Ken Shamrock compares WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and UFC President Dana White, wonders why he didn't win the WWE Championship, disappointed by UFC not doing more acknowledge its history
Shining Wizards Podcast with Ken Shamrock
Hosts: Tony Z, Eddie, and Matt
Interview available at Shiningwizards.com
On his snubbing regarding the 20th Anniversary of UFC: There's a lot of guys not involved. If you look at the history of the UFC prior to Zuffa, it's almost like they're banished… Just look at some of the guys out there that were really fighting four times in one night, bare-knuckled, no rules. It really made the UFC and the grounds of the UFC to be what it is today. Today, it's a little more sanctioned, but really was raw and it really was guys that were put in there, putting it all on the line, for no money. But you don't see any of these guys being recognized. You don't see any of these names- I saw Don Frye at a fight the other night, and he was sitting out in the audience. He wasn't even inside the cage. It breaks my heart when I see these things because all these promoters walk around with these nice little suits on, acting like they're big shots, and they're inside the ring. And you have some of these young fighters, who are up and coming, in there trying to promote the next fight, you've got celebrities on the inside, all the fine ladies on the inside. Then you got guys like Don Frye, myself, and a few other guys, sitting outside the cage… none of these people would be walking around thinking they're big shots if it wasn't for those guys who put it all on the line, because they loved what they did. But we don't show them any love. It's like they completely forget about the past and move forward. They suck it dry, keep doing the things they want to do, but don't remember the past.
On the importance of the history of UFC: Anything that you see in the world that usually lasts has foundation, has history. If you could develop a history, normally the roots will go pretty deep and keep growing. The minute you try and cut those roots off, try to build something that isn't on solid ground, it falls apart. I believe the longer something has history, the stronger it can become… There's so much history (in other sports) that really touches people's hearts, and it gets them closer to what's happening today. But it just seems like that's not being done in UFC, and there's lots of history there… I think it would be more special if people truly knew the roots. It's a mistake not doing that…
On why the current UFC doesn't acknowledge its history: I think they don't want this generation to know where they came from. They don't want people to think they weren't the ones that created it. The longer they can keep it out, the longer they will think that Dana White did it all. You hear… Dana White was the one that saved the UFC… and that's so far from the truth. But because of the way they film it and keep their history going, that's how they want people to believe it… Dana White was losing that company. They were going under. Tito Ortiz was their champion, and he had no one to be his adversary. He had a great personality, a great character. But he had nobody on the other side to help him build numbers… and that's when I came in and blew it up, me and Tito both. Dana was not the guy that saved UFC, it was me and Tito. Dana happened to be in the picture and took a chance on bringing me in. But he didn't believe I would do it, because he didn't pay me. He said if I did it we could work on these numbers and I would get paychecks and such, which that didn't happen. But nevertheless, people talk about how Dana White did it. Dana White did not do it. We did it, against what Dana White wanted to do.
On fighters and their pay compared to the owners of UFC: At first, they were trying to pay off a debt to the old UFC, so I understood that. But later on as the numbers were going up and money was being brought in, it was almost like they didn't stop trying to keep the money from going out. At first they were trying to pay bills off, but then when the overhead was paid off and the money was rolling in, Dana has two cars worth $600,000, $100,000 paintings on the wall, and then you have guys retiring that were fighting in the main event that are very good fighters that can't pay their bills. These are the things that I think are what's wrong with going on today. This needs to stop, or the things like this that we love the most as fans will no longer be there, it's going to fall apart.
On the lack of respect shown to the Hall of Famers: Some of us may have opinions, may be doing some disgruntled things because we're not happy about the end of our careers coming up. Bot those are things promoters are supposed to know how to deal with. You don't call them douche bags or effing dirtbags, or has-beens, or wannabe relevant agains, when those are the same guys that helped build your company. It's tearing apart the fan base of MMA… The minute things don't go the way Dana wants them to? He starts speaking out against these Hall of Famers. And every one of these guys has a huge fan base. And some of us on different sides of the fence. Even if guys don't agree with me and take Dana's side, they see someone like Tito Ortiz, and now they're going "Wait a minute, what are you doing this to Tito for?" So you have all different types of guys with different types of fans, and Dana White is attacking every single one of them, and he's tearing down the foundation of MMA. He doesn't have to do everything we want. But he doesn't have to react the way he reacts by putting them down. There's a better way to deal with this.
On Vince McMahon versus Dana White as businessman: Vince McMahon is the type of guy that if you're doing business for him, he'll pat you on the back and be nice to you, but you know where you stand. Either you're making money for him or you're not. And that's the way it is. He never lied to me, not that I know of… You can take someone that Vince didn't like, If he found a way to make money with him, he'd put him on the show. It was about business. He would find a way to make it work. Like he did with Bret Hart. They didn't get along for the longest time. But Vince knew he could use him to make money and Bret knew he could make money. So even though at times they weren't on the same page, they still did business. That's what Dana lacks. He doesn't know how to put aside his feelings and not take everything personal and do business even with people you don't like.
On why he was never WWE Champion: To this day, I don't know. I thought when I was doing the angle with the Rock… and he went on after I ended up getting the (Intercontinental) belt, he ended up going on and facing Stone Cold and some of the other guys and ended up getting the belt, I thought I would move up and go after him because of what we had done prior to that… it just never flourished. It seemed like I went in the other direction. I thought I did everything right, that I was in a good position to make those moves. I really don't know.
On bullying and his childhood: The world right now has a problem with people bullying, and it's an issue with kids, and you put guys like Dana White on tv, putting down people because he's across from a camera and no one can touch him, and our young kids watch this stuff, with the f-bombs, and the way he treats people who have built the UFC, and he puts them down constantly when something doesn't go right, and yet we're the first ones screaming about bullying and we need to change the culture of bullying, and we glorify guys like that, who are bullying other people because they have the power… When I was young, I got into a lot of fights. A lot of it was because of the color of my skin. I lived in an African neighborhood, and I was going to school and I was fighting at five years old because I was white, but I didn't know that. Neither did they. We just did what we saw on tv and did what our parents were doing. This was '69, '70, people were getting killed because of the color of their skin. It was all over tv, it was crazy. A lot of people were getting hung, burned, shootings over color of skin, race riots. And here I am going to school, and I'm the only white kid in the school. So we're fighting and have no idea why, but we are. I end up moving to a middle-class area and I'm fighting because I talked differently or acted differently, and it was pretty much an all-white neighborhood, and I didn't fit in there, either. It was a tough time for me, in learning how to defend myself all the time, that when I got old enough, i hated people that would take advantage of other people, I didn't like it when people treated a girl badly or two guys would be pushing some kid around. I wouldn't let that happen. I've never bullied anybody, but I've always been able to finish something that somebody else started.
For more with Ken Shamrock, including the early years of the UFC, the early UFC money problems, his dealings with WWE and how it was a privilege for him to be there, how WWE is missing out on paying homage to him, how he was a big part in the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match, working with Shawn Michaels, his thoughts on Montreal and his respect for Vince and Bret after the incident, Dan Severn and Steve Blackman coming in to WWE, how he liked Dana White when he first met him, the UNION, his time in TNA and being their first champion, whether he has one more run in wrestling, and more, go to www.shiningwizards.com and listen to Episode 115: Ken Shamrock and the ExerGuys.
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