Ken Shamrock On MMA & Wrestling Cross-Overs, CM Punk Criticism & More

UFC Hall Of Famer and former WWE Intercontinental Champion Ken Shamrock recently spoke with Scott Fishman of Wrestling Inc for an interview ahead of his pro wrestling return at age 54 against fellow MMA fighter turned pro wrestler "Filthy" Tom Lawlor at McAloon Productions' "Ultimate Bar Brawl" event on Thursday, January 31st at Wildpitch Underground in Atlanta, Georgia. Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.

On so many recent MMA and pro wrestling cross-overs and transitions: "I love it. I think if it wasn't for the fact that I crossed over, I'm not sure MMA would have the fan base they have today. A lot of people want to disregard that in that there are MMA fans and wrestling fans. When I made the crossover, I think there was the understanding that no matter where you come from, the MMA or wrestling world, they're both hard to be successful at. And if you're able to make that transition successful, then you are one of those one percenter's able to do it. I think the fans understand that. To have a guy go from one place and another and be successful at it is exciting. I don't think they understood that in the beginning. There was a lot of controversy. And the only reason why there would be any controversy is whether or not they failed.

"If they failed they say, 'Man, you shouldn't have done that. You had it made at the other place.' I say to them, 'If that was the case, and we all went by those boundaries' and said, 'Hey, I'm already successful. I don't need to take that chance.' Then we won't have what we have today with guys transferring over to different sports and being able to watch and see how they advance and be successful in both. But you're going to have some that fail. They're not going to do it, but do you say, 'Oh man, they really screwed up.' No, you can't do that because people have to be able to follow their dreams and make decisions and see whether or not they're able to challenge themselves. And if by chance they fail, don't block them out to be successful in the other sport because they failed at the other one. To me, that's ridiculous."

On the criticism CM Punk received when he made the transition from WWE to the UFC: "Whether you agree with the decision, I don't understand why he is not being welcomed back into pro wrestling and work his way back again. It floors me that you wouldn't praise a guy for taking that chance."

On what he wants out of 2019 from pro wrestling and MMA: "The idea, and I've always had the same idea, was wanting to keep myself fit and in shape and ready to take on any challenges that may present itself down the road whether it be MMA or pro wrestling. When I say MMA, I say for the right fight. I'm not going to fight some 32-year-old or 27-year-old guy in his prime, that's ridiculous. But if the right fight came along with a Royce Grace or something like that, I kept myself in shape for opportunities that I may want to be able to do. Same with pro wrestling. I knew if the opportunity came my way and the right thing happened. Of course, I'm not going to do it for free. It's a business.

"But if they're making money, I'm making money. All the things had to match up for me to get in there. Things are starting to move in the independent world in that the circuit is starting to have fans come in and watch these shows and are able to pay the wrestlers. So, when I started back into this thing, was one be great. Not go in and do it because I have the free time. But because I want to make sure that when it's all said and done that I was one of the greatest wrestlers to come out of MMA. That's the bottom line right there. I want to be recognized as one of the greatest. Whether it be through independent shows or if I get another opportunity at WWF or WWE, whatever those things that happen down the road. I will be ready."

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