As it currently stands, the UFC Hall of Fame has eight members.  The Hall was opened in 2003 when Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock were inducted 10 years after the inaugural UFC event.  Since then, five additional fighters have been added along with Charles “Mask” Lewis, who was one of the founding members of the clothing brand “Tapout” and an entrepreneur of the sport in every sense of the word.

It has been announced that Tito Ortiz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this July when he takes on Forrest Griffin, a likely future inductee, in a trilogy fight at UFC 148.

Which begs the question: is the UFC missing an obvious candidate?

The answer, quite frankly, is yes.  What if I were to tell you that there is a fighter out there with a 23-10-2 record who went 5-0 with the UFC, and in those five bouts defeated opponents with an eventual combined career record of 118-43-12 and a combined record of 23-9-7 prior to fighting him? Tack on the fact that in his first UFC fight, he won the 205-pound championship belt and then defended it four times—the fourth time against soon-to-be Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz.  Oh, and in all of those fights he didn’t need the judges as he scored a finish in each outing.

Enter Frank Shamrock, the man with those credentials.  Shamrock initially retired from the sport after defeating Ortiz by submission due to strikes at UFC 22.  His retirement was short-lived, but he never returned to the UFC.  He went on to become the inaugural WEC light heavyweight champion—a title he vacated—and the inaugural Strikeforce middleweight champion.

Just to play devil’s advocate here, it could be argued that Shamrock was relevant in the UFC in a time before there was a lot of depth in the divisions, and that what he did in the WEC and Strikeforce shouldn’t matter because those promotions weren’t associated with Zuffa or the UFC at the time.

But let’s compare him directly to the gold standard, UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman:

Coleman was the first UFC heavyweight champion.  Shamrock was the first UFC middleweight (later re-named to light heavyweight) champion.

Coleman succeeded in Pride, a promotion eventually purchased by Zuffa, after his time with the UFC.  Shamrock succeeded in the WEC and Strikeforce, promotions eventually purchased by Zuffa.

Coleman went 7-5 inside the Octagon.  Shamrock went 5-0.

Coleman held his title for 140 days, before losing his belt in his first title defense.  Shamrock held his title for 703 days, successfully defending the title four times and only relinquishing it when he vacated it upon retiring.

Believe me when I say that I have nothing against Coleman and feel he is worthy of being a Hall of Famer, but at the end of the day the numbers don’t lie.  Frank Shamrock deserves to stand alongside Coleman and the other current members in the UFC’s Hall of Fame.

Photo: Frank Shamrock (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.