Ken Shamrock's having a hard time letting go.
There's no question that Shamrock is one of the legends of the early days of the sport, and I respect him for all that he's done to get us to where we are. Without Shamrock, I wouldn't have my job. And I really, really like my job.
But it's long past time for Shamrock to move on, both from the fight game and from a feud with Dana White that he just can't win.
Shamrock talked to Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour:
"I don't like to come in and say, 'I've done this and I've done that,' because really, it takes a village to make something happen. It takes a lot of people to make it successful. And to hear Dana White say, 'I did this and I did that. It was me. And he didn't do this and didn't do that.' Well, how in the world did they get to where they were at if it was just Dana? Because I didn't see him in the ring. I didn't see Dana fighting. I didn't see the numbers go up when they had just Tito there. I didn't see any of that.
What I saw was me getting in there, building an organization, having a feud with Tito Ortiz to help build those numbers, along with Dana White and the corporation and the company to shoot that feud. And also to have Tito there, who was a great villain -- to have someone going against me. And that's how we did those numbers. Because we all got involved and did it."
Again, Shamrock is owed plenty of respect for his work in the early days of the sport. And there is a very real chance that without his feud with Tito Ortiz, MMA never would have reached the heights it has today. That's a fact.
But Shamrock is mistaken when he trivializes White's role in building the sport. Without White and his brash, take-no-prisoners style, it's very likely that the UFC never becomes as popular as it did. The rise of the UFC and of mixed martial arts in the mainstream took three parts: exciting fights on television, intriguing characters and a promoter willing to say and do things that other sporting figureheads would never even consider.
Shamrock will never grasp this concept. And that's why he's stuck on the outside, fighting bums and buffoons like James Toney when he could have a lifetime role with the company much like Chuck Liddell.