In Defense of Frank Shamrock (Sort of)

Photo by Jon Swenson.

Maybe I’m just completely wrong here but I’m feeling the need to defend Frank Shamrock just two days after he had his arm broken courtesy of a Cung Le kick. I’ve done my usual reading this morning/afternoon and Shamrock has been getting eaten alive just about everywhere.

Let’s be honest: Frank Shamrock isn’t the most liked guy in the world. I don’t care for his inconsiderate side comments and continual trash-talking leading up to and in-between fights, but I do have the utmost respect for his skills, and that respect increased after Saturday night.

Shamrock lost the fight but he delivered on his promise to stand and trade with Le spare a pair of takedown attempts. Whether you want to admit it or not, Shamrock held his own with one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport and even came close to finishing the fight at one point. That’s the biggest thing I took out of this weekend.

Would it have been smarter to take Le down? Of course. He could have submitted him in seconds most likely. Is there a reason why Shamrock didn’t take him down? Who knows. Maybe only Frank does.

I can’t really expound on Shamrock’s “lack of an ACL” too much. His claim could be legit for all we know. To quote my partner-in-crime Bill Reger, the fact that Shamrock will not have his ACL reconstructed may be giving him the ability to use it as a crutch and further prove his arrogance. Then again, Frank’s claim could also be another part of his mystique.

As far as the fight went, I do think that it was easily an early candidate for fight of the year. To watch them stand and trade at that rate was incredible. I don’t think I’ve been that glued to a fight since Liddell-Silva in December.

However I also agree that the continuous gesturing back and forth between the two became annoying after the first round. It was cool that Shamrock once again gave his “going to sleep” signal, but after he didn’t knock Le out in the first minute of the second round, it started to seem kind of lame.

Should the two have a possible rematch in the near future? As soon as the fight ended, I automatically said yes, but after contemplating it over the past two days, I’m not so sure. In my opinion, the fight would go exactly the same.

We all saw how Le constantly kept Shamrock at bay with his array of kicks. I don’t really see either fighter finishing the other so it would most likely end up as a decision in Le’s favor, once again leaving Shamrock making excuses in his odd, own little world as to why he’s still the superior fighter.

That’s the biggest problem I have with Shamrock and it takes away from the respect I have for him as a fighter. He constantly talks about how he’s great for the sport, but at the same time, fighting on his own terms and denying himself opportunities to win fights is bad for mixed martial arts and it’s growth.

Shamrock’s words and actions always leave him open for criticism, but after his performance this past weekend, a lot of it is undeserving. Leland Roling points out that close to nine years after Shamrock walked away from his post at the stop of the MMA mountain, he still manages to capture our attention.

Love him or hate him, we all watched him give yet another memorable performance on Saturday. That’s gotta count for something, right?


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