Frank Shamrock Retires from MMA Fighting

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Frank Shamrock is done fighting. Shamrock, one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts, announced his retirement on Saturday, putting to a close a career that paved the way for the current stars of the sport.

“My time has come,” he said at a Strikeforce show in San Jose, adding that stars like Gilbert Melendez and Cristiane Cyborg are now the face of the sport he helped popularize in the United States. “They are the future and I am the past,” he said.

Shamrock became the first UFC light heavyweight champion when, in his debut, he defeated Olympic champion Kevin Jackson in 1997. Shamrock would later defend the title in four memorable fights, including a brutal fight against Tito Ortiz on September 24, 1999.

Shamrock retired from the UFC after the Ortiz fight, saying he has already fought the best the organization could offer. He fought outside the UFC over the years, but his last two fights ended in defeat. He lost to Cung Le in 2008 for the Strikeforce middle weight championship and to Nick Diaz last year. He ended his MMA career with a 23-10-2 win-loss-draw record.