When and Where: 2002, Pride 19: Bad Blood
Many years from now, when scribes and historians look back into the history of the sport, they’ll find themselves pausing in remembrance of what was one of the harshest and most punishing fights recorded: Ken Shamrock vs. Don Frye.
The staredown itself was epic, and by the time the fight was over, that pre-fight moment in the center of the ring, with both men eye-to-eye, proved prophetic in its silence.
Through the bout, Frye did a lot of damage with his fists, both standing and on the ground, and at one point, he knocked Shamrock out cold with a savage hook, only to see him snap back to consciousness once his head hit the floor.
Shamrock looked game even while ending up on the short end of the stick during most of the punching exchanges, but when he managed to get Frye to the floor, he went to work on both of Frye’s legs, via regular and cross-body heel hooks, which are among the most damaging of all submissions.
The result of the fight saw both men recognized, with Frye earning a split-decision victory over Shamrock.
But the tale doesn’t end there. Shamrock saw his career enter a downward spiral, and in truth, he never looked as good after that fight.
Frye, on the other hand, suffered significant damage to both ankles. He, too, saw his career begin a downward slide after Pride 19, which was his last victory over a true great in the sport.