Shamrock retired from the sport at the height of his popularity after a stunning tapout victory over Ortiz in 1999. For reasons that are largely still a mystery, fell out of favor with the UFC's Dana White and vowed never to return to the company.
He returned to fight in Japan in 2000 and hooked up with Strikeforce in 2006. Since his return, Shamrock has appeared in two out three of the largest live crowds to ever watch an MMA event in North America, both at San Jose's HP Pavilion, against Phil Baroni and Cung Le.
Shamrock broke his right arm in a fight against Le in 2008. The Vietnamese-American, who specializes in san shou kickboxing broke shamrock's arm with a series of kicks. The fight was stopped because Shamrock could not continue.
While it was a stinging loss, Shamrock knows he brought it on himself. He chose to fight Le stand-up style, rather than wrestle, which is Shamrock's specialty and not Le's strength.
"After 15 years it's hard to get up in the morning and still challenge myself," Shamrock said. "The challenge for me was to beat him at his own game. But I can't take those chances anymore."
Shamrock said he came the realization weeks after the fight when he was having difficulty trying to feed his baby daughter a bottle while his arm was wrapped in a cast.
When he steps into the cage Saturday night, Shamrock will take with him a reminder of the Le fight. He has a steel plate and six screws holding his ulna together.
"I'd like to think it gives me an advantage," he said, "but I don't think it does."
Shamrock looks forward to competing against a younger opponent, especially in San Jose, where he resides.
"To be main event in this arena and be main eventing on Showtime, it's huge," Shamrock told HispanicBusiness.com "I look at it as the rebirth of mixed martial arts."
Whatever happens Saturday night, Shamrock's future is set. He'll always be able to command top dollars as a fighter. And his charisma can take him just about anywhere.
He's starring in an action-adventure film to be released later this year. He gives motivational speeches to young people. He is CEO of Frank Shamrock Inc., an asset management and integrated multimedia company focused on creating, branding and managing intellectual properties.
And he will remain the color commentator for CBS and Showtime events.
So whatever happened that night last fall when CBS was considering allowing Shamrock to take off the suit and tie and step into the cage? Well MMA fans know what happened. CBS executives thought it would be a bit too pro wrestling-like to have the announcer step into the ring, and likely beat Slice, Pro Elite's biggest star at the time.
Instead, they tapped an unknown Seth Petruzelli, who knocked out the bigger, but not badder, Slice in 14 seconds.
For Shamrock, whose career has been marked by overcoming incredible obstacles to achieve success both as an athlete and a businessman, it was only appropriate that he would make this live call during the broadcast, just after the shocking upset.
"This is what mixed martial arts is all about. If you have a dream. If you are willing to step into a cage and fight for your life you can be anything you want."
No one knows the meaning of that message better than Frank Shamrock.
Frank Shamrock vs. Nick Diaz
Saturday, April, 11, San Jose's HP Pavilion
10 p.m. PST and EST on Showtime
Fans can also purchase the live Web cast simultaneously with the live Showtime telecast beginning at 10 p.m. Online participants can control their own viewing experience through multiple camera angles with corresponding audio tracks, as well as interact with fellow users, view user-generated photos and download select music tracks.
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