Recently I was privileged to sit down with Mr. Frank Shamrock, championship martial artist, commentator, businessman, author and actor for an exclusive interview. Our paths had crossed during some personal appearances he made on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year campaign. I have always been a fan of his MMA accomplishments. And getting to know him, if but briefly, I was even more impressed with Frank, the person. I also knew that I wanted you, our readers, to have a chance to get to know the man behind the legend.
GS: Your previous career as a mixed martial arts fighter has been well documented both in broadcast mediums and print publications. In this interview, I want to focus on the next phase of your life, your plans and aspirations.
GS: The public knows you as Frank Shamrock the fighter – the tough guy who beats up other guys for a living. But behind that is another Frank. Who is he?
Frank: The man behind the image of Frank Shamrock is very different from who I really am. I am a fairly normal person — or at least I try to be — and the most important things to me are family, community, and serving a higher purpose rather than just living. I think that I was put on this earth to serve a higher purpose and to help people, so I spend most of my time doing that, which is different from what most people think I’m doing (just beating up people). I love my children and I think they are the greatest things in the world. I love my wife – she’s really wonderful. I really like to read and learn, meditate and challenge myself with something new. I think most people don’t know these things about me.
GS: How does a celebrity such as yourself go about their re-invention? Did you need to consider your future direction for some time or had you always held a vision of your plans after your MMA and sports commentary careers?
Frank: I have always had the stages of my career planned. After fighting, I knew I would be doing commentary. I had planned that commentary would be a segue into acting, then television hosting, and then on to producing and production. I’ve always had a long-term plan – ever since I was a little kid. I envisioned that I would be a professional athlete. I knew I would someday be a world champion…and then an action star in movies. Those were my little boy dreams. I’m reinventing myself by really sticking to my core principle, which is what I’m really about. I’m always keeping it fresh by way of doing something current and/or helping people. I like doing television or any live event where I interact with the public. And I’m always making sure that the new brand or new story is well thought out.
GS: What business opportunities are you currently considering?
Frank: We’re expanding our law enforcement business and thinking about getting back into the promotion business of live sporting events. My book also comes out on October 1 and shortly thereafter I’ll be going on big book tour (ed.- more on that below).
I am also a spokesman for ibroken.com – They dispatch a repair truck to your location to repair iPhones, iPads and IPods. They can also repair all types of problems, from screen damage, battery replacements, headphone jacks, WiFi signal, color customizations and more. View their website for additional information.
GS: What do you hope to accomplish professionally that you have yet to try?
Frank: I have not acted in a leading man’s role, and that’s something I’d like to try.
GS: The Frank Shamrock Companies describes itself as creating, branding and managing intellectual properties. Can you tell us more about who / what you manage?
Frank: Sure, we manage Mauro Ranallo (the voice of ShowTime) and his brand. We also managed, built, launched, and sold the Strikeforce brand— worth $34 million — all in just five years.
GS: I had no idea you were already a published author. Your 2009 title, “Mixed Martial Arts for Dummies” could have really helped me when I started training in Jiu-Jitsu. Your soon to be published autobiography, “Uncaged : The Frank Shamrock Story”, is due out (as you said) in October of this year. Can you expand on how you came up with the title? Is that a metaphor about your life? If so, how were you “uncaged”?
Frank: It is a metaphor of my life and my life experience. It came from the idea of fighting in a cage and from my subsequent retirement. As I dug deeper into it, it had even more significance from my being in jail and juvenile incarceration. To get the book published, my team and I wrote the manuscript ourselves and planned to self-publish via e-book and create a new type of visual entertainment. As we were finishing and were talking about it in the media, book publishers came to us and offered us publishing contracts. So we stopped production of the e-book and will go the traditional publication route. We will release the e-book later and that intellectual property will also be a feature film and most likely some type of documentary.
GS: Not many people know that you have been a writer and contributor to numerous publications. Have you always been a writer? Is this your creative outlet?
Frank: No, it is not my creative outlet, but I actually learned to write well when I was in jail. I learned to file my own legal papers and wrote legal letters and briefs. I read so much and my own writing improved by understanding how people read. That is a tool that I use in all of my creative outlets — learning how people consume, understand, or are entertained by something. The best part was that it started with the law.
GS: You have already been in a few movies. You’ve mentioned a possible movie in the works – something based on your life story. Can you share any details with us?
Frank: (Laughing) I think I already shared all those details with you in a previous answer.
SDM: You are very generous with your time and the causes you support. With the multitude of organizations out there, how do you choose which causes you support? Is there a personal dimension to your choices?
Frank: Yes, all the charities have some type of personal connection with my life or something that has transpired in my life. Cancer, because my stepfather died of cancer, autism, because my sister works for an autism rehabilitation center — these are all things that are dear to my heart. I also sit on board of the Police Activities League (PAL) of California because I’ve been arrested by the police so many times myself that I figured I should help them and the kids out. Things in my hometown would have been so much better if we had PAL back then in my younger days. PAL provides afterschool community activities, team, and social programs that unite officers and local children in a common cause to improve the community. Check out their web site at http://www.calpal.org.
GS: What advice would you give today’s youth who are going through adversity and don’t see a future for themselves?
Frank: My advice to them would be that your future is whatever you put in your mind and whatever you believe it is going to be. Everything is possible. It may be hard to believe that when you’re a kid and haven’t seen a lot of stuff yet, but just believe in your dreams.
GS: What is the one thing you can reveal to your fans about you that they do not know?
Frank: When I was 16, the doctors told me that I would never play sports because of my back. I laughed at them because I always knew I’d be a world champion. So, to me, that was ridiculous regardless of what was wrong with my back. I proved them all wrong.
GS: What is Frank Shamrock’s greatest joy in life?
Frank: My greatest joy in life is seeing happiness and love in my children and family.
From difficult beginnings where hopes and dreams are a luxury, one boy set himself a goal – of who he would be as a man, that whatever the barriers, he would overcome them though his effort and determination. That failure to reach the limits of his capabilities was never an option. And excuses were for other people.
Sitting with him today, two words come to mind: Role Model. Very few of us could hope to match his accomplishments, but through his example, he has shown us the way. His book, “Uncaged: The Frank Shamrock Story”, is available for pre-order from Amazon at http://amzn.to/PL7mOZ
.Frank Shamrock’s upcoming Book Signing
November 3rd at the Showtime event Oklahoma
November. 10th and 11th The Black Belt Celebration at Ernie Reyes’ World Martial Arts, in Hillsboro, Oregon