After Frank Shamrock’s (23-10-2) MMA debut, in 1994, he knew his performance left an impact that would fill its own legacy. Shamrock defeated Bas Rutten (28-4-1) in the opening round of the Pancrase tournament. He was defeated in the next round.
“It didn’t matter to me that I didn’t win my second match,” said Shamrock to Bloody Elbow. “I was on the map. I had fought my first fight, and I had won. I became an instant superstar in Japan.”
After the fight, Shamrock continued to fight out of Pancrase for several more years. He would gain national attention by winning gold in the UFC, WEC and Strikeforce. He retired in 2009 after suffering back-to-back losses.
Rutten would eventually join the UFC and become their heavyweight champion. The title was vacated in 1999 when Rutten retired. He would return for one more fight in 2006. Rutten is now co-host on Inside MMA and is one of the play-by-play commentators for the World Series of Fighting.
“Bas Rutten was one of the top fighters in the world at that time,” said Shamrock. “I had basically no chance of beating him. Bas was favored to win the whole tournament. It was my first fight. I was just the appetizer portion. I was sure I was going to get killed.”