Documentary stirs ghosts still haunting Shamrock

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tonight Spike TV will debut a special documentary, Frank Shamrock: Bound by Blood, which takes an in depth look at the life and career of the former UFC champion. Shamrock also confronts his past when he sits on one one with foster brother Ken Shamrock, whom he hadn’t spoken to in fifeteen years. Sports Illustrated’s Loretta Hunt was privy to the documentary early and expressed her thoughts in this piece of

As the documentary climaxes to the dramatic final sit-down between estranged adoptive brothers (sadly, whittled down from 90 to nine minutes), there’s no denying that substantial emotional wreckage has piled up on both sides. This runs much deeper than sibling rivalry. There is talk of humiliation, of cowardice, of jealousy and family betrayal. It’s a riveting discussion between two athletes recognized for their theatrics, (whether subtle or not), which makes it difficult to predict whether the tete-a-tete will ring completely authentic among more skeptical viewers, especially when the subject of a potential fight is reintroduced.

Motivations might be questioned: both were compensated to participate in this project. However, neither Frank nor Ken suggested Ken’s inclusion at the project’s inception, said Spike TV Executive Producer Terry Minogue.

“In our first production meetings, I asked if we could at least get Ken on camera,” said Minogue. “When we found out from Frank that they hadn’t spoken in years, that’s when we broached reuniting them on camera. Getting them both in the same room together was the only thing that was produced about that.”

Why Frank and Ken couldn’t have met behind closed doors, away from the lights and cameras and paychecks will be a topic for debate. We can all believe that some things are best left out of the public eye, but that’s easier said than done. For those that have spent most of their lives in the spotlight, maybe this is where they feel the safest. In the end, it’s Ken who probably puts it best.

“I’m not sure we could have gotten it done any other way than like this, face-to-face,” Ken says, as he drives away from the scene. “No way of skirting around.”

For MMA enthusiasts, Shamrock will be an enlightening hour. It also takes a more serious tone than Spike’s previous MMA programming. But at its heart, Shamrock is not about MMA. It’s about love and hurt, and finding forgiveness and acceptance in the face of dysfunction. For Frank, on his own road of self-improvement, it was about finding peace.

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