Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Interview: MMA Legend & Showtime Sports Analyst Frank Shamrock

By: Sarah S.

I’m a big fan of MMA. I got in to it after getting into Kenpo and Boxing a couple years ago. I really love participating in combat sports, which is something I had no idea I’d actually enjoy until it happened. Since then I’ve been watching UFC, Strikeforce, &Elite XC fights when I can. The sport is definitely not for the weak and is always a spectacle. One of my favorite fighters is Frank Shamrock. When I picked up the Elite XC DVD, and watched him knock out Renzo Gracie in one hit, I was in love! The man is a machine and a true pioneer of the sport. After much seeking and pursuit, I finally got a hold of The Legend himself and did my proudest interview to date. It was an honor and quite insightful. In retrospect, this is the best exclusive Times Beach has to offer… and from a man who’s trading card I still have sitting in my desk drawer.

SR: How’s NY been treating you so far?
FS: It’s been very cold. The coldest winter they’ve ever had. Everything else has been excellent; really good.

SR: Were combat sports always a big part of your life?
FS: I got into training in 1994 when I was 22, I could actually tell you the day; it was April 5th of 1994. And my brother was doing wrestling since he was a young kid. We’re both adopted so I didn’t see him until I was about 13 and I didn’t start training with him until I was about 22. My whole career with training and everything began at 22.

SR: How do you feel about the MMA culture that is evolving and growing?
FS: Well I like it, I mean it’s certainly a very youthful and edgy culture. I think it’s what our youth is doing. They certainly want to be athletic and  be able to protect themselves and have confidence and do something that’s social, fun, sexy and exciting .

SR: What are your thoughts on female MMA fighters?
FS: I think they’re fantastic! I like when [females] fight because I think women have a different experience with fighting, women don’t normally fight it’s against their nature. So when they do fight , it’s usually with much more intensity, emotion and desire.

SR: There are many people who “naysay” when it comes to females fighting in MMA. So you would definitely say that you feel it should be equal for both men and women to be a part of this sport?
FS: Of course. Martial arts is about developing your body to be the best you can be and then studying an art form along the way. I think everyone should do that and women in particular. I think it’s most important for them because they’re the ones that really need to protect themselves.

SR: Are there any other sports you’re involved in?
FS: Nope! This is it, I don’t watch any other sports, I don’t play any other sports, this is all that I do!

SR: What is the proudest moment, to date, in your career so far?
FS: Wow. Hm, I would say the proudest moment was doing the first legalized MMA fight in the state of California. We lobbied hard and really made an effort and I was the first ever martial arts show that was sanctioned in the state of California. At that we sold a live attendance record of 18,265 seats. Not only that but I knocked out my opponent in 29 seconds. Yeah, it was a good night!

SR: That’s awesome! Okay, so we’ve heard the proudest moment in your career how about the proudest moment of your personal life?
FS: It would be the birth of my daughter in 2008. I was at a place in my life where I could take a year off and do nothing but watch her grow. That was the best life experience I ever had.

SR: What other projects have you been working on?
FS: Well I work for “Showtime” as a sports analyst, I run an entertainment company which is why I’m doing this New York move. And I’m also working with the legislation in New York to help legalize [MMA] in the state of New York. I also do a bunch of charity work and we just launched  an anti-bullying campaign which I’m very passionate about right now.

SR: I was just going to ask you about that! So this is one of the causes you’re really supporting right now?
FS: Yeah, well it’s a major problem and I feel that if we’re not part of the solution then we’re probably part of the problem ha ha! We’re teaching people to use their bodies in a certain way and you have to build respect for that; you have to have respect for yourself and be responsible for what you do. As a martial artist one of the first things you learn is respect and to be responsible for you, your techniques and your partners and you learn to be a good human being. I just feel like we have a tool here in martial arts that builds  confidence, builds character, builds communities and it stops bullying. That’s one solution, another solution we’ve brought aboard is information on They’ve got the best information in the world on bullying. We’re going to follow up with teaching some social programs on martial arts and some community programs where people can get connected, cause part of bullying is people don’t tell anybody. They’re ashamed because they feel weak you know, but when you’re in a strong community other people go “Don’t do that. You‘re wrong.” and they don’t want their friends picked on. Our society is getting further and further apart and we’re getting more and more digital. We’ve got to get back to connecting one to one so that we‘re not picking on each other.

SR: Very true. Are there any other charities or causes that you’re advocating right now or is most of your energy going into the Anti-bullying campaign?
FS: Well, we do an autism drive two or three times a year, we always do breast cancer awareness month, and always do events for the American Cancer Society and recently we started doing work for “Turning Wheels For Kids”, the nonprofit that builds bicycles for inner city youths. As a kid, I never had a bicycle, I stole all my bicycles, I only know what the feels like and I see us building a bike for a kid that was never going to have a chance in life and him driving that bike to a martial arts school and him building a strong community and living in a  community.

SR: Where’s your favorite place to visit?
FS: Oh, I’d say Hawaii.

SR: Any particular reason? The atmosphere, weather?
FS: I think equally I’m Hawaiian and the atmosphere-- just everything about it. The speed of life, the temperature, the ocean-- it just makes me feel really good.

SR: So I have to ask, what are your favorite musical artists of the moment?
FS: Of the moment? I’m not listening to any music at the moment. The music rests. Which is bizarre because it hasn’t happened to me in years. When I was training it was always music with a beat, Eminem, anything that had some aggressive energy to it and a nice beat. Hip hop, 50 Cent, Jay-Z-- anything with a good vibe. And then when I lift weights I listen to love songs. I read this scientific study (and I believed it) that love is a stronger emotion than anything else. So I get all lovey when I lift weights and I don’t sing it weird. Then I listen to calming and meditative music when I’m reading and relaxing or doing therapy in my body. And country music, whenever old country music comes on, I’ll listen to that.

SR: What’s one thing most people are surprised to find out about you?
FS: People freak out when they find out that I don’t watch any sports. They’re like “what do you mean? You’re one of the greatest athletes in the world!” And I’m like “Yeah, but there’s only one sport for me.”. I don’t have time for all the sports, there’s only one sport I’m working really hard on.

SR: If you could see a fight matched between any two people, dead or alive, who would it be?
FS: Dead or alive! I would have Bruce Lee fight Mohammed Ali. Yeah. That would be it for me.

SR: Wow, that would probably rip a hole in space time continuum..
FS: Yeah, it would probably collapse the entire universe but I would still go see it.

SR: Ha ha! It would be worth it!
FS: Ha Ha!

SR: If you could change one thing in the world today what would it be?
FS: Hm… I would take away all religion and replace them with just love.

SR: Would you say that you’re a religious person or a spiritual person?
FS: Yeah, I’d say I’m a spiritual kind of guy. I study quite a few religions; I have the utmost respect for them and I really think that God is love. If you could cut out all the other stuff and just replace it with love, we’d be a lot further.

SR: My last question: What is in the future for Frank Shamrock?
FS: Well, first, I got to legalize MMA in New York. That will take a couple years. Then I’m going to become a world renowned sports analyst, then I’m going to work on like Nightline and stuff for special effects-- I just always thought that was cool to do. Then I’m going to do some acting and action stuff cause I think I got to start working out more and that would be a really good reason to work out more. And then 5-6 years down the road, I’ll probably move back to LA or Hawaii and just kind of chill and watch my little girl go to school, teach her to box-- things like that.