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Frank Shamrock Talks MMA Ahead of N.J. Event

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Still banned in New York State, mixed martial arts will make a heavyweight splash at the Izod Center in Newark on Saturday when Strikeforce stages two quarterfinal matchups of its eight-man World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament. Retired 38-year-old MMA great Frank Shamrock spoke with amNY ahead of the event he will help broadcast on Showtime. How did MMA go from spectacle to sport? [In the late ’90s] we just sat down and really made it a sport — wrote the rules out, redefined the weight classes and, I guess, really gave what the politicians were looking for at the time to make it a sport. ... Now ... it’s one of the most regulated sports in the world, with the drug testing and steroid testing. ... We’ve still got that stigma dragging around with us as a bunch of Wild West cage-fighting weirdos. So we’re just constantly trying to re-educate and sort of redefine that. Why is the sport growing so quickly? I get why people are flocking to MMA. You know, it’s: "Whoa, oh, ho, hey! Oh, wait a minute. Oh, oh, oh! Okay. Tell me more. Who’s that guy?" I don’t know how I’m going to transcribe that. [Laughs] What’s the difference between the UFC — the dominant MMA league — and Strikeforce? [The UFC’s] presentation is, the UFC is the most important thing — the brand itself, uch like the WWE is. We’re more interested in trying to find that guy: the next Muhammed Ali guy, the next guy that can beat everybody, the guy that I was at one time. ... We have to have a very global business idea. We have to put some of our business requirements aside to create a bigger dream. What can people expect from the main event: Antonio Silva versus Fedor Emelianenko? I see this fight as size and attrition against speed and accuracy. ... Fedor has amazing accuracy. He just throws his body behind punches, and he’s just destroying these guys.

Video of Frank Shamrock choking out a fan

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Frank Shamrock chokes out a fan in this video.

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