Frank Shamrock announced at tonight’s Strikeforce: Fedor Vs Werdum fight that he is to retire from the sport, bringing an end to a career that spans some 16 years.
“Tonight I announce my retirement and I say that this is the last time I walk into this cage as a fighter,” he revealed during the main card of the live Showtime event.
“It was an honor to bleed for you, break my bones for you, and entertain you,” he told the crowd before bowing to all four corners of the arena.
Shamrock is undoubtedly a legend in the sport – a fate that was sealed when he defeated Kevin Jackson by armbar in just 14 seconds at UFC: Ultimate Japan in December of 1997 to become the UFC’s first light-heavyweight champion.
He went on to defend his title four times, the last being a fourth round victory over emerging star Tito Ortiz at UFC 22 in 1999. After that memorable win Shamrock relinquished the belt and announced his retirement from the UFC.
Afterwards Shamrock’s relationship with the UFC soured, and even today animosity still exists between the two parties which many people believe has led to the fighter not receiving the credit he’s due as an integral part of the promotion’s history.
Three and a half years later he re-emerged at WEC 6 and claimed a victory to become their first light-heavyweight champion.
After another three year absence Shamrock again returned in emphatic fashion, defeating legendary jiu-jitsu proponent Cesar Gracie by KO in just 21 seconds in his Strikeforce debut.
That fight marked the end of an impressive 11 fight winning streak with just one draw sandwiched in-between. Now back to fighting on a semi-regular basis at the age of 34, his form began to dip.
He was disqualified in a bout with another member of the Gracie clan – Renzo Gracie in 2007 at an Elite XC event due to illegal knees to the head. He rebounded with a win over another former UFC fighter Phil Baroni to become Strikeforce’s first middleweight champion, but that would mark his final victory in the cage of his career.
Two convincing defeats in Strikeforce would follow – one to Cung Le who broke his arm with a kick in the fight, and the final loss of his career to Nick Diaz who bettered him in the stand-up battle before claiming a TKO victory in the second round.
That left Shamrock’s career at 23-10-2 and at the age of 37 the fighter has made the decision to call time on an impressive career that undoubtedly leaves him to be remembered as one of the greats of the sport.
Shamrock will now transition to work full-time as a broadcaster for the Strikeforce promotion alongside his other business interests.