Wear and tear certainly isn’t helping Ken Shamrock’s chances of a return to mixed martial arts.
Shamrock, a UFC Hall of Famer who last fought longtime rival Royce Gracie in a Bellator fight almost two years ago, is open to a comeback if the price is right. But the MMA legend has more important things to worry about first; before any discussions of another fight occur, he has to get his knee replaced, a lengthy process that will sideline Shamrock, 53, for at least six to eight months.
“I’ve got some things I gotta take care of,” Shamrock, who was in Winnipeg last weekend to promote his new comic book Rumblesport: Roads to Ragnarok, told BloodyElbow.com. “Not saying that down the road if a fight that’s sensible comes up, I wouldn’t do it, but right now I’ve gotta take care of some issues with my body. And then from there, I can evaluate where I go.”
When Shamrock, who competed at UFC 1 in November 1993, has dealt with his upcoming knee surgery, he will probably weigh his options as to who he could fight, he said. He is not ready to fully commit to a return, however, because he isn’t sure which fighters are available to compete, and he has not received any formal offers from organizations.
“Whether I do or don’t (return to MMA), I don’t know yet, because I don’t know what fights are out there,” Shamrock said. “I know Dan Severn is dying for a fight, he keeps asking for a fight. But if it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it. I’m not gonna fight him in a backyard. I’m not gonna fight him in a B-rated organization. It’s gonna have to be something that makes sense. We’re just spring chickens anymore. (If) we’re gonna get in a ring and fight, it has to make sense.”
Shamrock was supposed to face former opponent Severn at UR Fight 1 in March 2016 before being pulled from the card due to a failed drug test in relation to his last fight, a first-round TKO loss to Gracie. Severn is one of the few people Shamrock would fight, he said. And of course, a fourth fight opposite Gracie would work, too.
Shamrock wants to square off with the Brazilian yet again because in the trilogy, Gracie appeared to have landed a low blow that led to Shamrock not being able to continue and the fight being awarded to Gracie as a TKO victory.
“It was pretty clear I got kneed in the nuts. It was a low blow, no question,” Shamrock said. “Whether you think it did enough damage to make me hit the ground and not be able to continue to fight anymore is really irrelevant. It is whether or not it was low. And the answer is yes, it was. So for me to award a guy a win on a foul is not right.”
Shamrock’s last two fights — losses to the late Kimbo Slice and Gracie — were both for Bellator, a main rival of the UFC. Shamrock said if he was to return to the sport, it would most likely be for the Viacom-backed promotion. But he also added that he hasn’t been in touch with Bellator for a while, and it appears that the company has moved away from wanting to promote his fights.
Shamrock said he informed Bellator he was interested in the Gracie fight, but, well, it has yet to happen, so it doesn’t look like that worked out. And maybe because Gracie did not accept it.
“I believe Royce just doesn’t want to fight again, and that’s fine, that’s OK,” Shamrock said. “You get to a certain point and you say, ‘Hey, I’m at a certain age where I just don’t believe I can get in there and train or I don’t have the desire to fight again.’ That’s fine. I’m not going to pressure him. I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, you should fight me.’
“At this point in time, Bellator, I’m sure, is not interested. I know they’ve moved in a different direction. Don’t know why, because they ain’t getting the numbers they were getting, so it doesn’t make sense to me as to why they wouldn’t do it.
“They’ve never said [they were not interested], but I know they haven’t pursued it. We’ve definitely let them know that we’ve put it out there that we would like to have [the Gracie fight] again.”
Shamrock did not admit that a return to pro wrestling is more likely than another MMA fight, but he did say that stepping back into the WWE ring is what he’s most focused on right now.
“Right now, I’m looking at pro wrestling. I’d like to get back into the WWE, I’d like to go in and get a shot at that title,” he said. “That’s the only thing that’s ever eluded me — I’ve captured the world championship in everything I did: TNA, PRIDE, UFC, Pancrase. I went into pro wrestling and captured every title but the heavyweight title. I’d love to be able to put on a match with [Kurt Angle]. An ankle-lock match for the title.”
He has yet to talk to WWE officials about a return to pro wrestling, so that’s not a given either. But he still has time, as before any of that, he needs to make sure he is healthy to perform, whether that’s in MMA or pro wrestling. After he undergoes the upcoming knee replacement and everything is in order, he can further think about his next — and maybe last — move.
“If I had a desire to do something, those are the ones that I would want: I’d either want the Royce Gracie fight, get that done over again, or I’d want to go into the pro wrestling organization and get a run for that title again,” Shamrock said. “Those are really the things I’d like to close the chapter with.”