Ken “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Shamrock
Ken Shamrock (born Kenneth Wayne Kilpatrick on February 11, 1964 in Macon, Georgia) is an American mixed martial arts fighter. He is best known for his participation in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and for his professional wrestling career with the World Wrestling Federation and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Ken has written two books
Shamrock had started as a professional wrestler in small promotions in the Carolinas, being managed by Paul Jones, and from there he went to Japan, namely the Japanese UWF and its successor promotions, Fujiwara Gumi and Pancrase.
Back in the States, Shamrock appeared in the first UFC in November of 1993 where he progressed to the semi-finals, losing to eventual tournament winner Royce Gracie. Afterwards, Shamrock vowed to avenge his loss to Gracie. However, it would be nearly a year and a half later before he would get his chance. At UFC 5 in May of 1995, Shamrock and Gracie squared off in the UFC’s first ever “Superfight.” The Superfight was supposed to be a historic match that finally showed if Gracie’s win over Shamrock at UFC 1 was a fluke, or if Gracie was as great as he appeared. Unfortunately, the match did not live up to expectations. At UFC 5, for the first time, the UFC had instituted time limits. Shamrock and Gracie fought for the entire allotted time of 30 minutes along with 5 minutes of overtime before the match was declared a draw. While purist fans of mixed martial arts consider the match to be a true classic, most thought the match was rather boring, lacking sufficient offense by either Shamrock or Gracie. While many people (including Shamrock) have wanted to see a rematch ever since, Shamrock and Gracie have never again faced each other in the octagon. Shamrock would go on to fight in further UFC Superfights against Dan Severn, Oleg Taktarov and Kimo Leopoldo.
As of 2005, Ken is still making occasional appearances in the UFC, giving him the distinction of having the longest tenure of any UFC fighter to date. Shamrock also founded the Lion’s Den, a group dedicated to the training of mixed martial arts fighters. Many Lion’s Den fighters such as Pete Williams, Jerry Bolander, and Tra Telligman have achieved a modicum of success in mixed martial arts.
Shamrock’s Lions Den also feuded with former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz. Ortiz would go on a streak beating Lions Den fighters Jerry Bolander and Guy Mezger, eventually facing Shamrock in one of the highest selling mixed martial arts Pay Per View events of all time in the United States. At UFC 40, Ortiz defeated Shamrock when Shamrock’s corner threw in the towel.
Pro Wrestling Career
Ken Shamrock entered the WWE, where he was billed as “The World’s Most Dangerous Man,” in 1997 as a special referee in the submission match between Bret Hart and Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. He began wrestling for the company, and earned a WWE Championship match against Shawn Michaels at the D-Generation X Pay-Per-View. He won the match via disqualification, thus not winning the title, but shortly after he began a feud with The Rock over the Intercontinental Championship.
The two feuded all through the first half of 1998 with Shamrock defeating the Rock at the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania XIV but having both decisions reversed and not winning the title.
Shamrock again defeated The Rock in the finals of the 1998 King of the Ring. The next night on Monday Night RAW Shamrock won a four way match against previous Kings of the Ring, Triple H, Mabel, and Owen Hart. Shamrock won the Intercontinental Championship in a tournament in October, 1998, and joined Vince McMahon’s Corporation faction as a heel. During that time he would feud with Steve Blackman and Chris Jericho. Leading up to Wrestlemania 15 Shamrock was involved in a four-way feud with Billy Gunn, Goldust, and Val Venis centered around his fictional “sister” Ryan Shamrock.
After leaving WWE Shamrock joined the new Total Nonstop Action Wrestling company, and won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at their inaugural show. He left the company after a few months of service, however he later reappeared when the company debuted their Impact TV show. Once again this was short lived, as Shamrock became disenchanted with the staged aspects of pro wrestling. Shamrock left the company a month after re-joining.
Ken Shamrock teaching marines hand to hand combat.
Ken Shamrock teaching marines hand to hand combat.
Return to UFC
April 9, 2005, proved to be a turning point in Shamrock’s career and future in mixed martial arts. In the main event, the first ever UFC appearance on basic cable TV, on the popular reality series The Ultimate Fighter finale, Shamrock faced rising star Rich Franklin in a light heavyweight bout. Although Shamrock had more experience, he was soundly defeated by a TKO in the first round, thus instantly establishing Franklin as a legitimate threat to other UFC competitors.
In a post match interview, Shamrock indicated that he was unsure of his future in the UFC or MMA in general.
On October 24, 2005 Shamrock lost to fellow mixed martial arts legend Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba in PRIDE: Fully Loaded, by TKO. The decision to stop the fight was considered controversial by some parties, including Shamrock himself, since he was able to bounce up off the canvas right after being knocked down. However, Ken had turned his back to Sakuraba and because he wasn’t intelligently defending himself, the referee stopped the fight. His own brother Frank Shamrock commented on the stoppage in an interview with the site Sherdog.com: “…if you’re sleeping with your head through the second rope, you’re in a bad way. He got clocked. He went down. According to the rules he was no longer defending himself and that’s the end of the fight. Was it early? Sure it was early. But was he getting his ass kicked? Yeah. It just depends on how you want to look at it. I tried to look at it abstractly and I saw a guy sleeping with his head through the second rope. That’s not good, because if I’m there, please somebody stop this”.
On November 19, 2005 at UFC 56, Dana White, the UFC president, announced that Shamrock would be one of the coaches (along with Tito Ortiz) for the upcoming third season of The Ultimate Fighter. On the season finale, Shamrock and Ortiz will have a rematch of their fight at UFC 40.