Frank Shamrock Talks Tito Ortiz: “He Has Really Done More For (The UFC) In The Long-Term Than Any Other Athlete.”
By Joshua Molina
UFC icon Tito Ortiz will enter the Octagon against Forrest Griffin Saturday night one last time, just a few hours after he is inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Ortiz’ retirement match is one of the major storylines threading UFC 148, when middleweight champion Anderson Silva battles Chael Sonnen, in an epic rematch.
The buildup for the summer show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena has been typical UFC fare, well-promoted, polished and professional. But amid the pre-fight hype, the legendary Ortiz turned heads when in a press conference on Thursday when he mentioned the name of the another legend and pioneer of the sport, Frank Shamrock.
Ortiz, when asked to name his top 5 greatest memories of his career, said losing to Shamrock at UFC 22 was No. 3 because, “Frank Shamrock, when I lost to him, I learned a lot from that,” he said.
The comment was surprising because the UFC has literally written Frank Shamrock out of its history because White and Shamrock don’t get along. But although Shamrock might be conspicuously absent from UFC Top-Anything lists, the fans remember and Ortiz took the time in public to make note of the man who submitted him through punches in the 5th round.
Fcfighter.com spoke with Shamrock to get his views on Ortiz’s comments and the fighter’s induction into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“Tito was always a good guy,” Shamrock told fcfighter.com. “As soon as the fight was the over you could see me embracing him. I said he was the future, but you need to come train with me.”
Shamrock’s defeat of Ortiz to defend his UFC title surprised many fans. He said Ortiz was good, and in his prime, when he beat him, but there were still many things he didn’t know. So Shamrock took him under his wing.
“I taught him about vascular conditioning and mindset,” Shamrock said. “I trained with him.”
Shamrock said Ortiz believed there was no way he would lose.
“We were friends before the fight,” Shamrock said. “We sat down and talked about it. We went out and partied and talked about what was going to happen. He felt certain he would beat me – man to man, friend to friend and fighter to fighter. We had respect for each other.
The two are still friends, and became closer after the fight.
Shamrock, along with his adopted brother Ken Shamrock, is also a pioneer and legend of the sport, even if the UFC doesn’t acknowledge it. Shamrock fought for the company before it was the No. 1 draw on Pay Per View and part of the sports world vernacular. A falling out with UFC head Dana White led to Shamrock to Strikeforce, where he ended his career and won the Strikeforce middleweight championship along the way.
No he is the analyst for Showtime’s Strikeforce broadcasts. Even though most MMA historians would say that Shamrock belongs in the UFC Hall of Fame, it’s not likely to happen unless White and Shamrock make amends somewhere down the road.
But one thing is clear, Shamrock believes that Ortiz belongs in the Hall of Fame.
“I don’t know what the criteria is,” Shamrock said. “It is undefined. But if anybody deserves to be in the UFC Hall of Fame it is Tito Ortiz. He has really done more for that company in the long-term than any other athlete.
Ortiz, with a record of 16-10-1, has more fights than anyone in UFC history. He was there at the beginning of the UFC’s explosion, and, in many ways, his fights with Ken Shamrock, paved the way for the next generation.
“He has always showed up to fight,” Shamrock said. “Everyone else went elsewhere but Tito stayed. He always fought. He’s a good kid I thought he was a great champion and a good representation of the sport. Some people didn’t like him. I always thought he was a good kid.”