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Who’s the Bas?

Bas Rutten

By Adam Morra, AMAM MMA Correspondant

While no longer actively competing, accomplished fighter Bas Rutten is one of mixed martial arts’ most well-liked and respected figures. Whether in the capacity of actor, color commentator, ring announcer, gym owner or co-host of HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” the Dutch legend remains a constant presence on the MMA scene.

Recently, AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM caught up with the 3-time King of Pancrase and former UFC champ just long enough to loft these ten questions his way....

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AMAM: Who do you feel is presently the best referee in MMA?

BR: “Big John, still is - and I think always will be. Don’t get me wrong; I like Josh Rosenthal, Herb Dean, Mario Yamasaki, etc., but he was there from the start. He pretty much made all the rules. Read his book. You’ll be surprised about what he did.”

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AMAM: What is the significance of the tattoos on your hands?

BR: “Right side (‘KI’) means ‘life force.’ After (getting) that, I never lost a fight and I thought ‘Hey, it works!’ Lets give myself a ‘long life’ and that’s what ‘SJOU’ means - which I have on my left hand”

AMAM: Who's currently the best fighter on the planet?

BR: “Horrible question because there are so many that I like. If I need to say only one, then I say Jose Aldo.”

AMAM: Which MMA fighter, active or retired do/did you most enjoy watching compete?

BR: “Sakuraba. But again, that’s a question like the one before, because there are so many. I had the front seat in the house at ‘Pride,’ (for) Wanderlei, Mirko, Quinton, Nogueira, etc.”

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AMAM: Which single area of your MMA game did you never elevate to the degree that you would have liked?

BR: “Wrestling. I got much better at it later in life, but not in my career. The problem was that we pretty much don’t have wrestling in Holland. Plus, my ground game was pretty solid; if it went to the ground, I submitted them. People still see me as a striker but I think that in the end, my ground was better than my striking. (I) actually won one more fight by submission than by KO (13 subs, 12 KO’s).”

AMAM: Who was the most intimidating fighter you ever faced?

BR: “Intimidating as a person? Nobody. At the time, I was intimidated about Ken Shamrock’s ground skills. After my last loss against him, I started training two, sometimes three times a day on ground and never lost a fight, anymore. I wanted to come out of retirement for him at ‘Pride,’ but he said he didn’t wanna do it because ‘we already did.’ That sucked. I wanted to submit him - not knock him out, to prove a point.”

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AMAM: Of all the MMA fighters you’ve known throughout your career, who makes you laugh most?

BR: “Phil Baroni is one of the funniest guys ever, when he starts telling stories. When he did a story about his friend’s grandmother, I hurt so bad in my abs and head muscles (don’t ask, why my head!) that Mauro Ranallo (who was also there) and I needed to walk away. I am laughing as I write this.”

AMAM: Who was the hardest striker you ever faced?

BR: “That would be Maurice Smith, but...thankfully, he couldn’t connect.”

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AMAM: At what age did you first shave your head?

BR: “I probably was the first person - 23, I believe. And I mean one of the first people ever! I’m not even talking about fighters. At that time, I never saw another guy shaving his head, other than ‘Kojak.’ We don’t have ‘Mr. Clean’ in Holland, so I didn’t know about him. He would be the other exception. I was a model at the time. Yeah, you read that good: a model. Wow! And (I) still had all my hair.

One day, I had a “bad hair” day. Haha! I grabbed the blow dryer from my wife (ex-wife, now). When I looked in the mirror and saw myself with a purple blow dryer, I simply lost it! (I) threw the thing down, walked out the house and my wife asked ‘Where are you going?’ I said ‘I am gonna cut off my hair!’ She thought I was joking. I went to the barber and told him to shave it off. After he was done, my first words were ‘Looks great! I will never grow it back.’ After that, swimming and showering were heaven! “

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AMAM: Which one, professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

BR: “Again a hard one, but let’s sum it up: I am proud of becoming who I am. I went from a very sick kid with a horrible skin disease and really bad asthma attacks, to the person I am now. I never screwed anybody over, on the path to who I am now.

They asked me a question in an interview about my childhood hero, ‘Bruce Lee’: ‘If I wanted to be him.’ And I surprised myself when I told them that I didn’t wanna be anybody else than me. I am at peace and very happy with what I accomplished. I don’t wanna be anybody else because I didn’t ‘make’ that life, it’s already there.

Oh, and more is coming…”

AMAM-MAGAZINE.COM wishes to gratefully show our appreciation to Bas Rutten for taking the time out of his active schedule in order to allow our correspondant the opportunity to conduct this excellent interview, thank you Bas!
For more on Bas Rutten, check out: basrutten.com

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Getting to know Bas Rutten ...

Place of Birth:
Tilburg, Netherlands
Date of Birth:
February 24th, 1965
Current Resident
California, USA
MMA Record:
Tale of the Tape:
Height 6'1" / Weight 205 lbs.
"El Guapo" (Spanish for “The Handsome One”)
Martial Arts Ranks:
Attained 5th-degree Black Belt in Kyokushin Karate, 2nd-Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo
Post-fight Trademark:
Leaping split-kicks to celebrate a win
Favorite Technique:
Liver kick
Possesses Significant Wins Over:
Frank Shamrock (twice), Maurice Smith, Guy Mezger, Tsuyoshi Kosaka, Masakatsu Funaki and Kevin Randleman
Major Titles Held:
3-Time King of Pancrase, UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Bas retired from competition in 1999 then returned for a one-fight comeback in May of 2006 against Ruben “Warpath” Villareal (replaced Kimo Leopoldo), whom Bas garnered a first-round TKO over, via leg kicks
Family Life:
Karin (wife); daughters Sabine, Bianca and Rachele
Distinguished Professional Pursuits:
Co-host of HDNet’s Inside MMA; MMA Commentator; MMA Video Game Personality; Actor; Owner of Elite MMA Self-Defense and Fitness Center (Westlake Village, CA)
Instructional Materials Available for Purchase:
Bas Rutten’s Big Book of Combat volumes 1 and 2; Big DVDs of Combat; Lethal Street Fighting DVD; Bas Rutten’s MMA Workout DVD/CD combo
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