The path of an MMA fighter is one that is marred with strife, intense training, and strong willpower.
This is an autobiography of the MMA fighter Frank Shamrock, from his childhood in California to his time raising his daughter in his retirement. He is biracial, of indigenous Mexican and white descent. However, race played a much more expanded role during his incarceration when the prisons were segregated by race.
The memoir ended on a good note, reflecting upon his life of abuse to becoming an MMA fighter.
He is an MMA fighter and the adoptive brother of Ken Shamrock.
How Does It Hold Up…?
Shamrock wrote about how he was considered a precocious child, due to analysis by professionals. Because of that, he often skipped grades. However, it was the fact that he could not pay attention in class, since he already knew what he was about to learn. Shamrock’s precociousness also found its way when he was in prison and he took as many courses as they provided. He also applied it to studying early childhood development when his daughter was conceived.
Another theme is the concept of fatherhood, since Shamrock’s biological father did not figure into his life, except very briefly. He was raised by a step-father, who was a Vietnam veteran but was also an alcoholic and physically abusive. The amount of corporal punishments he doled out to Shamrock did not work, since he would continue to act up. However, Bob Shamrock was the most effective father figure in his life, since he helped put Frank on the right path but also provided him with the love and care that any parent would. As a result, he adopted the Shamrock surname.
Shamrock also wrote about the relationships he had with women. His first relationship was tumultuous, since it resulted from having a child at a young age. He struggled to pay child support even as he was becoming recognizable. Because he was becoming a household name, he attracted women into his life, one of which was a former Miss Hawai’i winner. He noted the red flags that she had, such as “everything about her being fake.” He managed to get into a stable relationship that he planned for in 5 years. Even with his bout of alcoholism, he managed to get clean and stay in his daughter’s life.
As for his relationship with his adoptive brother Ken Shamrock, it was very tumultuous. Ken was always trying to test Frank, always believing that he was undermining his authority. As such, Frank did not understand why Ken held animosity towards him for all those years. Even Bob Shamrock seemed to be on Ken’s side, since as Frank described, he was Bob Shamrock’s number one boy.
There is also the numerous conflicts that came to Frank Shamrock by other MMA fighters. This included the all-hat-no-cattle fighters. Bob told him never to fight anyone in the streets because they might have a knife or a gun. A knife was pulled on Shamrock, which caused him to run away.
There is also the business component of Shamrock’s MMA journey. He wasn’t a good marketer, as evidenced by the failure of a non-profit organization’s attempt to make MMA fighting into a legitimate sport. He eventually got into a controversy with Dana White, which led to StrikeForce being sold without his say. He did learn a business practice while in Japan, which was to use a sacrificing sob story as leverage to get a chance.
Around the time that Frank started getting name recognition, MMA fighting was becoming an increasing phenomenon. However, there was controversy, since it did not have weight classes. MMA fighting was considered a sport on par with cage fighting, which was what Shamrock did not want the image to be. So, he spent years alongside other people to popularize MMA fighting beyond the Yakuza.
There’s a lot of visceral descriptions of Shamrock’s fighting, which brings a sense of anticipation and immersion. The language as a whole is easy to understand.
As for validation of women, I do not think that it should be the pinnacle of why you should aspire to stardom. It’s easy to encapsulate the prioritization in more worthy pursuits in the Rick Sanchez quote “Break the cycle, Morty. Rise above. Focus on science.” Though, it has more to do with the acknowledgement that you are not in complete control of any situation beyond yourself. You might love a woman and have a child with her, but her family might not like the relationship and try to pressure her to nullify the relationship, leaving you to a life of child support payments. If it happened to Frank Shamrock, it can happen to any man.
As for the Shamrock brothers’ relationship, I think that Ken was constantly testing Frank to see if he could live up to the image of MMA as a legitimate sport.
Bob Shamrock provided the necessities that a child needs. A clear set of rules that Bob himself followed, a welcoming environment, and emotional openness.
Shamrock did note a tragic oversight in Bob Shamrock’s pedagogy, since he was not familiar with addiction. He permitted the young men to have one drink, but it resulted in the constant abuse of drugs and alcohol beyond Bob’s knowledge.
This Book Adds…
…To World-Building Knowledge
I can definitely see how the relationship between Frank and Bob would play a role in a world-building scenario. I don’t know about the intricate details of the stats or the world of MMA fighting, but definitely the bond shared between these two men would be a story worth telling all on its own.
…To Other Authors
Frank Shamrock’s story is exactly what to expect to read about in Warren Farrell’s book The Boy Crisis, which deals with the crisis of masculinity rooted in the lack of a father figure which leads to social and mental health problems. Frank himself did not have that sense of security he felt until he entered Bob Shamrock’s ranch with the other young men. Farrell wrote about how sports can be useful in facilitating socialization of young men.
…To Previous Author
I previously reviewed Michael Gerber’s E-Myth, which is about the pitfalls that can come with small businesses and why they tend to fail. This book can relate to the business but also the social aspects of Frank Shamrock’s life. As far as business, it was clear that Frank was supposed to be Ken’s “Technician” of his gyms. Frank did the training of the young people who entered the gym.
…To My Own
The moral of Shamrock’s story would be that everybody’s life is sloppy without a clear, discernible path. It was a feature of Shamrock’s life as it was with everyone he knew. It does not fall in a neat path and there can be unexpected turns.
As for how this applied to what I previously said about wanting to see more masculinity exploration in fiction, I definitely think that Frank Shamrock’s story fits learning about it. Masculinity is not a singular path, rather it includes never-ending branches.
It is a pretty decent read that got me enraptured into the world of MMA fighting despite knowing nothing about it.
- Farrell, Warren. “The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It.” BenBella Books. 2018.
- Gerber, Michael E. “The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What To Do About It: Revisited.” 3rd Edition. Harper Business. 1995.
- Shamrock, Frank. “Uncaged: My Life As A Champion MMA Fighter.” Chicago Review Press. 2012.
- Ynkawen, Robert-Scott. “Can You Keep A Business Together? | Dream-Writer’s Library.” Dream-Writer’s Villa. 2023.
- “Solving The Crisis Of Masculinity Through Fiction.” Dream-Writer’s Villa. 2023.