Shamrock on Kimbo: 'I'm going to knock him out'

BY MIKE HOUSER

Appeal Sports Writer

Not many fans who follow Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) would argue with the proposition that Ken Shamrock should be considered one of the sport's founders. So by that extension, the nature of Shamrock's appearance at the grand opening of the Powerhouse Gym in Carson City on Saturday should come as no great leap of logic.

Shamrock, known as "The World's Most Dangerous Man," had previously established the Nevada Lions (comprised of a group of MMA fighters) and when he looked at the sport's fan base and gyms in general, it all made sense.

Circuit training, super sets, cardio and strength training all form the foundation that gets a mixed martial artist or boxer in condition and Shamrock, now of Reno, saw an opportunity to bring fans closer to the athletes they follow.

"I thought, 'Let's change the industry. Let's start it and get together with Powerhouse,'" said Shamrock, who has partnered up with Powerhouse Gym owners Shane Franklin, Keith Saunders and Kent White to bring a new experience to a new breed of workout fanatics.

With one gym in Carson City, six in Reno, one in Gardnerville, two in Sparks, four in Arizona and two in California scheduled to be completed within the next six months, Powerhouse is looking to become a power player in the gym business and with Shamrock lending his endorsement, who's to argue.

"For a 9-to-5 worker who loves the sport, watches it, knows how it works " now they can learn it without getting a broken bone," said Shamrock, who will face Kimbo Slice in a CBS-televised superfight on Oct. 4 at Bank Atlantic Center, in Sunrise, Fla.

At Powerhouse Gyms, a person can go in, lift weights, do some cardio and then learn how to get someone in a triangle choke or land a right cross, all in the same workout. Gone is the old model of going into a gym just to pump iron or hop on a StairMaster.

And in his own training, the 44-year-old Shamrock is providing yet another example of out with the old, in with the new. Rather than locking himself away at Big Bear for a several-week training camp, Shamrock is out doing radio spots and personal appearances at gyms and fitting them around his training schedule.

"I've never been that way. I've never been a guy who hides out," Shamrock said. "I'll train, do what I've got to do, then I'm at home, living life. When you're young and have outside influences, that's why you go away to camps " so you don't go out at night and have young girls come around. With me, I don't have that problem."

Instead, Shamrock returns home each night to his wife Tonya, who he says knows him better than anyone and who is capable of fixing him the healthiest, best-tasting food as well as giving him a massage.

If Shamrock and his training methods contrast with those of yore, his growth in MMA and Slice's are about as opposite as can be.

Along with Royce Gracie, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Shamrock rose to fame in 1993 in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and later in the World Wrestling Federation.

The 34-year-old Slice, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound juggernaut, was a bodyguard for a video pornography company and grew to stardom competing in backyard brawls that were shown on YouTube.

"Everybody keeps saying how big he is," Shamrock said with a disbelieving grin. "I've fought 400 pounders. That's where I started out " four bouts, then three a night in all weight classes (on UFC). I was 200 pounds. Royce Gracie was 175 pounds and we were the winners."

The heavily hyped Slice has won only three sanctioned bouts, but with some great promoting and matchmaking, he has become the face of the MMA.

"First of all, I know he's getting lot of heat, a lot of hype from the public and he hasn't done that much," Shamrock said. "In Kimbo's spot, the dude is making mud into mud pies. He's getting opportunities given to him. He's not snaking anybody; he's not buying anyone; he's getting opportunities. That's what the USA is all about. Seize on it."

Shamrock said that his experience advantage over Slice will work in his favor.

"Kimbo hasn't earned his stripes," Shamrock said. "It's not his fault, but come Oct. 4 I 100 percent believe in my heart that he's going to get exposed. Nothing against him, but a lot of guys out there have put in a lot more time and deserve it. Kimbo's promotable, he works hard and someday he'll earn it."

Shamrock said he tried to negotiate Slice down to 240 pounds, but the match will likely be signed for 250.

"I only got four or five weeks notice," Shamrock added. "I don't need a lot of time. I bounce back real quick."

Shamrock is coming off a first-round knockout to England's Robert Berry, but said he had a virus before, during and after the fight and had to be hospitalized.

"The bottom line is I lost," Shamrock said. "I don't like talking about it. It is what it is. People have a right to say, 'Ken should retire.' From the bottom of my heart, I tell people to watch this fight. I'm going to change everything around."

With Shamrock's size and age disadvantage, one would expect him to try and exploit what should be an advantage on the ground against Slice. But Shamrock said his strategy is far more straightforward.

"I'm going to knock him out," he said. "I'm going to knock him out no matter what. It doesn't matter what the game plan is. He can't stop me."

- Contact Mike Houser at mhouser@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1214

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