Frank Shamrock is an acquired taste. Fight fans seem to either really love, or totally revile, the mixed martial arts (MMA) trailblazer.
That's the reason it was such a big deal when the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Strikeforce title holder was able to find his place in the universe with the Strikeforce organization.
It was like he'd found his home.
Shamrock, a longtime friend of Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, was one of the driving forces behind getting the promotion off the ground. He was one of the company's first big name fighters, and he's continued with the company as an on-air personality ever since.
It's no secret he has never been a fan of UFC President Dana White and his business tactics, and those are sentiments he hasn't exactly kept hidden.
So, when the brash color commentator (who was interviewed by "Inside MMA's" Bas Rutten) found out that his beloved Strikeforce had been purchased by UFC parent company, Zuffa, he didn't take the news well:
"Strikeforce was my baby. Scott [Coker] and I were sitting, like this, at a coffee shop. He was like, 'Bro, I wanna do MMA.' It was literally like that. And I go, 'Wow, are you kidding me? Do you know hard it is? Do you know how much money it costs and the risk there is?' And he and I were like bros, and we shook hands and said, 'Let's do it!' I put everything into that company. I mean, literally every day of my life, I woke up, and I breathed Strikeforce. It was the first chance I saw, besides the monopoly of the UFC, to give MMA a shot -- to give martial artists, who don't know what MMA is about, a nice picture of it. Scott was a martial artist as a promoter, and he got it. He let me do my thing. I'm an entertainer. I'm a risk taker. When we sold, it was harder than you [Bas Rutten] breaking my face in our first fight. It was like everything ended that day. It was really tough."
It's hard to get a straight answer on what's happening with Strikeforce these days. If you ask Coker or White, they will tell you it's "business as usual." If you ask the executives at Showtime, they'll tell you that they have a stacked card planned for Jan. 2013, and that it plans on standing behind Strikeforce as it has always done.
Time will tell.
Luckily, Shamrock is no politician, and he was perfectly candid regarding his feelings on the future of the promotion he helped birth:
"Strikeforce is coming to an end. They've been consumed by a much larger company. They've got a brand and a direction that doesn't seem like it includes the Strikeforce brand. So, if history repeats itself, I think it's gonna go away, and we're gonna have a new show, a new opportunity, and hopefully a new platform."
If he had the power to do so, Shamrock would save Strikeforce himself, but he's aware that he simply does not possess the resources.
Plus, there's a fat chance that Zuffa would be willing to sell off to him, even if he did somehow find a "cash cow:"
"I don't have the money to buy it. I mean, unless you've got the money, call me! But, I've been a risk taker my whole life, and I just don't see any way to save it, right now. I don't have the cash to do it."
For the latest news on Strikeforce and its struggle to continue as a promotion click here and here.