· On The Spot ~ Bas Rutten
Bas ‘el Guapo’ Rutten has accomplished a lot in the MMA world. He was the three time undefeated King Of Pancrase, and the undefeated UFC Heavyweight champion. Next to being a great fighter, Bas sees himself as even a better teacher. We all know his comments as the color commentator for the Pride Fighting Championships. He's generally always right on his commentating predictions during each MMA event. Bas has advised and instructed many of the top fighters in the world. Along with his fighting and broadcasting credits, Rutten has branched out into other forms of entertainment. He has been featured in several Hollywood movies and has recently moved to the digitized world of video games as a character in the Grand Theft Auto game franchise.
Bas found a few moments shortly after the Affliction: Day Of Reckoning event, where he broadcast for HDNet, to sit down and talk about some of the finer points of the fighting business with MMA Spot’s J. Andrew Yount.
Yount: Why do you think MMA / combat sports are so appealing to fans and fighters alike?
Rutten: Because everybody would like to be a good fighter themselves, everybody likes to kick ass, if they say they don't, they lie. If they would walk on the street with their wife and kids and a group of guys comes to them and start trouble, they wish they could kick their butts.
Yount: Being that you were in Pancrase, did you ever study or develop an interest in the Ancient Greek form of Pankration, and if so, did you learn, borrow, or modify any techniques that were yet to be utilized in modern MMA?
Rutten: Yes I studied the history, but didn't go into the "technical" part, just the history. History says that they used a lot of punches, front kicks and chokes but that's about it on technique, I have to say though that I didn't focus on that.
Yount: What is it like to be considered a 'legend' alongside men like Sakuraba, the Gracie's, Couture, etc.?
Rutten: I love it! What’s not to love? I fought my butt off, had a great career, and to be considered a legend means that I did something right.
Yount: Do you have a favorite / most interesting story from your career?
Rutten: I was in Japan to fight against Takahashi and a day before the fight I see the commercial advertisement for the show on a huge TV screen outside in the city. I see a guy sitting in half guard, falling back and going for a heel hook. I thought, "That’s a cool combination". So the next day I am fighting and suddenly I am in that situation, I thought "let’s try this puppy out", I did and won the fight, breaking the guys shin bone because I didn't realize how much pressure I would put on his lower leg. My re-match with Funaki was great also, there are a lot of fights that were great and have a story attached to it, this was just funny because I learned that technique a day before the fight by seeing it on TV.
Yount: Having been surrounded by a lot of MMA, who are some of the most underrated and overrated fighters out there now?
Rutten: Overrated I’ll keep for myself as you can understand. haha. Wagnney Fabiano is a guy that pops up in my mind right away. So let’s stick only with him. He's a great fighter.
(Bas Rutten explained how he has been misquoted in the past, and was jokingly referring to this in his response to this question)
Yount: What rules or style differences do you see that exist between MMA in Japan and in the major organizations here in the US?
Rutten: The only difference that I know of is the "no elbow" rule. No elbows to the head in Japan, but knees and kicks to the head once on the ground. I love those rules, and am not a huge fan of elbows. Example: If a fighter would totally dominate his opponent for two and a half rounds and then suddenly gets clipped (and cut badly) with an elbow he loses the fight? On the street you wouldn't stop either when that happens right? That's why.
Yount: What is more appealing to you, broadcasting, coaching, or fighting?
Rutten: All of the above, I would still love to fight but even when I would fight I would like to coach and broadcast on top of it. I think I did it the right way, I fought, stopped fighting and started coaching plus commentating and now I commentate, broadcast and if I have time I coach on top of that. I am very happy with the way everything went.
Yount: Are you currently training any fighters?
Rutten: None at the moment, no time.
Yount: What do you see as the next evolutions (techniques and business) of the sport?
Rutten: Techniques? I think people know all the techniques there are, it's just spread out over everybody. But I don't believe that there are still new techniques getting born. So what's going to happen is that fighters start learning all those techniques but more importantly, they need to have different set ups to get to those techniques. For example, everybody knows a straight arm bar, so nowadays it's hard to put a straight arm bar on somebody who knows what he's doing. Now, you need to create different set ups and if you have a set up that your opponent doesn't know, then you can STILL submit somebody with that straight arm bar. Business wise; more organizations will do good and it's gonna be huge on regular TV.
Yount: What is the best advice you'd give to a young fighter trying to become a star in the sport?
Rutten: Don't believe things just because people said so. If somebody teaches you a certain technique, get a second opinion. Why should he be right? I know a LOT of teachers who can't even teach a Figure 4 arm bar. They know what it looks like but not how to teach it. I know professional fighters who could have won a fight if they would have known to make that simple Figure 4 arm bar, but somebody taught them wrong. I hate that stuff, but it happens against a LOT! So try it out, don't just believe them and not explore further. See if he's right and you can find different ways to set it up, or see if you can find the escapes right away. Never stop learning. I used to have "post it's" all over my apartment in Holland with combinations on them that would pop up in my head, the next day I would try them out. If they worked, I would make up different set ups. If that was done, I would know how to escape them for when somebody would use it on me, and after the escape I would go for a counter attacks right away, etc. I would do this with everything, and that's the way you get good. And you can either submit or knock people out. I always tell the people that I am happy with my record, I came in as a striker and out as a submission specialist, I won more fights by submission then by KO, well, only one, haha. 12 by KO and 13 by sub, only three went the distance and I didn't lose in my last 22 fights. That's good enough for me to not have sleepless nights over.
Rutten: Godspeed and party on!
To find out more about Bas 'el Guapo' Rutten, please visit his website at www.BasRutten.tv
by J. Andrew Yount