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5 Planned Ken Shamrock Fights That Never Happened

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
1.15K   //    Timeless

Ken Shamrock: Some big fights didn't happen
Ken Shamrock: Some big fights didn't happen

Ken Shamrock is one of the most famous Mixed Martial Artists of all time. A pioneer, Shamrock first appeared at the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship event way back in November 1993 where he reached the Semi-Finals of the eight man tournament only to be defeated by eventual winner, Royce Gracie.

Shamrock returned to the UFC where he reached the final at UFC 3, before withdrawing due to injury and earned a measure of revenge against Gracie when he pounded the former three time UFC tournament champion into submission at UFC 5's Superfight.

The bout was declared a draw due to their being no judges but Shamrock had usurped Gracie as the top star in the promotion.

He became the company's first ever Superfight Champion at UFC 6, when he defeated Kimo Leopoldo and held onto that title until UFC 9 when he was edged out on a Split Decision versus Dan Severn.

Shamrock soon joined the World Wrestling Federation in early 1997 and the World's Most Dangerous Man ascended the ranks quickly, winning the Intercontinental Title, Tag Team belts and the 1998 King of the Ring.

However, despite his international fame as a wrestler, Shamrock yearned to fight again and signed a lucrative deal with the Japanese PRIDE promotion and made his comeback in May 2000, crushing Alexander Otsuka in a stunning performance.

Shamrock's next classic fight came in February 2002, when he took on former UFC tournament champion, Don Frye, in another PRIDE event, aptly subtitled "Bad Blood." In the best fight of the year, Shamrock and Frye pounded each other for 20 minutes and ended the bout with both fighters having locked one another in brutal ankle locks.

Frye later explained that he could not walk for a week post-fight. Shamrock lost the fight via a razor close Split Decision, but that took nothing away from his stunning performance.

It was probably the last great performance of his career. Shamrock re-joined UFC later that year and enjoyed mixed results for the remainder of his run as an MMA fighter.

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However, Shamrock's career fight statistics of 28-17-2 would have been greatly enhanced had some of the planned super fights that were originally booked had taken place.

This slideshow looks at five such bouts that were planned but cancelled for a myriad of reasons.



#5 Tank Abbott

Tank fights Don Frye in the final of the Ultimate Ultimate 1996
Tank fights Don Frye in the final of the Ultimate Ultimate 1996

Ken Shamrock and Tank Abbott were two of the biggest stars of the early era of the UFC. Their electric personalities and entertaining fighting styles mean they were two of the top drawing cards for UFC events in the 1990s.

However, somewhat surprisingly, Shamrock and Abbott never crossed paths with each other.


Why didn't it happen?

There were a couple of windows for this fight to happen, most notably in 1996 and 2003. However, it never did. Abbot made his UFC debut at UFC 6. Shamrock was Superfight Champion while Abbott was competing in UFC tournaments. Abbott never won and therefore never earned a shot at Shamrock.

The best opportunity for the clash to occur would have been at the Ultimate Ultimate 1996, in which they would have fought had Shamrock not broken his hand in the first round versus Brian Johnston. Shamrock won that bout and likewise Abbott won his first round fight and the pair would have met in the next round had Shamrock not withdrew.

There were rumours of a bout between the pair as recently as 2009, albeit outside the UFC which likely would have materialised had Shamrock not tested positive for steroids following his victory over Ross Clifton. 


Who would have won?

Whatever the era, Shamrock would have won this fight. It would be at its least competitive in 1996, when Shamrock's knees were still healthy enough for him to take Abbott down to the mat. This match would have played out similarly to Shamrock's victory over Kimo at UFC 8, with Shamrock the winner by submission.


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