Friday, September 12, 1997

Ken Shamrock, Ultimate Fighting Champion

Harris: Joining us now live on our guest microphone is Ken Shamrock, who has the title of "Ultimate Fighting Champion" and "The World's Most Dangerous Man." Hi, Ken.

Shamrock: Thanks for having me.


Harris: I now have the title of "Man Who Once Interviewed The World's Most Dangerous Man." How do you get the title of "World's Most Dangerous Man?"

Shamrock: I was featured in a CBS special where they had the world's most dangerous events and most dangerous job and they also had the world's most dangerous man. And I wasn't sure when they first called me and said, "We want to do an interview with the world's most dangerous man." And I'm thinking, "I don't know, it doesn't sound too good, like I'm a vicious guy or something." I said, "Well, what are you guys going to be doing this about?" And so they basically wanted to show the lighter side of Ken Shamrock and then show me in the ring fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is brutal. So, they did that and did a very good piece on it, and I got the nickname, The World's Most Dangerous Man.

Harris: How do you go on step number one on the road to becoming the World's Most Dangerous Man or even the Ultimate Fighting Champion? Is it kind of like Superman? Were you once the World's Most Dangerous Boy? And that series did okay and then you move on?

Shamrock: Well, it was something like that where people didn't really want anything to do with me when I was a kid.

Harris: How did you get involved in Ultimate Fighting? And let's just clear up for people what Ultimate Fighting is. You can do anything in the ring except what Mike Tyson did in the last fight, right?

Shamrock: Yeah, Mike Tyson broke the rules, every event. Basically the rules are no eye gouging, no biting, but everything else you can do.

Harris: You can kick, you can thump, you can do any physical damage you can do. What do you have to do, you don't have to kill them, what is the objective? To make them leave the ring?

Shamrock: Yeah, with their heads between their legs. Basically you have three ways of losing: you get knocked out, you either tap out or your corner guy throws in the towel.

Harris: And everybody did this with you. Now, how big a guy are you?

Shamrock: I'm about 230 pounds and about 6 foot.

Harris: I could take you. I could take you right here.

Shamrock: You know what? I would let you because I ain't giving you any money.

Harris: Have you been in situations like that before, where people have taken you on and then the lawsuit came?

Shamrock: No. Actually I did when I was at a younger age, but as I got older, I got wiser and realized that when people come up to someone who is a professional fighter and decide they want to try and kick his butt, it's a no win situation for me and a win-win situation for them. They kick my butt and they get a reputation. I kick their butt and they get lots of money.

Harris: Right, and besides that, there's no way for you to come out looking positive. Because if they kick your butt, it's "Oh, you're really Mr. World's Most Dangerous Man," and if you kick their butt it's, "Well, that guy was smaller than you, so of course you kicked his butt."

Shamrock: Right and then I get to pay him millions of dollars after that.

Harris: Now I realize that I have been wasting my money on agents and lawyers to deal with my contract. I should just bring you in for negotiation time!

Shamrock: I'll be your little prop man there for negotiations.

Harris: That's all I need. I think that's a great idea for anybody going into negotiations, "Hi, boss! How are you today? Who's that over in the corner? Oh, you know Ken, the World's Most Dangerous Man?"

Shamrock: He's my new agent.

Harris: That's right.

Shamrock: Although, you know Paul, I would have to take 50% of your money.

Harris: You know Ken, if you wanted 50%, then I'm sure you could take 50%. But tell me how you got started in this. Were you just hanging around? What were you doing before you became an ultimate fighting guy?

Shamrock: I worked in a group home for kids who are in trouble. That's basically where I came from also. I help kids come out of trouble, because I've been there and I know what they are thinking and so I helped them through that, with my dad, and I got this opportunity. I fought in Japan for 8 years.

Harris: Boxing?

Shamrock: No, actually, it was the same kind of event, just open hand strikes and grappling on the ground, and various martial arts kind of stuff. Then they started it here in the U.S. except with no rules except no eye gouging, and no biting. I sent in my application and they accepted me and I've done nothing except go up from there.

Harris: Did you win at the first one?

Shamrock: No, actually I lost and then I was at the party after the event, and I'm very driven, I like to be the best at what I do. But I remember standing at the after hours party and watching the winner. This guy and his wife do this special dance with everyone standing around watching and it was eating at me, because I knew my abilities and I knew that I could do better. And the whole time I was sitting there, I was saying, this will never ever happen again. And it hasn't.

Harris: You've never been beaten since then?

Shamrock: No.

Harris: And how many years has it been?

Shamrock: It's been four and a half years and about 27-30 fights.

Harris: Now, when you're in the ring and people are doing all these things except the eye gouging and the biting, can you kick the guy in the, uh...?

Shamrock: You never watched it? Oh man, check this out. That's like the prime spot everyone wants to hit. I remember one time, in one of my fights, I was backed up against the octagon. That's what they call it because its like a chain link fence. And this guy reared back and tried to hit me in the groin. But I'm smart, you see? I was wearing a steel cup, and this guy reared back and all I hear is clank, and owwwww!

Harris: Wouldn't everyone want to wear a steel cup?

Shamrock: Oh yeah, it's a special kind of cup, and when I fought over in Japan, that's what they use. It's a string tie and you tie it up real tight and so if the guy kicks you, it's steel and you won't get hurt. I just remember that clank and then I put him in a guillotine and proceded to choke him out.

Harris: That's brains, that's using your head.

Shamrock: Yeah, come on, hit me again!

Harris: And the next time he comes at you, you're wearing a spike down there. Take any shot you want.

Shamrock: Right.

Harris: So, it's just like ultimate fighting or it's WWF now?

Shamrock: WWF.

Harris: So, they have taken down the steel fence now?

Shamrock: Yeah, and I'm not wearing a steel cup, so no more groin shots.

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal.