On Friday, Tito Ortiz will be awarded his place in the UFC’s ‘Hall-Of-Fame’ alongside eight other greats including Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, despite having a volatile relationship with UFC president Dana White. over the years.
While White and Ortiz have managed to patch up their differences, the same cannot be said for the UFC president and another legendary UFC fighter, Frank Shamrock, who recently tried to shrug off the fact that he’s not been recognized for his achievements in the sport.
“Well, honestly, I didn’t really care, but my wife was pretty pissed that I wasn’t in the Hall of Fame,” Shamrock stated when asked about it in an interview with MMA Uncensored: Live’ on Spike TV. “I don’t care. I think it’s awesome that Tito’s in. He deserves to be in there. I believe I should be in the Hall of Fame, but it ain’t my Hall of Fame. If they wanna put me in, that’s great. It’s not gonna keep me up at night.”
Despite that it’s apparent that it’s an issue that probably bothers him more than he’s willing to admit publicly.
“Here’s my thing. I did everything I could for the sport, from speaking to the commissions to presenting in front of cable companies – anything and everything, I was hired to go do it. I was a great spokesman, and I believe in this sport. If they wanna put me in or not, it’s totally up to them. I think it’s just a big knuckle-fest.”
Now 39, Shamrock was a big star in the early years of the UFC, becoming their first ever light-heavyweight champion (though at the time it was known as the ‘middleweight’ title) and successfully defended his belt four times before briefly “retiring” in 1999. He would soon return to fighting, but never set foot in the Octagon again.
Despite his time in the UFC coming to a premature end there’s no question that Shamrock had done enough in his two year spell in the promotion to be considered alongside the other greats.
However he continues to be overlooked and there’s little doubt that the biggest reason for that is his continued feud with White.
“It’s definitely personal between Dana and I. To further that, I’ve done everything I can possibly do for this sport. I hope that would include UFC. You know, Dana and I don’t get along. I think he’s a total douchebag and a bully. I just, I got no breath for him.”
Of course it was only a matter of time before those words reached the ears of the UFC president, and in an interview on Sirius Radio he fired back at him by attempting to downplay his significance in the sport.
“Frank Shamrock’s always talking smack. I don’t know what’s worse, Frank Shamrock talking smack like he should be in the Hall of Fame or Spike TV having him on. We have the biggest fight of the year coming up and they have Frank Shamrock on there, the most irrelevant dude on the planet.
“Here’s the thing about the UFC Hall of Fame in all honesty, you know, the UFC Hall of Fame this is – these are guys that we have been inducting that have done a lot for the sport since we’ve (ZUFFA) have taken over, you know what I mean? Here’s a guy, you know, Frank Shamrock, Frank Shamrock hasn’t done anything for the new UFC. And when I say the new UFC I mean the regulated, since it’s been regulated, since it’s been back on pay-per-view, mainstream television, all the things that have been done over the last 12 years, the guys who have been inducted have helped us get to where we are. Frank Shamrock isn’t one of those guys.”
While White is correct to say that Shamrock wasn’t involved with the UFC during Zuffa’s ongoing reign, he’s twisting things here because Dan Severn is in the hall-of-fame despite the fact he didn’t fight during that time either.
Personally I think he needs to put their personal differences aside and acknowledge him purely for his significant contribution to the UFC rather than trying to pretend that he doesn’t exist. It’s not a good look and it lessens the credibility of the ‘Hall Of Fame’ as a whole.