As a special guest on a recent episode of The Kurt Angle Podcast, former UFC star Ken Shamrock joined the show and broke down his relationship with UFC President Dana White and why it all ended up going sour.
Shamrock and Dana White were involved in a lawsuit over White not honoring Shamrock’s contract that supposedly had him scheduled to fight one more fight with the company. The UFC ended up winning the lawsuit and cost Shamrock $175,000 in legal fees.
Speaking of the situation as a whole, Shamrock detailed how the issue came up heading into the third-ever season Ultimate Fighter that he agreed to be on. The former UFC star highlighted his conversation with Dana that led to the lawsuit.
“It was something that when I came into it, me and Dana were fine going into The Ultimate Fighter,” Shamrock said. “Everything was good, I made money for the organization, I changed things for them, I told them I would and I did. The problem was when I was doing The Ultimate Fighter, the IFL came to me and asked if I wanted to be a coach on their new season coming up with the IFL Fighting League. I said yes, but I’m doing this Ultimate Fighter thing now, I can’t do anything until I’m done with it, but I said I would love to. I went ahead and put together a meeting with Dana White because I wanted to tell him, I could do it, it’s carved out in my contract. I can train my fighters, I can get my guys fights and I can corner them, that was in my contract. When I pulled Dana White aside, what I didn’t realize was that he had been screwed over by some of the guys that were actually working for the IFL. They had taken some documents, footage that supposedly they weren’t supposed to take and Dana hated them.
“When I sat down to have lunch with Dana, I said ‘Hey, I got an opportunity, I got eight of my fighters to be able to be on this thing and be able to fight. I need to get my guys to fight, so I think this is a great opportunity, I just want to let you know.’ He blew up. ‘You’re not going to do that, you’re not going to fight for those scumbags, those scumbags did this and that. If you do this, you will not fight.’ I already had a contract to fight, a three fight deal and I think I had already fought two. I said ‘Dana, what are you talking about? You can’t stop me from fighting, I have a contract.’ He said ‘I don’t give a s--t what we got, you won’t fight.’ I looked at him and said ‘Dana, what are you talking about? It’s in my contract.’ I said ‘I won’t do it if you can promise me that you will have at least three or four of my guys fight every year.’ He looked at me and said ‘I can’t promise that.’
“I said ‘So you’re telling me now that I can’t have my guys fight, but you won’t let them fight here either. How’s that worth it? I have a gym, I have fighters that I’m training, they’re supposed to fight and I can have them fight anywhere else but the IFL. Is that what you’re saying?’ He said ‘Absolutely.’ Then I said ‘So you’re telling me the contract that we have isn’t good even though we signed a contract saying that I can do this.’ He said ‘I don’t care what it is, if you do this, you will not fight in the UFC again.’ That’s where the lawsuit came in, that’s how we got into the lawsuit stuff. That’s how our relationship got strained. Even though it had nothing to do with me and nothing to do with the fighters that were fighting on that show, it had to do with me training these guys, giving them opportunities to fight and Dana didn’t want them to have that opportunity because these guys supposedly to him were scumbags.”
Speaking about the situation as a whole, Shamrock detailed the entire situation to Angle, noting that originally the UFC apparently used his idea of a fight camp for The Ultimate Fighter. The former UFC star said the company used his idea of having fighters in a house and being in a training camp.
“Where our issue came up was when I was doing The Ultimate Fighter,” Shamrock said. “I was supposed to be in the first one, I couldn’t do it because I had told him I had other plans. Then when I could do it, I said okay, I could do it and we put it together. During that time, I had a team, I put the fight team together and the fact is The Ultimate Fighter is literally based off the fact of putting fighters in a home and training them, which is what I did.
“It is what it is, people can make up their minds about it [whether or not the UFC stole my idea]. I did it, I did it a long time ago, it worked, I created champions from that and now all of a sudden the UFC was doing it. People can make their own minds up whether it was or wasn’t, that’s not up to me to decide. Everybody else can decide on their own.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Kurt Angle Show Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.