren.
Shamrock appeared in the films Champions, Virtuosity, Scarecrow Gone Wild, and Beyond the Mat. He also appeared in That '70s Show episode "That Wrestling Show" as Wrestler #1.
On January 14, 2010, Frank and Ken Shamrock's adoptive father, Bob Shamrock, died due to health complications from diabetes.
In 2012, Shamrock was investigated for assaulting a young woman at a strip mall in Modesto, California but was not convicted.