Since its inception in 1993, the UFC has revolutionized the fight industry. Started as a professional fighting organization, the UFC has evolved into a business where hybrid athletes are required to have mastered various disciplines, e.g., karate, jujitsu and wrestling. It’s the largest pay-per-view provider in the world. Every sport that has evolved to become wildly popular and lucrative has individuals that are credited for paving the way. Bas Rutten is one of the names that come to mind when people talk about legends of mixed martial arts (MMA). A true pioneer of the sport of MMA, Bas who has retired from fighting, has also established himself outside the ring. Find out what Bas had to say about MMA, his injuries, training, and working with stars like Kevin James on the hit movie, “Here Comes the Boom.”
Bullz-Eye: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
Bas Rutten: Oh no. Thank you for doing the interview. This is great.
Bullz-Eye: Well, for our audience at Bullz-Eye, I’d like you all to know that I’m talking with Bas Rutten, who many, including myself, consider to be one of the top MMA fighters of all time, an absolute legend and pioneer of the sport. Throughout his MMA career, he was known as a submission artist and devastating striker who perfected taking out opponents with body shots to the liver and open-hand strikes. The list of competitors he’s beaten reads like a list of who’s who in the world of MMA. Undefeated in his last 22 fights, he’s a former undefeated UFC heavyweight champion, a Muay Thai champion, and a three-time undefeated King of Pancrase.
As if all your accomplishments — and I haven’t even read them all, obviously — in the world of MMA weren’t enough, Bas has also made a name for himself outside the ring as an actor, host and television personality. Rutten can be seen co-starring with Kevin James and Selma Hayek in the feature film “Here Comes the Boom,” which, by the way Bas, I have to say that film was awesome.
Bas Rutten: Right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. You come out with a happy feeling.
Bullz-Eye: My fiancé and I went to see it when it first came out, and I have to tell you, that was just an excellently well done film. The premise was awesome, and the fighting looked very realistic.
Bas Rutten: He did a good job. Kevin James, I know Kevin James for a long time, 16 years. I mean, pretty much right away when I came into the States. He had quite a different life at the time. He lived in a one-bedroom apartment that he shared with his brother. That was when the first season of “King of Queens” started. We became friends right away. And all these years, I’ve been doing a lot of projects with him and with his brother.
Bullz-Eye: Well, both my fiancé and I are into high levels of fitness and training. And when you see him jumping around, and moving about, even in that other film that you appeared in, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” we both commented how extremely athletic he is.
Bas Rutten: He really is. I came home from my first time training, and I told my wife, true story. I said, “He’s like a bear. He’s fast and he’s very powerful, and he picks up things really fast.” Great student, great man. Great guy And he was actually at my last fight that I had in 2006, when I made a comeback, he was there 80 percent of the time for my training.
Bullz-Eye: Oh, no kidding.
Bas Rutten: He was there in the same room pushing, pushing, and pushing me because when he was in my corner, people went, ‘Ah, it’s just a publicity stunt,’ but he was really there all the time.
Bullz-Eye: He sounds like a good guy.
Bas Rutten: Yeah, he’s a really good guy.