Monday, 13 October 2008 16:38
I had a nice little chat today with Frank Shamrock and we talked about the Kimbo fight and the upcoming Brother vs Brother fight he'll be having with Ken.
TheGARV: Hey, Frank. Man, what a crazy night that was down in Florida.
Frank: (Laughs) Man, it was sure was. Probably the wildest night I've ever done.
TheGARV: After Ken dropped out of the fight, you immediately volunteered to take his place. So it seems like Kimbo's team had a choice between you and Seth. I know that before they agreed to fight Seth they said they needed to see tapes first. Was the choice to fight Seth instead of you made by Kimbo's team or EliteXC?
Frank: You know, honestly, that I dont' truly know. I just know that I threw my hat in the ring and no one picked it up. I kept pressing but I don't know who put the final kibosh on it.
TheGARV: Were you very disappointed?
Frank: Oh yeah. Yeah. I thought it was a great opportunity for television. The show was going down, they were thinking about canceling the show until we had Kimbo fighting somebody. So it was a pretty touchy situation.
TheGARV: Now, Frank, we all know that you are light years ahead of Kimbo in terms of technique. But he's much bigger than you, 240 pounds, hits hard, and you're coming off the broken arm. What was going through your mind in terms of mental preparation for fighting this guy?
Frank: Well, I wouldn't have accepted the fight if I didn't think could honestly compete. So that was kind of a mental process I had to go through. It took about three of four minutes.
Frank: I figured I'd be kicking his guts, keeping him away. And then, soon as I got him to reach I'd be taking him down and choking him out or something.
TheGARV: Sounds like your style.
Frank: Yeah, that was sort of my general plan and I've been pretty successful with it. And he's got a pretty obvious style of power punching. Not all that hard to figure out. I mean, you know, it was really hard for me to try and switch gears from being a professional commentator to flipping my mind at the last minute and get into fighting mode.
TheGARV: Looking across at Kimbo, that's gotta be scary.
Frank: Everything about fighting is scary. There's no, like, not scary part. Being mentally unprepared, being physically unprepared, being very distracted, all that weighed on me because I knew I wasn't one hundred percent focused on that paticular opponent or whatever. But you know, Garv, I've been doing this game so long, it took me about 15 minutes to get my mind right, make it relaxed, you know, and realize that I was going to battle, not going to talk. And then it was my martial art training: keep my mind in order, keep my body in order, then go.
TheGARV: And having seen him fight before, you knew what to look for and how to exploit his weaknesses.
Frank: Yeah. You know, to me it wasn't a big hurdle. It was just physically and mechanically, just that moment. I had also spent four days trying to figure out how to be impartial in my brother's fight. How to be unemotional about that moment. I had really spent a lot of time preparing for an entirely different emotional and physical event.
TheGARV: Yeah, I'll say.
Frank: It was quite the gear shift. I think we went from like third to reverese.
TheGARV: You know what would have been funny, if you went in the ring and Ken did the commentary.
Frank: (Laughs) Who knows? In MMA anything can happen.
TheGARV: How did you think Ken would do against Kimbo?
Frank: I really thought Ken would beat Kimbo. Because even if his broken down, his mind and his technique is still ten times what Kimbo knows. And any little mistake, any little slip up would have been Ken's opportunity to win that match.
TheGARV: I saw Ken going for the leg.
Frank: I saw a jab, a double leg, turn the corner and start working some holds right away. Kimbo is just not advanced enough to even understand what's going on at that point. I know he's got Bas, I know he's training, but training and doing is two different worlds.
TheGARV: But then Ken got cut. What happened exactly?
Frank: It looks like he had an old cut, probably within the last couple of weeks. And it was probably closed up with superglue or whatever and it looks like somebody hit it and it popped open. You know, I came down pretty hard on Ken but the truth is, stuff like that happens.
TheGARV: Yeah, I mean he wanted to fight with the cut, but the commission said no.
Frank: Right. In all fairness to him, it wasn't him who said I'm not gonna fight. It was the doctors who absolutely would not allow him to fight. I mean, I came down hard on Ken, but it was just because that was his moment, that was our moment and then the whole thing literally just slipped away from us. But I've seen guys get hurt, I've seen guys twist things, break things, whatever. Anything can happen. Especially when you're doing so much and you're trying to prepare for one moment. I can understand it happening, but it always happens to Ken. You know, Ken is "that guy." If there was a pail in the room, Ken would step in it.
TheGARV: (Laughs) When Ken went down, Kimbo had to fight against an unknown opponent. That's gotta be tough. It looked like he was a little reckless, just steamrolling across the cage right into that punch.
Frank: Yeah, he did what you're never supposed to do and that is to move forward with your hands down. That's striking 101 and Seth has been doing karate since he was seven and did the first thing he thought of, which was punch, kick.
TheGARV: Tough break for Kimbo, getting caught.
Frank: I have to give credit to Kimbo. It's a heck of a game to shift gears like that. To know you're going to fight somebody you know nothing about. To know that everything's on the line for this one moment and to have people negotiating with you right before the show so the show could go on. That whole pschycology and mental drain, that's gotta be exhausting. Then to go in there and still have to have to fight at that level. That's tough. I've seen Kimbo take massive blows before, and that wasn't that big of a shot, but it was enough, and the shot we have, you could see his head shake. It really shook his brain.
TheGARV: I think it was as much him moving forward as it was the power of the punch.
Frank: All those events combined and that punch, that was the straw there.
TheGARV: Mauro said Kimbo should get a "mulligan." Not to fight Seth again, but to fight Ken. Will that interfere with your timeline with Ken? I know your brother vs brother match is signed.
Frank: The timeline is the first quarter of next year, so we've got March and April as months we're going for. You know what, Kimbo needed a fight to prove he was legitmate. And that moment passed him by. Fighting Ken now isn't going to prove he's legitimate. I really think Kimbo's moment of proving has passed him by and now he's dig like everyone else.
TheGARV: His management team has done an amazing job of minimizing the risk while maximising the profits.
Frank: Yeah. We're in the business of fighting and it's prize fighting. So God bless him, he got the prize, he got it more than once and he's a star. And now he has to do what all the other stars do and that's to dig in and prove his worth and value. But I don't think he's going to be his stepping stone or opportunity anymore. Now, especially with (Ken and I) fighting each other taking main stage. Ken's lost a lot of credibility in the marketplace. People think he should have went in there and fought with one eyeball or whatever was necessary. I feel and support that but this fight, brother vs brother, it's gotta be now. It's gotta be the next thing we get to.
TheGARV: You've been wanting this fight for a long time.
Frank: I've been on this for two and half years and the end is in sight and I think the story is ready to be told and come to a close.
TheGARV: I am certainly looking forward to that fight, and Frank, thanks as always it's a pleasure speaking with you.
Frank: Thank you, Garv.