16 Questions for Don Frye

Bad Blood

By Jason Probst Feb 16, 2009
Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog.com

Ken Shamrock and Don Frye
resolved their bad blood.
Q: A lot of your fights were in Japan, where fighters often talk about the fans and how amazing they are. What was your experience like?
A: They treat us with respect. The fans and most of the promoters do, which the promoters don’t do over here. The goddamn promoters in this country think the show’s about them and not about the fighters. Over there, they knew the difference. You have to treat them with respect. You didn’t have any promoters scream and cuss at the fighters there. They respected them and treated us like professionals.

Q: Your showdown with Ken Shamrock at Pride 19 was quite a fight. You both had a lot of bad blood coming into it. What’s the story behind that?
A: I was in the UFC, and Dan Severn was a great friend of mine. I saw Ken Shamrock whoop him at UFC 6, and I thought, “That’s a guy I gotta fight. Anybody who can whoop Dan Severn like that has gotta be a man, and I want to test my size against his size … stand next to him at the urinal.” I had the chance to talk trash, and they gave me the fight; I crossed the line. I wasn’t professional about it, but Ken was, and after the fight, we shook hands and went our separate ways.

Q: You had one another in brutal leg submissions, and neither one of you would tap. How close were you to giving up at that point?
A: I talked a bunch of trash, so I had to back it up. I couldn’t walk away after talking all that garbage. You’re damn right it hurt. He messed up both my ankles real bad. That caused me to start taking the pain pills, and I got a little dependent on the pain meds for a couple of years.

Q: You also served as a coach in the International Fight League for the Tuscon Scorpions in 2007. You obviously enjoyed fighting, but what was coaching like?
A: It was the worst experience of my goddamned life. You know, there’s no office. The fighters … they don’t want to listen to you. The assistant coaches wanted to do their own damn thing, and at that time, it was hell. My mom almost died at that time, and like a dumbass, I went and fought in the 10th anniversary Pride show. I come back with a messed up shoulder. It just wasn’t the right timing, and it was real bad on my part. I couldn’t give the team what they needed as far as leadership. There’s a bunch that goes on leading up to a fight. There’s always a wrench getting thrown in before every fight. You just start being able to ignore it. Having times when you don’t ignore it is when you get knocked on your ass. You like to think of yourself as a professional, but it doesn’t always work that way. Unfortunately, you end up letting outside interferences [come into play].

Q: In your Ultimate Ultimate tournament finale with David "Tank" Abbott, many people were surprised you stood so much with him. He nailed you a couple times. Why did you slug with him?
A: I got drilled more than a couple times. Every time he threw that big ole haymaker and it connected, it’s like he’s got a 20-pound fist. I was loopy for a couple of days.

Q: You’re walking down a dark alley and know you’re going to get jumped by 10 guys at the other end. What two fighters do you take with you?
A: I’d take Mark Coleman with me, and either Tank or Ken. Those boys, they show up to fight; there’s no quit in Mark Coleman or Ken Shamrock.

Q: You fought in the early era of MMA. How do you compare today’s athletes with the guys you competed against?
A: The guys are the same; they all do a great job. The promoters are what’s brought the sport down. You get treated like [expletive] and you fight like [expletive]. They treat you [like] quality, and you’ll give them a quality fight. The promoters are nickeling and diming all the fighters to death and trying to rob and steal [from] them and force them to fight for nothing.

Q: What could fix that?
A: Kill all the promoters, and start all over again.
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