Frank Shamrock Describes ‘Intense’ Atmosphere During Filming of ‘Gym Rescue’

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 7, 2014
Frank Shamrock gets a little heated in the premiere of “Gym Rescue.” | Dave Mandel/

Frank Shamrock admittedly never saw it coming.

When the former UFC and Strikeforce champion signed on to be a part of Spike TV’s “Gym Rescue,” physical altercations weren’t supposed to be part of the deal. But that’s exactly what happened after Shamrock admonished disgruntled gym owner Craig Marks for shoddy business practices during the show’s season premiere.

Marks took offense to Shamrock’s tough-love methods and shoved the ex-fighter in the chest. Luckily, Shamrock didn’t respond as he might have in the cage. Instead, he stepped outside, took a few moments to cool off and went back to work.

It wasn’t the easiest thing to do.

“I was shocked – I wanted to leave right then,” Shamrock told “I wanted to drop everything. I’m retired. I like spending my days with my family, enjoying life. I’m trying to do something nice, but people, especially in the beginning, they didn’t really get that vibe so much.”

The initial episode of “Gym Rescue” – shoving incident included – debuts on Spike TV this Sunday at 10 p.m ET/PT. The show operates along a premise very similar to the network’s hit reality series “Bar Rescue.” Basically, Shamrock and former UFC champion Randy Couture team up to travel around the country in hopes of reviving struggling gyms and fitness centers.

Those familiar with Jon Taffer’s work on “Bar Rescue” know that confrontations – both verbal and physical – come with the territory.

Still, despite a stint on the Bellator’s short-lived “Fight Master” series – where he coached actual fighters – the new environment required an adjustment period for Shamrock, who says he’d rather watch nature shows than reality TV.

“The whole filming it was incredibly intense,” he said. “We were basically going back there and pulling the covers back on these guys’ lives and putting all their dirty laundry on the table. Then we do it in a public setting. Everybody’s ready to blow.”

If anyone is capable of reprising Taffer’s role, it’s Shamrock. During the premiere, Couture took a more laid-back approach than his fiery cohort. According to Shamrock, the contrast in personalities works well throughout the season.

“It just comes organically. I’m a real in-your-face, kind of outspoken guy and Randy’s more of a pick-your-shots, pick-your-words type guy,” Shamrock said. “If I’d see a problem, I’d go after it right away. Randy sort of sits back and waits. We developed a nice little good cop bad cop thing where I’d open them up, and he’d crack them with a big shot of reality.”

Shamrock expects that his on-camera chemistry with Couture -- as well as their vast knowledge of gym culture -- will make for good viewing as the show progresses.

“I think [people] are really gonna like it. It’s really compelling television,” he said. “We really break down what a gym is about, what the fitness industry is about. I think you’ll walk away knowing a lot about the fitness industry.”


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