GTR Archives 2000-2020

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Global Training Report

Presents

Interview with

Frank Shamrock

From Gong Kakutougi Plus Vol.10

Dec . 2000

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Translated by Yoko Kondo

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gSakuraba is only one left who I really want to fight with.h

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Q: Havenft seen you in a while. How are you doing?

Frank: I had a cold the last two months and suffered from a terrible cough, but Ifm OK now.

Q: Then you didnft do much training?

Frank: Thatfs right. I only did some boxing, submission technique, and conditioning a little bit.

Q: Are you teaching?

Frank: Yes, Ifm teaching a class from Monday to Thursday at my new gym in [sic] the LA international airport.

Q: It opened in September, didnft it? Are there many students?

Frank: There are only 18 new students, because it has just started and I havenft advertised anywhere. The students got together by word of mouth. But we will hold a grand opening while I am in Japan, so everything will start from then.

Q: Will it be held without you?

Frank: Right, without me (laughing).

Q: Do you often go to your old home San Jose.

Frank: Yes, I often go there for training, teaching, and testing students. Moreover, there will be a submission tournament in San Jose on Nov. 15.

Q: Is it something like the Abu Dhabi combat?

Frank: Yes it is. It is an amateur fighting, but an Abu Dhabi style. But you canft get a point by position. Points are given only for throwing and attempts at submissions. So it should be exciting. And it is not allowed to be at a standstill over 10 seconds.

Q: Does a referee break it?

Frank: Yes, thatfs right.

Q: It sounds like Rings KOK [King of Kings].

Frank: Yes. The only difference is that in case of  nothing is happening on the ground the referee will restart the fight from the referee's position.

Q: Refereefs position?

Frank: Yes, itfs a dog style (laughing).

Q: I see. It is the "pertail" [translator's note: sorry, I have no idea what this means] position in amateur wrestling, isnft it?

Frank: Thatfs right (laughing). We are going to have a seminar on Nov. 4 at American Kick Boxing Academy in San Jose which is my training center, and have this tournament gFrank Shamrock Grappling Classich next day at Cupertino, in the outskirts of San Jose.

Q: It sounds interesting. By the way, what happened to the vale tudo tournament you were supposed to participate in?

Frank: Ifm trying, but I still donft know if I can do it or not. As I said to you before, I booked San Jose Arena (an Arena big enough for 22,000 people). But I couldnft open it, because the Athletic Commission in California announced that they would postpone an approval for the opening of NHB tournament for six months. I was so disappointed. I paid $25,000 to book that place.

Q:  What a waste!

Frank: Yes. I was shocked (laughing).

Q: Thatfs too bad. [Translatorfs note: the interviewer remarks that when he interviewed Frank in June, he said he wanted to fight with either Sakuraba, Kondo Yuki, Tamura, or Dan Henderson in this tournament.] By the way, did you watch the fight between Sakuraba and Renzo?

Frank: Yes, I did. It was a technical and great fight. Sakuraba didnft seem to be in good condition, though.

Q: He is from Tohoku district [north east part of Japan, which is cooler than Tokyo], so he looked very tired from the summer heat in Tokyo and the constant assaults from the media.

Frank: I see (laughing). He has become very famous. Thatfs why his technique was not so skilled as usual. But Sakuraba is much stronger than Renzo. Renzo had no chance to win. But then Sakurabafs finish was fantastic. I like it (laughing).

Q: Then how about the fight between your brother, Ken, and Fujita?

Frank: It was a good fight until my brother quit. Fujita fought smart and he is very strong. But Ken gave it up halfway. It made me very disappointed.

Q: I wonder if his condition was bad.

Frank: No, I donft think so. His fighting spirit was weak rather than his physical condition, I think.

Q: Do you mean his fighting spirit was weak when he got a punch?

Frank: No. It was when he got tired. Ken is a very powerful fighter and wrestler. He has never fought with a fighter who is more powerful than him so far. He always held down his opponent by power. But Fujita is more powerful than Ken, and overwhelmed him by power. Fujita made Ken tired by his freakish strength [translator's note: the Japanese translation of whatever Frank said was "kairiki", which means something like supernatural force] and wrestling technique. Ken was tired and lost his fighting spirit, I think. So, maybe he got sick of getting punches.

Q: So did he make the second throw in the towel?

Frank: Yes, thatfs right. He was so tired that he felt it impossible to avoid a lot of punches if he continued the fight. Anyway, disappointment!

Q: You also watched the fight between Kondo Yuki and Alexandre Cafe in UFC, didnft you?

Frank: Yes I did. I was there as a TV commentator. It was a great fight. Kondo was very good.

Q: Do you think he changed a lot compared to the time when you fought with him before?

Frank: No, I donft think he changed a lot, but he became more skillful. He was more confident than before, and faster. He adjusted to a new style of fighting, and became strong in Ultimate style.

Q: Do you mean he got used to a fighting style in NHB?

Frank: Yes, I do. He transformed himself into a good form.

Q: Kondo was originally supposed to fight with Tito Ortiz in UFC this time. If it happens, do you think he will have a chance to win?

Frank: I think he will. But Tito is too big. And Titofs wrestling technique is too good. Kondofs wrestling technique is not good enough. He is good as a striker and his submission technique is good too. But his wrestling and jiu-jitsu technique are not so good. Maybe Tito would push him to the fence and give him the rain of punches. Then it would end with TKO.

Q: I see. By the way, it is too bad that the fight between Sakuraba and you didnft happen in August.

Frank: I knew you would mention it (laughing). I know, Ifm sorry to disappoint you. It is partly my mistake. When I talked about it in June, the negotiation between my lawyer and Pride side was supposed to be under way. But then it transpired that my lawyer did nothing. As I got an offer from Pride, I left it to my lawyer. But he didnft make contact with Pride.

Q: Is that so?

Frank: Yes (a bitter smile). Then I called Pride myself for the negotiation, but we couldnft reach the agreement in terms of money. We broke off after all.

Q: Mr. Morishita, the president of DSE, said that you demanded money a few times as much as he expected.

Frank: It might be true (laughing). But I just demanded amount of money which can be considered adequate for me who is the one who will go to fight in Japan. Anyway we didnft reach the agreement, so I got started on the next plan that I would call Sakuraba to California for fighting. My new company, Strike Force, worked for the preparation and booked San Jose Arena. But it was postponed six months by the Commission after all.

Discouraging!

Q: Thatfs too bad.

Frank: Yes, I was so disappointed.

Q: But there are some people among the Japanese fan who think that you demanded unreasonable amount of money to avoid the fight with Sakuraba because you are scared of him.

Frank: No way! Sakuraba is only one who I really want to fight with. I want to do only what is worth doing. Fighting with Sakuraba is a challenge to me. He is a strong and exciting fighter with a great technique. I think it would be a hard fight. Thatfs why I want to fight with him. That is more important than money to me. I want to fight with Sakuraba rather than with Rickson. Fighting with Sakuraba is a challenge to me, but Rickson is not so hard to fight with.

Q: I see. It is rumored that Dan Henderson would fight with Sakuraba. If it happens, what do you think will be the outcome?

Frank: It must be boring (laughing).

Q: Dan takes Sakuraba downc..

Frank: Yes, he takes Sakuraba down, and just holds on (laughing).

Q: Canft he finish Sakuraba?

Frank: No, he canft. Moreover, his punches are not strong. But I think Sakuraba can finish Dan with submission or win by a decision of judge as a result of trying submission.

Q: Do you think there is somebody but you in the middle class who can defeat Sakuraba?

Frank: Mmmmm..

Q: Vanderlei Silva, or Alan Goes, for example?

Frank: No, there is no other complete fighter like Sakuraba. Thatfs why he wins every fight. Punching, kicking, wrestling, and knee, all are equally great. His punches are not so strong, but he punches any way and maintains good position. But what Henderson has is only wrestling, and Vanderlei is just a striker, and Goes has only jiu-jitsu. No other fighters get out of one style. On the other hand, Sakuraba and I are superior in all style. Maybe we are almost on the same level. There are no other fighters comparable to us. Tito might reach our level within two years, but not yet now.

Q: How about Bas Rutten?

Frank: He is a good fighter. He is an all-round fighter too, but too old now.

Q: He hasnft fought lately.

Frank: Right, and he got hurt in various places of the body.

Q: It seems that he is making a career as an actor like you.

Frank: Yes, I meet him at a movie-related party (laughing). But Sakuraba is too strong for Bas.

Q: Who is a promising fighter of the middle class in the new generation?

Frank: First of all, it is Kondo. He will be very strong within two years. Tito is strong too. They are the new generation.

Q: Vanderlei also knocked out Mezger, didnft he?

Frank: Yes, he is strong too. Especially he showed a stronger power in August. So there are many new stars in the middle class. Sakuraba and I are almost the old generation. The young and new generation, which is about five years younger than us, are gaining power now. They are about 22 or 23 years old. There are many strong fighters. And they are becoming a total fighter rapidly, while the old generation canft get out of one style. So Sakuraba and I will be categorized into the old generation too (laughing). And everybody will be a total fighter after all.

Q: What did you think about the fight between Vanderlei and Guy Mezger?

Frank: It was very good. Vanderlei fought smart. He took Guy into his style. Conversely speaking, that is a mistake Guy made.

Q: Guy took Vanderlei down, but he couldnft keep the fight on the ground. Vanderlei escaped from it well.

Frank: Yes, Vanderlei has a good skill to avoid a tackle and his punches are powerful. Guy is also a good striker, but his punches are not so powerful. So it was a big mistake for Guy to exchange blows with Vanderlei. He should have fought it out by kicking, side kick, etc.

Q: Keeping a distance?

Frank: Thatfs right. He should have kept a distance, and then gone for tackles again and again. His fighting strategy was a big mistake.

Q: By the way, when will be your next fight? All Japanese fans are waiting for it.

Frank: So am I (laughing).

Q: How about fighting in B block of Rings KOK?

Frank: Well, there are too many big fighters. Besides I have no offer yet (laughing).

Q: Then why donft you go and see the fights in A block which is scheduled the day after tomorrow?

Frank: Yes, thatfs a good idea. [the interviewer now comments that gin fact, he showed up there. When Yanagisawa, who used to be a friend in his Pancrase time, won his first match, Frank came up to the corner to wish him good luck and helped him as a second in his next match. During a break, Frank had a little talk with Rings CEO, Maeda. When Maeda asked him who he was going to fight next?, Frank answered, enothing is decided yet, but I donft want to fight with anybody except Sakuraba.fh]

Q: So you have no interest in anybody except Sakuraba?

Frank: I have done a lot of fights so far. Now a new career is just ahead of  me, maybe as an actor or something like that. Fighting is kind of a hobby to me now. I fight because I like it, and I like to challenge myself.  It isn't  important for me to fight with guys like Tamura or Dan Henderson. It doesn't excite me, and in fact I already fought with them before (Frank defeated Henderson in seconds at Contenders in USA, and drew with Tamura under the Rings rules.) But  fighting with Sakuraba excites me, because I might be defeated by submission. It makes me train harder. I have no motivation to train so much for fights with weaker opponents.

Q: Do you plan to start negotiations with Pride again?

Frank: Yes, in fact I am supposed to meet them tomorrow night.

Q: Is that so?

Frank: Yes (laughing). Last time I told everybody out of my joy that I would fight with Sakuraba, but it didn't happen. So many people asked me, "Hey, Frank, what's going on?" (laughing). I have to be careful this time. I will keep my mouth shut until it is officially decided. I'll just meet and talk with them this time. I don't know what will be going on there. I will be so happy if the fight with Sakuraba comes true.

Q: I hope it will happen.

Frank: So do I. I can't wait so long. I might get fat (laughing). Both Sakuraba and I might gain a lot of weight and bump against each other like Sumo wrestlers (laughing).

Q:  I hope it will be realized before you get fat. Thank you for being with us today. (According to a talk with Frank later, he met with officials from the Pride organization and they agreed to sit down at the negotiating table. Frank also told them that Sakuraba is only one left who he wants to fight with. Discussions will continue, but there will be no fight this year even if they come to an agreement.  It would be in the first half of next year.)

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(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.

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