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Mainstream Media Getting Hip to MMA History

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Y'all know what an MMA history geek I am so you can imagine how tickled I was to read this morning's piece on the Japanese history of MMA by Todd Martin for CBS Sports. Here's one little nugget about how Ken Shamrock got involved and learned submission wrestling:

While the UWF still promoted pro wrestling in front of the camera, the promotion's wrestlers were preparing for shoots behind the scenes. Ken Shamrock's initiation into the UWF focused on what he could do in a shoot. Shamrock was doing American pro wrestling and was given a UWF tape by fellow wrestler Dean Malenko. Shamrock was impressed and given a tryout in Miami. He had a wrestling and boxing background and was able to dominate the other fighters at the tryout.

Shamrock was then brought to Japan, where he was given a two-hour tryout with a fresh sparring partner every 30 minutes. He did well against the first two, but the others were Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki. Funaki and Suzuki tapped Shamrock repeatedly, and Shamrock concluded he needed to learn these techniques. He would go to Japan three weeks before his matches and train with Funaki, Suzuki, Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Yoshiki Takahashi.

Shamrock's experiences were typical for UWF wrestlers. They were training to be legitimate submission wrestlers but didn't yet have the outlet to fully demonstrate their skills.

Also check out Fight Opinion where they've got more, including video.