Ken Shamrock on Why He Left UFC for WWE in 1997, Potential WWE HOF Induction, and More

Former WWE star/UFC Hall Of Famer Ken Shamrock recently spoke with Steve Fall’s Ten Count for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling/MMA. Here are the highlights:

Shamrock explains why he left the UFC for WWE in 1997:

“I think it was more of a necessity because I had talked to Bob Meyrowitz and you know, they were always in and out of court before every event. They were fighting constantly because it was this legal battle with different congressmen or senators and people who wanted to get their name in the paper trying to say and it was barbaric, and it was animalistic and shut it down. So every time we go do an event, they were in court for at least four weeks prior to the event going on. So they spent a lot of money on legal fees. I think it just got to a point where, you know, they just didn’t have the money and I was guaranteed a certain amount of money when my contract came up. My contract came up and they said they weren’t able to pay me. It wasn’t a bad conversation. It was just something that had to happen.”

“Because I always told myself if I couldn’t support my family with doing what I love doing, then I need to go and do something else because my family came first, and that’s what it came down to is I wasn’t able to support the lifestyle that I created because I had a fighters house. I had a group home for at risk kids that was six boys in a boys home that I was taking care of. I had three gyms, boxing gym, grappling gym, and a weight gym, and I had a fighters house. I had 8 to 10 fighters in that house. So I had built up this monthly bill of this world that I created, and by going back and fighting in the UFC, I wasn’t able to continue to keep doing that, keeping guys like Vernon White, Frank Shamrock, Jerry Bohlander, all those guys in the house and training. I wasn’t able to do that unless I went and did pro wrestling because I couldn’t make the money I needed to going back into the UFC because they weren’t able to pay me.”

He explained why he left WWE:

“I think there were a lot of things that transpired during that time. You know, obviously, the thing that happened with Bret was very disappointing, very discouraging. I wasn’t comfortable with how they were using me. I was getting beat, you know, and I developed this character, the world’s most dangerous man, not in pro wrestling, but I developed it in being a real fighter. So when I went in there, one of the things that I made it really clear was that, you know, I have my reputation, my name. So if things made sense, and the angles or storylines made sense and that I wasn’t going to be, you know, crushed as the world’s most dangerous man through all these different scenarios, I would be okay as long as they didn’t destroy what I already built. So I just felt like, at that time, after the thing that happened with Bret, they had some other things they wanted me to do like wrestle with Chyna, which is something that I told them, because my kids were five, seven, and nine or something like that at the time, and I had always told them,you don’t hit girls. You know, it was just a thing, right? They would go into school and these kids believed wrestling was real. So then they wanted me to go in there and fight Chyna, I was like, ‘I can’t do that’, and they’re like, ‘Well, why not?’ I’m like, ‘Because I’ve been preaching to my children that you don’t hit women.’ Well, but this is just entertainment.’ It’s like, ‘But they don’t know that’, right? So there was that that happened. So I didn’t want to do that, but we worked around it. We figured it out. Then there was another thing they wanted me to do this incest angle with Alicia, who played my sister. If I wasn’t married and had kids and you know, all this, I would have done it, but just not for me. Like, I mean, I was already in the mainstream. I’d already built my name. I was already down the road. I already had a family and that just wasn’t for me. But if you’d asked me when I was 22 or 23 years old, absolutely, but just not the right time for me.”

On whether he would accept induction into the WWE Hall of Fame:

“Oh, absolutely. I mean, when that happens, you know, obviously I’m going to be very excited.”

Regarding the relaunch of his Bare Knuckle Fighting promotion:

“We’re not gonna announce the dates, but we have some dates that we’re definitely looking at. But the launch party is where it’s going to kick off, the 7th of January. That’s the focus. That’s where we’re looking because everything after that we believe will fall in place. It’s getting to that January 7th, making sure that we cross all our t’s and dot all our I’s and making sure that when we do this, that it’s done, right. That’s been our focus. You know, we tried to do one show before and it just didn’t work because there were too many things that we were trying to do that I thought was the last minute, so it’s just not a good way to do things. So this time, we’re giving ourselves plenty of time, making sure that when we do the launch party, and that launch party is the easy part, doing the event is another thing. But that’s setting us up for being able to start watching and doing the events. It gives us plenty of time. It gives us focus on what we’re aiming at from the launch party.”

You can watch the complete interview below:

(h/t to Wrestling News for the transcription)