In what will surely be a fast-paced and explosive fight, legendary fighter Frank Shamrock faces off against the durable Nick Diaz at the upcoming Strikeforce card on Showtime, April 11th.
Recently, we had the opportunity to talk to Frank and he filled us in on a number of important issues in his career, including the feud with the Gracie Camp, a probable move to professional boxing after rematches against Tito and Cung, the death of Tapout’s Mask, and what kind of books he reads to pump him up for his fights.
MMAConvert.com: Thanks a lot for taking time to talk to us Frank.
Shamrock: Not a problem at all, my pleasure.
MMAConvert.com: First off, how did the fight with Nick Diaz come about? Was this a fight you wanted or was it Diaz that was calling you out?
Shamrock: Well I got a call from Scott Coker and he said that he had just signed the Showtime agreement. He needed a big main event so I said, “Count me in.” Then, Scott called back about two days later and said, “What do you think about Nick Diaz?” and I said, “Uh, Nick who?” [Laughs]. Scott asked, “Well how about fighting him?” and I said, “I’d be happy to fight him.” And that was it.
MMAConvert.com: Do you feel you still have anything to prove against the Gracie camp? Is this fight with Diaz still an extension of that feud?
Shamrock: Well, I think I already proved everything; I knocked one of them out standing up and knocked one of them out on my back. I don’t what else there is to prove. I think that just stepping in their with a young guy who’s got a lot of good skills is enough for me these days.
MMAConvert.com: Despite the fact that you’re the one going down in weight and Nick’s the one going up, you’re being touted as the smaller fighter. What’s your reaction to that?
Shamrock: I think I’m the smaller fighter [Laughs]. I think I’m the little guy. Nick’s like 6’3. The last time I saw him he was easily 185 pounds and I’m only 5’10 and 183 pounds.
MMAConvert.com: How much weight are you cutting to get down to 179 pounds?
Shamrock: Well my natural body weight is about 183 pounds. I’ll be at around 186 pounds so I’ll probably have to cut about 5 or 6 pounds.
MMAConvert.com: So how are you going to deal with Diaz’s reach?
Shamrock: Well, you know, head movement and stepping out of the way. Diaz doesn’t step in for power; he’s more of a pawing puncher. In the stand up, I’m not that concerned about the reach. On the ground, the length always gives me a bit of trouble. So I’ve got to work on that a little bit. But, yeah, stand up I’m not worried about him.
MMAConvert.com: What’s your prediction on the fight? How do you see it going?
Shamrock: Oh, I think I can knock him out in a round or two. I think he’s gonna paw that lazy jab at me and then I’m gonna smack it down, punch him in the chin with a right hand and a left hook and he’ll fall down on his butt and scoot around a little bit.
MMAConvert.com: Any chance of you trying to take the fight to the ground?
Shamrock: You know, I haven’t taken anybody down since 1999. That was the last time I attempted a takedown.
MMAConvert.com I guess that says it all!
Shamrock: [Laughs] Yeah.
MMAConvert.com: If you beat Diaz what’s next? Or excuse me, should I say when you beat Nick Diaz, what’s next?
Shamrock: Yeah, after I beat Diaz I’m gonna do the Cung rematch and then I’m hoping to get Tito in there if he can get his head back together. So who knows? I’d actually like to do some pro boxing and see where that goes?
MMAConvert.com: Oh really? I hadn’t heard that. That’s interesting.
Shamrock: Yeah well, you know, MMA is really hard on the body. I’ll be 37 at the end of this year so I’ve got to pick a direction. Either I keep breaking it up or I switch it up a little bit.
MMAConvert.com: Who’s your boxing coach?
Shamrock: I’ve been with my boxing coach about five years now. He’s an old-timer named Tony DiMaria. He’s made my hands and my understanding about boxing just go through the roof. I’m gonna stay with him. Boxing was the first sport I fell in love with and I’ve got a feeling I’ll end up in it.
MMAConvert.com: Are there any plans to unify the Elite XC and Strikeforce titles against Robbie Lawler?
Shamrock: I don’t know if those are going to happen. It’s an interesting fight but I think the more interesting thing is exciting fights. There’s so many titles. There are so many things going on that I think it’s now more about stars and fights. If everything aligns and I fight Robbie, or Cung fights Robbie or me, I think that’s more important.
MMAConvert.com: Are there any plans to keep doing commentating in the future?
Shamrock: Well, I’m the official Showtime commentator so when I’m not fighting on Showtime shows I’ll be commentating and being the colour analyst for that. And then when CBS rolls around they tell my I’m going to be the CBS commentator as well. I really like that stuff. It’s a challenge. It’s a lot of work but to me it’s like teaching martial arts – it’s fun.
MMAConvert.com: Well, I think you do a really good job at it so I’m glad to hear you’re sticking around.
Shamrock: Thank you!
MMAConvert.com What are your thoughts on the death of Charles “Mask” Lewis [founder of mma clothing brand Tapout]? Do you have any good stories about him?
Shamrock: I just have one. First of all, I met him a long time ago in probably 1997 or 1998 – the early days. We became immediate friends; he’s just a wonderful guy. You know, he told me a story; it had to be about two months ago now. He said that they [the Tapout crew] went to their first big show and I was there signing stuff and doing things. At the time, they didn’t really know what to do so he said he stood there and watched me for about twenty minutes while I interacted with the fans, hung out with people and gave everybody some personal attention. Charles told me about two months ago that he patterned all of his relationships in business and in his interactions with the fans after watching me do my thing. I just thought that was a tremendous compliment. And you know, unfortunately being as self-absorbed and busy as I am, I let our friendship kind of sit on the back table. Only in recent months was I able to rekindle it and realize I had even done that. Then, he was gone.
MMAConvert.com: You’ve had a few acting roles in the past. Do you have any new roles coming up?
Shamrock: I’ve got nothing on the table right now so I don’t really pursue it. They just call me for things. I’m very focused on fighting and growing my martial arts school, Shamrock MMA School. We just finished up a book called MMA for Dummies. It’s a part of “the Dummies” series and is coming out through Wiley Publishing.
MMAConvert.com: I’ve seen a lot of interviews with you lately and you seem like you’re really happy right now. Is that a fair assessment?
Shamrock: I’m very happy. Two reasons: I’m doing what I love to do and I’ve got a great support group with my community and my team. You know, I’ve got a new family – a new baby. It’s just kind of given me a brand new look on life.
MMAConvert.com: So your daughter has had a big impact on your fight career?
Shamrock: Yeah, tremendous. I guess after all this time I started to wonder why I was doing all of these things. Now I know exactly why.
MMAConvert.com: How sick are you of talking about Ken Shamrock [For years there has been talk about a grudge match between estranged step-brothers Frank and Ken Shamrock. Ken’s recent steroid suspension has made the fight a virtual impossibility due to Ken’s age, yet the story continues to generate interest]?
Shamrock: [Laughs] Totally. Completely.
MMAConvert.com: Okay, I won’t go there. I’ve just got one more question before I go. I’m a Canadian so I follow hockey pretty closely. Are the San Jose Sharks going to win the Stanley Cup this year?
Shamrock: I sure hope so. The truth is I only follow boxing a little bit. I don’t watch any other sports. I’ve only been to two hockey games [Laughs].
MMAConvert.com: Oh ok, because I saw you sporting the Sharks’ jersey one time at one of your fights…
Shamrock: Well you know…I’m from San Jose. I’ve got to represent. I’m the un-sports guy. I don’t watch any sports and I have no idea what’s going on. I don’t even watch mixed martial arts.
MMAConvert.com: What do you like to do in your free time?
Shamrock: I like to read, I like to watch boxing, I hang out with my family. Or I teach or train martial arts. For me it’s something I do all the time.
MMAConvert.com: What kind of books do you like to read?
Shamrock: I like to read just about everything but when I’m in fight mode, I like to read a good serial killer book. Right now I’m reading By Reason of Insanity, which I’m halfway through. Already, I’d have to say it’s probably the greatest serial killer book of all time. It’s fantastic. It’s an older book written by Shane Stevens. It’s just a very powerful and well-written book. I don’t think it’s a true story. It’s a little too crazy and gruesome to be true but the methodology behind it – they way the book is laid out and written – it’s just absolutely captivating and I like that stuff.
MMAConvert.com: Thanks a lot for your time Frank, I really appreciate it. Any sponsors you want to thank before you go?
Shamrock: Everything anybody wants to know can be found at my website FrankShamrock.com.
MMAConvert.com: Okay, thanks Frank and good luck with your fight.
Shamrock: Thank you!