MMA Legend Frank Shamrock talks Spike TV’s Gym Rescue and Jones/Cormier brawl

20130205061159_Frank_Shamrock_0617Frank Shamrock’s credentials are nearly countless. As a pioneer of mixed martial arts, he had a fighting career that spanned over 15 years and included stints as a UFC, WEC and Strikeforce champion. After retiring from the sport in 2009, he had a lengthy stint as a commentator for Strikeforce alongside Mauro Ranallo before the promotion was purchased by Zuffa and held its final event last year. More recently however, Shamrock has taken his talents to the small screen, being one of the coaches on Spike TV’s ‘Fight Master,’ which saw a host of athletes competing for an opportunity to enter a Bellator tournament. Shamrock’s most recent venture is a pairing with fellow MMA legend Randy Couture in ‘Gym Rescue,’ a show designed to help ailing gyms across America turn their business around. Shamrock discussed the new show with MMAOddsBreaker in a recent interview as well as giving his thoughts on Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier, a potential future with Bellator and the door being open for the UFC Hall of Fame. Check it out: Brian Hemminger: I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I tuned in to the preview episode for your Gym Rescue show with Randy Couture, but it seems like you guys are going out there and trying to help everyday people out with their fitness gyms, not just down-and-out MMA gyms. Frank Shamrock: Yeah, we’re taking a stab at trying to help fitness in America. You saw the episode, there are some martial arts gyms too, but we’re just trying to turn trash into treasure. Brian Hemminger: What was your chemistry like with Randy? It seemed like you guys were working together pretty well from that episode at least. Frank Shamrock: Yeah, we’ve worked together for years. We did the first feature MMA film on MMA together, Randy’s first film together and my first film together. Randy and I have probably been on camera together for about 15 years so we kind of organically fell into this big brother little brother thing and yeah, it worked out really well. He’s got a great business mind. He doesn’t say a lot, but when he does, he says it with such power and intensity that they’ll just start crying. It’s crazy. It’s like a Yoda power. Brian Hemminger: I don’t want to generalize, but it seemed like you guys had a “Good Cop, Bad Cop” dynamic going on with you being the bad cop. Is that what we can expect on the rest of the season as well? Frank Shamrock: Yeah, that evolved pretty organically. Randy’s more of a “pace yourself and pick your moment” guy and I’m more of an “in your face” style from the start because I can’t filter myself especially when you’re talking business. That’s the most important thing. Yeah, we’ve got a good guy/bad guy thing going but it works great on camera. I’m thinking about numbers and how to fix this thing. The minute we start pushing on them and stuff, these poor guys, I feel terrible, they just crumble. They’re like, “Ahh, just save us!” and even the ones that really fight back, you can tell they don’t really believe in their business and they don’t have the knowledge to run it right. They just bluff. You have to really dig into the gym culture to draw back on. Brian Hemminger: Now we know you experienced all kinds of unique training in your MMA career, but what gym business experience did you have to draw back on when helping these guys out? Frank Shamrock: Well I spent years in business management. I had my own gym Shamrock MMA and I learned all that stuff from the ground up. I answered phones, did everything and going back and doing this business help brought me back to my business management. The basics tenants of business, it was just mindboggling to me that these people were risking their fortunes and didn’t know the basics things. The further we got into the show, the more I realized it was part of the culture. They weren’t trying to make money, some were distracted with hanging out, chasing girls, and it made me realize that gym culture needed a kick in the butt to have a better future. Brian Hemminger: Now in the preview episode, you switched that obstacle course gym into a fitness facility that instead focuses on accelerated workouts. Do you have different plans for every gym or are you going to have a similar idea for each show? Frank Shamrock: We go in there and find out what the market demands, wants or needs. We look at what the community is, what the incomes are, what the housing is, the value of the members that might come in there and we build specific plans for that. You’ll see as the episodes go on that we have some facilities that are offering programs that are just clueless as to who’s actually consuming the program. That’s the easiest thing to fix. The most important thing in all of business that helps you stay in business is to know your market. Brian Hemminger: Do you have any expectations for the success of the show? Frank Shamrock: As hard as we worked to make it, as much of an emotional roller coaster that it was, I think it’ll be a huge hit. There are moments that are challenging for everybody. Randy and I got together after some episodes and we said, “That was really hard, but it’s going to end up being great television.” Brian Hemminger: You mentioned some emotional draining moments. Was there anything specifically that stood out for you? Frank Shamrock: For sure. A lot of times when you confront these guys with the ultimate truth, and the cameras are on, they’re combative. You’re airing their dirty laundry on television and a lot of these guys don’t know how to handle it, they don’t know what to do. They like to shove me, I’ll tell you that much (laughs). When you have Randy and me standing next to each other, I guess they decide to push the little guy. It’s just an uncomfortable position for everybody. You stand there and force the issue and it’s challenging. It was a tough show to make but we did a lot of good things on it. Brian Hemminger: Now say it’s as good of a hit as you hope, would you be open to returning for a second season? Frank Shamrock: For sure, yeah. I love working with Randy. It’s a great crew and once we got into a rhythm, we hit our stride. I feel once we got into a groove, we could do it in less days and it could be even more entertaining and more compelling. Brian Hemminger: Okay, that was everything I had to ask about your show, but I had a few other things I wanted to talk to you about. You were the master of fight promotion during your UFC and Strikeforce runs, but I wanted to get your thoughts on what went down the other day with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier getting physical during their press conference staredown. Some people were saying it was terrible for the sport, others were saying it was great for the sport. What were your thoughts on it? Frank Shamrock: When it comes to making money, it probably helped. When it comes to selling buys, it probably helped. Was there a more respectful, more honorable “I’m a champion presenting my belt to a nation” way to do it? I definitely think so. But it’s a different generation, different vibes. I don’t think I would have ever, ever done that. I could never do that and then teach my children. That wouldn’t work for me. But it’s a new generation. I’m probably going to watch the pay-per-view, not because of that, but because they’re both my friends. Brian Hemminger: The other big news this summer was Pat Miletich and Dana White burying the hatchet and Pat getting into the UFC Hall of Fame. Does that open the door for you to potentially get in there someday? I know you’re in a multitude of other Hall of Fames so it’s not quite as big of a deal for you but do you think the door has cracked open at least a little bit? Frank Shamrock: I guess. I was never resistant or anything, they just never offered it. I realize it’s their Hall of Fame and they can do their own thing. If they decide I’m worthy, then I’d feel worthy. It’s not my Hall of Fame so it’s not my business. My focus is on building the sport, supporting my family and building a future for myself. I was luckily able to help build all of them. Brian Hemminger: Now something else I haven’t seen people talk about much is your potential future with Bellator. You did Fight Master and now Gym Rescue here on Spike TV and with your former boss Scott Coker taking over the reigns at Bellator, do you see yourself working with Bellator in the future at all? Frank Shamrock: I hope so, just not inside the cage and doing anything physical. I love working with Scott. Him and I have been best friends and have worked together for years. The experience was incredible. Having an entity like Viacom behind you and a network like Spike TV that gets it, it’s the perfect platform for a guy like Scott Coker to do what he did, which is create magic. That’s why he came back. He had a plan of letting talent be talent and if he can get that same thing going with Bellator, then give me a call. Brian Hemminger: Any last words or anyone you’d like to thank? Frank Shamrock: I’ll say this because I’m getting older. If you have a chance to speak with your parents and tell them you love them or give them a hug, make sure you do so today and tomorrow.  

Written by Brian Hemminger

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