Frank Shamrock recently spoke with MMAWeekly.com from on-location filming of Fight Master: Bellator MMA in New Orleans. The mixed martial arts legend gave more insight into the show, and his thoughts on why he thinks the Bellator and Spike relationship is a good move for the overall sport.
Shamrock is one of four coaches of the Bellator reality series set to air this summer on Spike TV. He gave a timeline of events that led to his signing on with Spike TV to coach the show.
“I got a call from Kevin Kay, the president of Spike TV, the last quarter, maybe November or something. I had gone on this MMA Uncensored show, and he called me up and said they have this reality show they wanted to do. He had a very unique concept, and kind of gave me his pitch on the sport, his view on this and what they thought they could do. At the end of it, I was pretty sold to it,” said Shamrock.
Shamrock’s first concern was who the other coaches were going to be.
“That was my first question was who are these other guys going to be? We were able to keep that secret until the very last minute. The last couple of days the Randy (Couture) thing kind of got out a little bit, which I was pleasantly pleased to hear that Randy was coaching and in the mix,” Shamrock told MMAWeekly.com.
“They worked really hard on this and picking out the right coaches to make sure there was a strong mix and a difference in styles and flavors.”
Shamrock has been coaching throughout his career. The Bellator coaching position is right in Shamrock’s wheel-house.
“I’ve been coaching my whole life. Ken (Shamrock) made me a teacher after about three months because he realized I was good at articulating things. Having IFL coaching is just the cream on my career running teams. I started AKA (American Kickboxing Academy). I really feel like coaching is one of my biggest assets. Teaching is one of my biggest assets. I’m actually excited to get back to it.”
Shamrock believes Fight Master: Bellator MMA is not only a good move for Bellator and Spike, but also for mixed martial arts as a whole.
“I think for Bellator, and the sport, it is bigger than big. I don’t think anybody appreciates this moment. When the UFC got the Spike TV relationship going, they were dying. They were a company that didn’t have a place to go and really needed a network partner, a television distribution deal. It basically saved their company, which in return saved our sport. I think the relationship with Bellator and Spike TV is going to do wonders for the sport,” said Shamrock.
“I think it’s going to grow the industry as a whole.”
Shamrock feels that Spike TV’s experience with The Ultimate Fighter, and the people behind the new reality series is going to be a winning combination.
“That’s the thing, they have the formula, have the experience. They’re like a guy that has already been in a championship match. They’ve got the seven-time Emmy Award winning director for reality programing. If they can’t do it, nobody else is going to do it,” he said.
Word on the contestants has been a highly guarded secret. All we know is the show will feature welterweights.
“I know we have the best people that were available at welterweight because that was their goal,” Shamrock told MMAWeekly.
“I think you’re going to see, very similar to Strikeforce, people that are on the edge and never had the shot, and they’re going to realize they have Frank Shamrock in their corner, Randy Couture in your corner, and some of these guys are going to reach deep down inside and do something special,” he added.
The winner of the reality show will gain entry into a future Bellator tournament. Shamrock believes it adds a level of legitimacy to the show and the eventual winner.
“It’s legitimate, the way it should be, and then you have to go into the tournament and prove yourself. If you’re a star, go prove yourself. That’s going to bring tremendous value to this league.”