Ken Shamrock (file photo): Chris Dela Cruz | Sherdog.com
A legend in the sport of mixed martial arts, Ken Shamrock believes he has earned the right to determine how his story should end.
Shamrock competed at the first UFC event in November 1993 and fought inside the Pancrase and Pride Fighting Championships organizations in Japan. The 46-year-old holds wins over Kimo Leopoldo (twice), Bas Rutten (twice), Masakatsu Funaki (twice), Dan Severn and Maurice Smith.
“I think you know it’s time to retire when you can’t get up, when you physically don’t want to get in the gym and don’t want to get in the ring,” Shamrock said in a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show. “As long as you’re able to do that and compete somewhere decent, you should be able to do that. It should be about what you want to do and what you enjoy doing, not being told when it’s time to go.”
Success has been hard to come by lately for Shamrock, though, as he has lost six of his last seven fights dating back to a knockout loss at the hands of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin in April 2005. Worse yet, he has just three wins in his last 12 appearances over the past 10 years. A run like that would have most mixed martial artists thinking about moving on to something else in life, but Shamrock continues to fight. He will take on Johnathan Ivey at USA Mixed Martial Arts “Return of the Champions” on Oct. 16 in Lafayette, La.
“It’s been a tough couple of years for me,” said Shamrock. “It’s life. You have to navigate your way through it. Nothing is going to come easy in life. You’re going to run into these challenges, and the worst thing you can do is to get frustrated and get down. I just keep pushing forward and keep a positive attitude.”
Ivey comes into the fight with a record of just 29-42, with fights against Severn, Ben Rothwell, Travis Wiuff, Travis Fulton, Jeremy Horn, the late Justin Eilers, Jimmy Ambriz, Gan McGee, Ricco Rodriguez and Jake O’Brien over his 12-year career.
“[Ivey] is the kind of guy that if you don’t come in there taking him seriously, you can look pretty bad,” said Shamrock, who has 23 submissions among his 27 victories. “If you go in there and train and know what you have to do to win the fight and execute, it can be a short night. If you execute your game plan, you should win. If you slack off, you can look pretty bad.”