Frank Shamrock: UFC plucking out the soul of Strikeforce
15 years ago Frank Shamrock won the UFC light heavyweight championship, and was undefeated in title defenses, capping his run with a victory over Tito Ortiz.
Then he fell out with the company, and drifted. After six fights in under two years with the UFC, he had just two fights in the next half decade.
Then Frank Shamrock had a rebirth, in Strikeforce.
He fought as the headliner in Strikeforce 1, knocking out Cesar Gracie in just 21 seconds. A year later he beat Phil Baroni to take the middleweight championship.
Eventually, back to back losses ushered a move to the broadcast booth. Then ZUFFA bought Strikeforce, and the promotions top stars migrated over the the UFC, and those that didn’t publicly said they wished they were.
In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Shamrock struck a rueful, resigned note.
“In a perfect world, (Strikeforce) should live on and all the sweat and tears and the soul we put into it should give value somewhere else. In the world of big business, it’s probably going to get wrapped up, rolled up and disappear. You know, like many of the other brands in this industry that were used to consolidate and build another brand.
“Sadly, it’s just business. I don’t think it’s going to live on.
“At one point, Strikeforce was competing, it was number two. We did it in such a quick period of time and the intention was right. The sport came together to create Strikeforce and Scott (Coker) had the opportunity, and I had a few years left in the cage. But, it will never happen again. That moment is gone. I think that’s the toughest thing for me to accept, is that moment is gone.”
“Strikeforce is alive and it has a great soul. It’s just that they’ve been picking the soul out of it and taking the talent away from it and now it’s a shell. It can definitely be rebuilt. Strikeforce was amazing. The idea of it is still, it still has value. But the way it is being treated, they are plucking all the value out of it.”
“The hardest part for me is that I started working and I didn’t get to finish. But, it’s big business. Showtime, they are in the business of ratings and growing a product and growing their network and the UFC hasn’t been supporting that. They’ve put out some demands that are just, you know, they haven’t been amenable. But the relationship is frayed.
“I don’t know who loses out except for the fans when they cancel a show like this. I think (Showtime cancelling the Strikeforce event after Gilbert Melendez was injured) is a telling example of what’s going to happen in our future. You know, Gilbert’s the star and if we can’t have the star, then Showtime doesn’t want to play.”