In my opinion Bas is the most obvious choice to be a first ballot Hall of Famer in MMA. Before Royce Gracie donned a gi and walked into the octagon at UFC 1, Bas had already KO’d two submission wrestlers in Pancrase, including one with his signature devastating liver shot. Bas went 28-4-1 in his career, but perhaps should be better known for his accomplishments outside the ring and cage. From King of Pancrase, UFC Heavyweight Champion and one of the greatest coaches of all time as well as Cartoon Network fitness personality and perhaps the greatest color commentator of all time, he is truely one of the greatest personalities in our sport. With the presentation on Bas Rutten, here is David Snipes:
When most people think of El Guapo, they think of the Pride commentator or the guy on HD Net’s “Inside MMA”. But what people do not remember is that Bas Rutten was one scary dude to be across the ring from. The Bas Rutten that comes to the SNMMAHOF is not the goofy dude hanging out with Stevie Q.
This Bas is a smart tactician, and definitely put the mixed in Mixed Martial Arts.
Let’s go down the list here.
2nd degree blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do
5th degree blackbelt in Karate
3 time King of Pancrase
UFC Heavyweight Champion
I list the BBs only to illiterate how impressive the King of Pancrase titles are, considering there are no closed fists or elbows to the head. Imagine telling a trained wrestler you cannot use a double leg.
The guys who beat Bas
Masakatsu Funaki- the win moved Funaki to 4-1, en route to a 38-10 Pancrase career.
- This loss was avenged.
Frank and Ken Shamrock (twice) over an 11 month period. Ken refused a rematch, the Frank loss was avenged (twice). So Bas is 3-3 against the Shamrock clan.
The second loss to Ken Shamrock moved Bas to a 7-4 overall record. Bas then stated years later he quit training his standup and went totally into grappling, and won 21 of his next 22 fights (one draw)
The list of Rutten victims: Kevin Randleman, Masakatsu Funaki, Jason Delucia, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger, Maurice Smith, Vernon White, and was the first man to beat Minoru Suzuki.
Bas Rutten goes into the SNMMAHOF not only for his Pancrase career, but his commentating career. Bas in the Pride days cannot be overstated. Pride basically gave Steven and Bas the mics and told them to commentate, they were the second-place commentary team, much like the Espanol guys here, and especially in the early days, were not reined in at all, they pointed out mistakes, told people that they were bored, talked about the UFC and other fighters, and watching the fights in this era was like sitting next to them in the arena and just enjoying while learning the sport. Joe Rogan has flashes of it, Goldberg is hit or miss (mostly miss) but the UFC puts restrictions on them that Pride simply didn’t care about.
Tell you what, go find a copy of the first Cro-cop and Fedor bout. The most significant fight in MMA history (yeah- I said it) pre-TUF (HA) and just listen to the show, they are not over the top, they are not selling something, they are simply in the moment and it is a glorious addition to the fight.
So let me add Bas Rutten to the SNMMAHOF by kicking Joao in the Liver, and watching him writhe on the floor.