KEN SHAMROCK: "DANA WHITE WANTS TO BE THE GUY!"
By Percy Crawford | November 05, 2007
UFC Hall of Famer and MMA veteran Ken Shamrock talks about how open tryout have been going for IFL team and shares his thoughts on Randy Couture's resignation from the UFC as well as his own dealings with UFC management and much more. You don't want to miss it!
PC: Ken, t is an honor speaking with you. How are things going?
KS: Things are going well. I'm just getting ready to get to the fight today and get these guys going.
PC: The IFL is growing in popularity more and more. How does it feel for you to be a part of their growing success?
KS: It's exciting to be one of the founders of it when it first started and becoming one of the first champions. It's exciting to see where it's gone to so far. It's like being a proud dad watching your kid grow up.
PC: How was the turn out for your open tryouts for next seasons Nevada Lions?
KS: We held an open tryout and I do this all of the time now and it seems to be a league format now. The IFL has started to do this and it's a good format because we get to give an opportunity to a lot of people that get to display their skill. You get the opportunity to pick the guys that are going to be on your team. I've been doing this since '93 and it's worked out very well and I've found a lot of good fighters this way. I expect to do a lot more of that and the IFL has kind of brought it into their format to let people have open tryouts so they could look at more talent. It's a good system because you're always trying to make your team stronger so you're always trying to find new guys that can be that face to help your organization.
PC: Are you watching the tryouts or do you have a team of guys that take care of the tryouts?
KS: I oversee it. Before the last one, I was kind of always the guy doing it. This time, I let the fighters evaluate them. John Gunderson was one of the guys evaluating them. I evaluate myself, but I kind of stay in the back and oversee everything.
PC: Are you still training and when can we expect to see you fight again?
KS: Yeah, I'm still training. Actually, I went and got my shoulder fixed so I done that and I'm back strong 100% and ready to rock and roll so hopefully I'll get a fight some time in January or February.
PC: Could you tell me the last time you've been healthy before a fight?
KS: (laughing) It's been about 5 or 6 years I think. It's a part of the business that we as fighters have gotten into. We understand the after effects or some of the things that will present themselves after we're done fighting or why we are still fighting and it's just one of them things that you have to except because this is the career that you've chosen.
PC: What do you think would be the best advice you could give a young kid getting into this sport?
KS: I think I would have to say to young kids wanting to do something like this is it would be the same thing with the NFL or basketball or anything where you're taking a chance at making it because so very few get that opportunity to make it; make sure that you have an education. You have to make sure that you have something to fall back on. Don't ever give up on your dream, but if for some reason you happen to fall short of doing something that you wanted to do, at least you've given it the opportunity and at least you have something to fall back on. You have to keep life moving on and at least you have something to fall back on other than a fighting career.
PC: Were you surprised at the way Randy Couture left the UFC?
KS: Yeah! I was more surprised not at the way Randy left the UFC, but they did that so quickly after what they did to me. It's almost like they feel like no one can touch them. They have this Mike Tyson syndrome that they could do whatever they want. It really did surprise me that they did it that soon after they did it to me. Now, what they've done is basically open everyone's eyes because with me, it was kind of subtle and people were kind of upset it happened, but they just figured it was just another professional athlete that got a problem in the office and things just didn't work out and now he's gone. I expressed my feelings a little bit about what they did to me, but it didn't have the impact that it does now that they've did it to another superstar. The disrespect that that they done to me went unnoticed, but now that it's happened to Randy, it's almost amplified on what they've done; which is good for me. With one person saying it, people listen obviously, but not with the effect of them doing it to another person so quickly after. It just kind of reinforces what I was saying that they did to me because they did it to me. It just kind of shocked me that they would be that stupid to do something to Randy that they did to me so closely to when they did it to me.
PC: I saw a comment you made about no UFC Hall of Famers being involved with the company anymore and I never thought about that before. Can you elaborate on that some more?
KS: It's almost like they want to erase the history. They don't want anything to do with Bob Meyrowitz and the people that helped create the UFC. It wasn't Zuffa or Dana White. It was Bob Meyrowitz that came in and did the production and started this thing. It's almost like they want to erase the history of everything that ever happened prior to that. They came in and did the Hall of Fame, but it was almost like they inducted people into the Hall of Fame, but then they just dropped it. It was almost like a way to just push everything away. It was like here you go and then bye! It just doesn't make any sense to me because in any sports history Hall of Fame or just retired, they all have guys that are involved in some part of the production that gives people comfortable history of their sport. The UFC has erased anything with anybody from the past. Boxing does it with George Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Sugar Ray Leonard. These guys are involved with production one way or another because they built the sport. The UFC don't do that. It's like Dana White wants to be the guy. He doesn't want the Hall of Famer getting in there and getting all of the attention; he wants that. It's a scary thought when you look at it like none of the Hall of Famers are involved with the UFC. People that have fattened their pockets are basically being kicked to the curb. It's like, "we're done with you and enjoy your life because this is ours and just because you got out there and got your nose broke, bled and sweated for us, we don't need you anymore."
PC: You don't ever see yourself fighting in the UFC again Ken?
KS: Absolutely not; not while the management is there that they have now. They're very disrespectful. They have no respect for the people that have helped them build the organization and it's almost like they throw their name around and pretend like they're tough guys and challenge fighters and say that they're afraid of them, but where does that…if you want to be a damn fighter, then throw on the gloves and shutup and stop trying to be a promoter and a fighter.
PC: What did you think of Dana White and Tito Ortiz possibly fighting in a boxing match? Do you think that was a publicity stunt?
KS: No, that was an ego stunt. That was Dana White trying to get his face out there and make everyone think that he's tough. He's just one of those kind of guys that's letting this stuff get to his head. He's not a tough guy. These guys do this for a living. This is their careers. This is what they do every single day; they get up in the morning and train. They live it, sleep it and dream it. Dana White just all of a sudden gets up one day, and things are going well, and all of a sudden he wants to be a tough guy? It doesn't work like that.
PC: A lot of people say, "If only you knew what Dana White went through in a typical day." Do you counter that by saying, "if only you knew what a fighter went through in a day"?
KS: Yeah, you know everybody has a job to do. If you do your job well, then you should get kudos. Everybody should get paid for it and you should get recognized for it. Dana White and Zuffa have done a very good job with the UFC and where it's going, but what they haven't done a good job on is their personal skills with the people that have helped them get to where they are now. They don't seem to want to turn around and recognize that they didn't do it themselves. They had to have people do it for them. They did their job, kudos, but somebody else did their job so they could be where they are at. We understand that they had to do their job so that we could get where we're at. It's called a team and they don't understand that team does not have an "I" in it.
PC: Do you think the purchase of Pride by Zuffa was good or bad for the sport of mixed martial arts?
KS: It's bad because the only reason the UFC bought Pride is because it's the same mentality that you're seeing going on now; that they're God and if they buy everything up, no one can compete with them and everyone else just sits down and shuts up. If you don't sit down and shut up, we're not going to use you and we're going to crush everybody that tries to oppose us. That's not a bad attitude to have, but the problem with having that attitude is that you don't want any competition because you want all of the money for yourself, that's fine, but you know what, the guys that are going to work for you, you need to treat them well. You have to create a team that's going to help you control the universe and if you don't take care of that team that's going to help you control the universe, they're going to create their own.
PC: I enjoy your interviews because you always speak your mind.
KS: Thank you!
PC: I know you have a busy day and I'm not going to hold you much longer. It was an honor speaking to you. Is there anything you want to say in closing?
KS: Fans have got to understand that the fighters go out there and they fight their hearts out because this is what they love to do and the people in the UFC have to do their job in order for us to have a job, but on that same sentence, the people in the UFC have to understand if we're doing our job, that means that they have a job. The fans are the ones that are going to suffer in this whole thing. The fans have to stand behind their fighters. The fighters are the ones that entertain them; it's not Dana White and it's not Zuffa that's entertaining them. We're out there getting punched in the face and wake up every morning to go train and come in there to entertain them. Stand behind your fighter's man. Don't let the organization come in there and bully them around.