Ken Shamrock On Overcoming Stigma Of Being A UFC 'Sellout'

Ken Shamrock left the UFC in 1997 to join WWE because, at the time, sticking with MMA wasn't feasible for him financially. With the move came groans from hardcore MMA fans who now viewed him as a "sellout." Appearing on "Vlad TV," Shamrock said he had to shake off that stigma as he made the transition from the Octagon to the squared circle. "Me, having gone through what I had already gone through with fighting and having that legacy, there was a lot of things going on in the background," Shamrock said. "Like, 'Sellout, he's going into this fake thing.' So, it was a lot of things that weren't good that was going on because I had walked and was doing pro wrestling."


Shamrock said that at the time, most people still didn't know too much about the UFC, but the few who really did, however, were not fans of his decision to go to WWE. The former UFC champion debuted as the special guest referee for the classic WrestleMania 13 match between Bret "The Hitman" Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Shamrock explained how simply being a referee in the match gave him confidence.

"The match starts and I mean, probably about five minutes into the match, I'm in it," Shamrock said. "It's like, I can't tell the difference between what I was doing in MMA to what I was doing with those guys reffing that match. They did such a great job. They were smacking, they were hitting each other, they were aggressive. I mean, it made me feel right at home when I was reffing that match."


During his time in WWE, Shamrock held the Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship — with the Big Boss Man; in 1998, he was crowned King of the Ring.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Vlad TV," with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.