One of the most legendary of the old-school fighters in mixed martial arts history, Bas Rutten is known to fight fans the world over. The comedic commentator and colorful personally was a fierce striker in his day, culminating with the title King of Pancrase and, eventually, the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title.
Throughout his fighting career, “El Guapo” took on a virtual who’s who during MMA’s infancy: Kevin Randleman, Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith, Ken Shamrock and countless others. When he decided to finally hang up his gloves, the Dutch striker focused full-time on his commentary and acting.
Rutten will be enshrined in the Pioneer Era category, a new branch of the UFC Hall of Fame that recognizes great fighters who turned professional before November 17, 2000 when the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were created. All but one of Rutten’s fights occurred in the 1990s.
“I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rutten said in a statement. “I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short. Most of my big wins were in Japan. I saw the new UFC Hall of Fame format and I thought maybe I could get in eventually as a contributor because of my years of commentating. But I’m so honored that the UFC recognized what I did as a fighter.”
The induction ceremony will take place on July 11 in the UFC Fan Expo. Rutten will be enshrined alongside Jeff Blatnick in the Contributor category and the rematch between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg in the Fight class. The final inductee -- the Modern Era representative -- will be announced Saturday during the UFC 187 prelims on Fox Sports 1.