Kakutougi Plus Vol.10
Dec . 2000
Translated by Yoko Kondo
gSakuraba is only one left who I really want to
Q: Havenft 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 Ifm OK now.
Q: Then you didnft do
Frank: Thatfs right.
I only did some boxing, submission technique, and conditioning a little
Q: Are you teaching?
Frank: Yes, Ifm
teaching a class from Monday to Thursday at my new gym in [sic]
the LA international airport.
Q: It opened in
September, didnft it? Are there many students?
Frank: There are only
18 new students, because it has just started and I havenft 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
Frank: Right, without
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 canft 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
Frank: Yes, thatfs
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.
Frank: Yes, itfs a
dog style (laughing).
Q: I see. It is the
note: sorry, I have no idea what this means]
position in amateur wrestling, isnft it?
Frank: Thatfs 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 Classich 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: Ifm trying,
but I still donft 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
couldnft 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
Q: What a waste!
Frank: Yes. I was
Q: Thatfs too bad. [Translatorfs
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 didnft seem to be in good
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. Thatfs why his technique was
not so skilled as usual. But Sakuraba is much stronger than Renzo. Renzo
had no chance to win. But then Sakurabafs finish was fantastic. I like
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 donft
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, thatfs
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, didnft 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 donft
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 Titofs wrestling technique is too good.
Kondofs 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 didnft happen in
Frank: I knew you would
mention it (laughing). I know, Ifm 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 didnft make contact with Pride.
Q: Is that so?
Frank: Yes (a bitter
smile). Then I called Pride myself for the negotiation, but we
couldnft reach the agreement in terms of money. We broke off after
Q: Mr. Morishita, the
president of DSE, said that you demanded money a few times as much as he
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
didnft 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.
Q: Thatfs too bad.
Frank: Yes, I was so
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
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. Thatfs 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
Q: Dan takes Sakuraba
Frank: Yes, he takes
Sakuraba down, and just holds on (laughing).
Q: Canft he finish
Frank: No, he canft.
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
Q: Do you think there
is somebody but you in the middle class who can defeat Sakuraba?
Q: Vanderlei Silva, or
Alan Goes, for example?
Frank: No, there is no
other complete fighter like Sakuraba. Thatfs 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 hasnft fought
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, didnft 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 canft 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 couldnft 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: Thatfs 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
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 donft you
go and see the fights in A block which is scheduled the day after
Frank: Yes, thatfs 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
donft want to fight with anybody except Sakuraba.fh]
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
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
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
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.)
(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo, all rights