On Saturday night, the Showtime Network broadcast EliteXC [Elite Extreme Combat] ended in controversy with the disqualification of Frank Shamrock in the main event. For fans of Mixed Martial Arts [MMA], this event was a historic event. The card included the first non-payperview televised women's fight, and the first five fights of the under card were broadcast on the Internet for free. Unfortunately the event was marred by controversy in the main event. Frank Shamrock [Submission fighting specialist] vs Renzo Gracie [Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert] was supposed to be the finale to a 10 fight card.
As the fight progressed, Royce Gracie's cousin Renzo was able to take Shamrock down a number of times. The fight appeared to be going in favor of Gracie through the first round. In the second round, a warning was given to Shamrock for striking the back of the head [strikes to the back of the head are illegal]. Gracie was on top of Shamrock controlling the position while Shamrock attempted to use knee strikes from the bottom. The first questionable strike was clearly to the head [an illegal strike while on the ground], and the second questionable strike was clearly to the back of the head and neck [strikes to the back of the head and spine are illegal]. Herb Dean, the referee, and no stranger to controversy, called a stop to the bout, giving Gracie an opportunity to recover from the illegal blow. Gracie was unable to continue due to a concussion, and the official decision was a Renzo Gracie win, because of disqualification. The sport of MMA has evolved, since its inception and rules have been implemented to ensure fighter safety.
After the fight, Shamrock said “I thought we came here to fight” and alluded to the idea that he was unaware of the rules. It seemed as though he was minimizing his inability to adhere to the standardized rules while casting aspersions on the reputation of a proven warrior. While there have been rumors that Renzo "faked" the injury, it should be obvious from his history that this is not the case. He fought a who's who of great fighters under standard rules for the respective event, and accepting wins and losses with the same graciousness regardless of the outcome. A more likely reason for the fouls, and resultant disqualification might be that Gracie was dominating Shamrock on the ground and rather than risk a loss to a Gracie, a disqualification was preferable. Royce Gracie commented about his cousins fight: “Wow! Renzo is my hero, he has taken three fights with top opponents in the last 6 months, who does that?”
Jim Hughes, gracie-jiu-jitsu.com, Royce Gracie's representative in New England is responsible for 10 Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Self Defense Academys throughout New England and Puerto Rico explained: in the early days there were no rules, Royce beat Ken Shamrock rather easily. At their second match, the fight process was interrupted when Royce and Ken were stood back up. This gave Ken a slight advantage. Frank had an advantage over the Gracie's in this bout where they would be stood back up after a short period of being on the ground. You think Frank would appreciate the rules and abide by them since they favor his strengths. If knees were allowed, Renzo could have easily reigned down knees and won by knock out.” Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue belt and BJJ enthusiast Sam Mayville, founder of financialleadership.com, says this about the fight “I am outraged by Shamrock's blatant disobedience of the rules, and his comments after the fight only show his lack of sportsmanship, Renzo is clearly the better fighter. On the positive side Showtime did a great job on the venue.”