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Kenneth Wayne Shamrock (born Kenneth Wayne Kilpatrick; February 11, 1964)

He is the reason I started watching MMA, and will always remain as one of my favorite fighters. I never really gave it much thought, but at the young age of eight years old I was an avid WWF fan, and hearing of Shamrock’s background in cage fighting played a tremendous role. I never really thought it about it until yesterday, but Ken Shamrock is probably the biggest reason I’m an MMA fanatic. The year was 1999, and my cousin had got his hands on a VHS tape of UFC 19: Ultimate Young Guns. Although Shamrock wasn’t featured on this card, he was the sole reason I had even heard of the sport. Tito Ortiz stood out to me that night, I had witnessed one of the worst beatings I’ve ever seen in a fight, even to this day. I was hooked.
Shamrock experienced hardships as a child. A "military brat," he was born at Robins Force Base and came from a broken family in a predominantly African-American neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. The young Shamrock was often left to fend for himself, getting into many fights without the supervision or guidance of his parents. At age 10, Shamrock was stabbed several times during a robbery and was eventually abandoned by his parents, where he lived in cars before being placed in a foster home. He bounced around between several group homes before being placed in Bob Shamrock’s Boys’ Home at age 14, in Napa Valley, California where he turned his life around. Bob Shamrock legally adopted Ken as his son, and Ken changed his last name from Kilpatrick to Shamrock in Bob’s honor.At Lassen High School, Shamrock excelled in both football and wrestling. As a senior, Shamrock qualified for the state championships in wrestling, but broke his neck in practice days before the competition and underwent neck surgery. Shamrock did not receive scholarship offers from big league colleges, and doctors told him his sports career was likely over. Against doctors orders, Shamrock joined the Shasta Junior College football team, where he was voted team captain in his final season. The San Diego Chargers of the National Football League later offered Shamrock a tryout, but Shamrock declined in order to pursue a career in professional wrestling, where he debuted in 1989 in the South Atlantic Pro Wrestling promotion. Shamrock’s professional wrestling career eventually brought him to Japan, where he met professional wrestlers and future Pancrase co-founders, Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki, which set the stage for his mixed martial arts career to begin.
I never realized that he had come up through so much adversity, it’s really quite an amazing story. He is a legendary pioneer to this sport, and I’m grateful to have witnessed it.
After UFC 9, United States Senator John McCain was successful in pulling UFC pay-per-view broadcasts from numerous cable systems, including TCI cable, which greatly hurt pay-per-view revenue. Combined with money drying out, the need to support his family and being burnt out from fighting, Shamrock left MMA for professional wrestling, signing with the World Wrestling Federation. Shamrock left MMA while he was seemingly at the top of his game; he was in his prime and he was at this time considered by many to be one of the best fighters in the world. Shamrock was never close to the same fighter after the transition to pro wrestling, largely due to the amount of injuries he received while in the WWF, including a serious neck injury he suffered in late 1999 during a feud with Chris Jericho and Curtis Hughes. Despite not competing in the UFC as a fighter while with the WWF, Shamrock continued to coach his Lion's Den fighters in the UFC and even coached Mark Coleman at UFC 18. Shamrock left MMA with a professional record of 23 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws.
In closing, I think it’s impossible to make a list of "The greatest of all time pound-for-pound". There are way too many things that play a role and have to be considered. I hate it when I see people disrespect fighters, especially legends like Shamrock, Couture, Penn, Hendo, Fedor and ect. They try to downplay what they have done in the sport, and claim they aren’t on the level of fighters nowadays. They were absolute warriors back in the day, and didn’t enjoy the same pleasures of having the knowledge, training, rules, coaching, and mentality of today’s fighters. Shamrock_display_image_medium

Sources: Wikipedia, cdn.bleacherreport.net

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