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Friday, July 02, 2010
No Holds Barred: Frank Shamrock and Scott Ross on Culture, Art, and Philosophy of Mixed Martial Arts
Our first interview is with Frank Shamrock, the top mixed martial arts fighter of the 1990s, who just announced his retirement as a fighter this past Saturday. We spoke with him Thursday, July 1, while he was in New York. Besides continuing as a mixed martial arts announcer on Showtime, he is expanding his group of Shamrock MMA schools, including planning to open branches in New York and elsewhere on the East Coast of the U.S.
Most importantly, Frank wants to promote MMA to the youth as a part of the martial arts. The younger generation does not know that MMA is martial arts, he said, and that upsets him. The purpose of the sport is not for some "knuckleheads" to fight to hurt people and get laid, he argued, but to build respect, and develop the mind, sprit, and body of people.
We also discussed the movement to create some type of union or association for fighters, which he has supported for some time. But, he cautioned, "It's going to come down to the fighters saying no," and not enough of them have done so thus far.
We also discussed why Strikeforce should next have Fabricio Werdum face their heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, the future of Strikeforce on CBS, the great potential for Strikeforce light heavyweight champion "King" Mo Lawal, why real "champion" fighters should not have participated in a brawl as occurred on the April 17 Strikeforce show, why his 1999 fight with Tito Ortiz was the high point of his fighting career, and more.
Our senior correspondent and colleague, the legendary former matchmaker and world champion kickboxer John Perretti, spoke on Monday, June 28, with Scott Ross, a pioneer in the field of digital media, the founder and former chairman and CEO of Digital Domain, and a fan of mixed martial arts.
Having worked for three decades at the center of the mainstream entertainment industry, Scott Ross has become disturbed at the current direction of the culture of mixed martial arts. "It's lost its direction in terms of its intellectual and philosophical approach," he said. He cited the devolution of the sport and the absence of any philosophy in it today, and decried that it has become just about "beating people up." It is marketed to people "who accept whatever Madison Avenue serves up," some of whom behaved with "a sense of redneck-Nazism," and is no longer about sport, but "about specter." With the culture of this sport "way out of hand," something, he argued, must be done to change it.
We also open the show with news about two funds which have been set up to aid the family of Michael "Tree" Kirkham, the mixed martial arts fighter who died June 28, from injuries he suffered in a state-sanctioned fight on June 26, in Aiken, South Carolina. You can find out more information about contributing to these funds here and here.
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