General Hospital’s Maurice Benard welcomed UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock to his video podcast, State Of Mind. The retired four-time defending mixed martial artist champion took a deep dive into his history with the host and shared how being traumatized as a child led him to a stint in a maximum security prison.
Frank Shamrock: Doing Time Becomes Healing
Frank Shamrock, born Frank Alisio Juarez III, is widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of our time, but his life hasn’t always been a winning experience. The fighter grew up in a troubled and abusive home in Central California. By age 11, he began being shuffled between various foster homes, group homes, and crisis centers before landing in the care of Bob Shamrock and his wife, Dede. He began to understand the meaning of family under their care. The couple eventually adopted the troubled youth, and he took on their name.
Under the gentle questioning of Benard (Sonny Corinthos), Shamrock began unraveling the long journey to healing that still needed to take place. While serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for burglary in Corcoran State Prison and Folsom State Prison, he took his father figure and mentor’s advice and learned to take care of himself and fight back in a positive way.
“I was just a street criminal,” he freely admitted. “Just a knucklehead, but I had already started lifting weights. I had met Bob Shamrock, and he had mentored me and he gave me some really good Dad advice. He said, ‘Build your body. Take care of what is really important.’ He was like the first Dad to ever step up for me.”
“Even though I messed everything up and went to prison, he still came and visited me,” he continued. “He still communicated with me. Told me to ‘Build your mind, build your body, and stop being a dumba**. Get out and do the work. Get your life together.’ So when I went to prison, I went there with this mindset. I wasn’t just doing time.”
The budding champion put his prison time to good use. “I went to college. I lifted weights. I did powerlifting. I did everything that you could imagine to get educated. I actually started training people in prison at the end of my term. I was running fire crews. I was running 600 convicts in a yard when I was 19 years old doing muscular conditioning.”
He started extensive training after just one day out of prison and never looked back. Time spent in isolation proved to be a training ground for meditation and visualization that would serve him well as a winning martial artist.
Understanding Mental Health
Shamrock bared all in the no-holds-barred interview. He peeled back the layers of a traumatizing childhood, spoke of how early crimes led to an escape from the abuse, and how he learned to come to terms with overwhelming emotions later in life. He candidly spoke of the perils of prison, spending time in isolation, fighting for protection, spending time across the yard from Charles Manson, and the inner workings of day-to-day life in incarceration.
Benard learned about his family life, his three marriages, how he adores his daughter and his son, and his seven-month-old grandchild. Shamrock spoke of his estrangement from Bob and his adopted brother, Ken, and their eventual reconciliation. He shared his biological brother Perry’s struggle with being bipolar, which led to a deeper understanding of the abuse the siblings endured growing up and how he could use it to help others who struggled with mental illness as they did.
The sportscaster and actor detailed his road to his championships, the training, the mindset, being number one in Japan, and the memorable bouts with fighters Tito Ortiz, Enson Inoue, as well as Nate and Nick Diaz. It was an eye-opening interview that will touch many. Catch the full episode here.
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