Ken Shamrock’s importance in the growth of MMA is often understated. | Photo: Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com
“The World’s Most Dangerous Man”
The founder of the Lion’s Den was instrumental to the evolution of MMA at three separate points. He was one of the key stars in the earliest days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and arguably the single biggest pay-per-view attraction of that period; Shamrock scored wins over Dan Severn and Kimo Leopoldo and fought to draws with Oleg Taktarov and Royce Gracie that likely would have been wins with judges. Then in 2002, when the UFC was struggling mightily, his fight with Tito Ortiz gave Zuffa confidence to keep trying rather than throwing in the towel on the endeavor. He returned a few years later to reprise his feud with Ortiz. This time, Shamrock set the then MMA pay-per-view buy rate record, as well as the MMA television rating record. All MMA fans owe a debt of gratitude to Shamrock for his role in building the sport.
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