Known to many as a former World Wrestling Federation
performer, Ken Shamrock is one of America
's most accomplished participants in mixed martial arts
tournaments such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship
. He has been called "The World's Most Dangerous Man."
Born Kenneth Wayne Fitzpatrick on the 11th of February, 1964, Ken was the son of Richard and Diane. Following the breakup of his parents' marriage, the young Shamrock and his older brothers, Richie and Robbie, were often left alone for long periods of time while Diane worked multiple jobs in order to provide for herself and her sons.
Eventually Diane was remarried, this time to Bob Nance, an army aviator, and the family moved to California. The boys regularly found themselves in trouble with the law for fighting or stealing, and eventually their stepfather simply kicked the boys out, telling them "You don't live here any more."
Ken was taken in by Bob Shamrock, who ran a residential home called the Shamrock Ranch for Boys. While living at the ranch, the young Ken attended Lassen High School, where he excelled at wrestling and football. In his senior year he was the captain of the school football team and was about to enter the state wrestling championships. Unfortunately, an accident while training for the tournament left him with two fractured vertebrae.
Ken's hopes of winning the wrestling competition were dashed. He was told that he could never compete in contact sports again.
Ignoring the warnings from his doctors, Ken trained harder than ever. He also began competing in illegal bare-knuckle fights for money. The injury had cost him dear, however. With his high school education finished he had no hope of a college scholarship.
Now legally adopted by Bob Shamrock, Ken went through several jobs, working as a bouncer at local bars and clubs, even as a male dancer. He then spent a short period in a professional wrestling organisation under the name of Vince Torelli. While he was a skilled performer, Shamrock did not want to attempt to make a career out of wrestling.
After working with a Japanese pro wrestling group, Shamrock became part of the UWF's shootfighting spin-off organisation called "Pancrase" after the Greek combat sport of Pancration. Here he was trained in formal martial arts techniques and eventually became the Pancrase champion.
In 1993 Ken Shamrock returned to the United States to compete in the first tournament of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. He reached the final of the tournament where he was defeated by Royce Gracie, a Brazilian jujitsu practitioner. Shamrock would later face Gracie in a fight which resulted in a draw, although Shamrock was clearly in control throughout the contest.
Shamrock became the UFC Superfight Champion, successfully defending the belt against Dan "The Beast" Severn, among others.
In 1997 Shamrock entered Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. Here he performed in some entertaining matches with wrestlers such as Bret Hart and Leon White (Vader), and the WWF's creative controllers recognised his talents, giving him Intercontinental and Tag Team Championship runs.
Shamrock left the WWF after three years. While his experience with the high profile pro-wrestling organisation has been largely positive, he wished to return to legitimate combat.
His period in the WWF resulted in hightened awareness of mixed martial arts, and several Ultimate Fighting Championship and shootfighting competitors have since performed in professional wrestling organisations, including Dan Severn and Tank Abbot.
Ken Shamrock continues to compete in mixed martial arts, and is the proprietor of the Lion's Den, his dojo where he runs self defence classes by day and trains future competitors for mixed martial arts competitions by night. He provides training and accommodation to fighters in exchange for ten percent of their earnings during the first five years of their professional careers.
Shamrock is married with three children.
Source: Inside The Lion's Den: The Life And Submission Fighting System of Ken Shamrock