3. Who is your favorite fighter? Why?
Growing up my favorite fighter was Ramon Dekkers. He probably had the biggest influence on my style. He showed that you don’t have to be Thai to beat the best fighters in the world. Every one of his fights he fought his heart out leaving nothing behind. Most people think that it is impossible for a foreigner to beat a Thai fighter in Thailand and he made it look easy.
But the fighter that I admire the most is Masato. He is a perfect example of what a fighter that wants to be successful should do. He got into the game, knew what he wanted, and knew how he wanted to end it.
4. To date, what is the best thing that has ever happened to you in Kickboxing?
Despite all the bullshit I’ve been through with the miss-management of my career, I’ve been able to visit places which I might not have ever been it weren’t for Kickboxing; and get paid for it! On a deeper note kickboxing gave me a purpose in life. While most of my friends were pissing their lives away at the bars and clubs in jobs that they can’t stand, I was traveling the world pursuing my dream; I was fighting alongside the top fighters in the world. I’m often asked why I put my body through the pain for a few thousand dollars and I try to explain to them that “it’s not about the money”; it runs deeper than that.
It’s about fulfilling an empty part inside of my soul that I fight. If I didn’t fight I’d probably be pushing my limits jumping out of planes and helicopters or doing something else that only few people can do. The best thing about Kickboxing was that training and fighting gave me a purpose, and the struggles I went through and skepticism in my abilities from friends and family, sparked the flame that I have burning in my chest right now. But the truth is if you were handed life on a silver platter you will NEVER understand why guys like me do what we do.
5. To date, what is the WORST thing that has ever happened to you in Kickboxing?
The worst thing has to be seeing the dark side of the fight game, the side of fighting that they don’t show on cameras and the drugs, depression, and suicides that come along with it. Now granted the things I’m talking about stem from my experiences, and it’s off of that, that I base my reality and truth. Seeing guys who were, considered amongst the best in the world go from having a gym, money, a stable of fighters, mismanage their careers so badly, that they lose it all. Guys mess their bodies up so bad that they need to pump themselves full of steroids and growth hormones just to compete, then only to be given enough money to support their drug use and survive.
Fighters that were once idolized only to end up hardly coherent from brain damage. And to hear about fighters that were once on top of the world, blow their brains out from depression because they can’t find gratification with their lives after fighting. These are the kinds of things that have made me question the path of a fighter and witnessing it from people I once admired has been hard.
6. What are your thoughts regarding the idea that MMA is going to be bigger than boxing and kickboxing in the near future?
Well MMA here in the states is still in the beginning stages of its development. If you look back at the UFC 10 years ago the fighters that competed in those evens didn’t enter as Mixed Martial Artists, they entered as strikers, wrestlers or Jujitsu specialists. Now for the first time guys are coming into the sport as Mixed Martial Artists. One of the reasons that American Mixed Martial Artists are so predominantly confident in their ground game over their striking is that most Mixed Martial Artists were prior wrestlers or wrestled at some point growing up.
MMA gave guys that wrestled an opportunity to further their careers. As of now, with the exception of a few, there is nothing in the UFC that even remotely resembles the finesse you would see in a K-1 Max tournament or a professional Boxing match, and I say UFC because people automatically associate MMA with the UFC; which although is the top MMA company, is NOT a style. On the other hand there is a new up and coming Asian company called OneFC which has a lot of prior Muay Thai and Kickboxing fighters that are transitioning on to Mixed Martial Arts that can strike with the best of them.
The reason I’m comparing the two is because what makes MMA so exciting, to the general public, is seeing someone getting their face smashed in. Although submission attempts and escapes are becoming more recognized by fans it’s the knockouts and strikes to the face that gets people on their feet. In my opinion, the aspect that makes K-1 Max tournament’s and professional Boxing so exciting is not only the punching and kicking but the finesse that guys like Samart Payakaroon, Masato, Giorgio Petrosyan, and Manny Pacquiao bring to it.
I often tell people that boxers and kickboxers are in some way artists in how they can do what they do and make it look beautiful. Mixed Martial Artists on the other hand it seems as though their concern is to win; even if it means putting on a boring show. Now this might be alright if MMA was a sport like football or baseball, were the only determination of making it to the finals is whether or not you win, but MMA, boxing and kickboxing are more of a spectacle then a sport. I say this because there is no organized path to the finals and winning fights isn’t what gets you paid; putting on a show does. A guy can throw a bunch of videos of him beating up nobody’s on YouTube one day and fight as a main event on a major promotion the next just because people want to see it.
To answer your question about MMA taking over boxing and kickboxing, until the fighters in the UFC can pick up their standup game, people will still flood stadiums to watch boxers and kickboxers do their thing.
7. What is your favorite combination or technique?
Jab, straight, hook to the body, backleg low kick. I could do it in my sleep it’s so natural for me.
8. What’s next for Scott Shaffer?
As of right now, my main focus is finishing school. I have taken some time off to let my body and mind recover from the physical and mental stress of the fight game. I’m putting my efforts into a group of guys that I have took under my wing to show them what real kickboxing is and how to train for it. I’ve decided that I am going to give it one more shot and if things don’t go the way I have planned I will put my effort into something else. Kickboxing does not define who I am. It is a part of me but not the only thing I am about.
9. If you could give one piece of advice to anyone just starting out in the fight game, what would that be?
It would be a few things.
First off that Kickboxing and Muay Thai is a way of life, not something you can learn doing an hour a day doing a class. It’s about getting up to go run when you’d rather hit the snooze button and get that extra 30 minutes in. It’s about staying home to rest when all of your friends are out on the weekends. It’s about pushing your mind and body past what your consciousness is telling you you are capable of.
It’s about hard work and sacrifice.
On the flip side it’s important to take your career by the balls. Don’t sit back thinking that the man you call your trainer/manager is acting in your best interest. While you’re breaking your back in the gym waiting for fights you may soon find that his main focus is to sell toilets or some other bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with fighting. Try to stack up as many amateur fights as you can and get your ass overseas to Thailand, Holland or Japan and see how they train.
The number one thing is to know what you want to get out of this. Know, in your mind, what you want the finished product to look like. Don’t go 30+ years into this, taking it day by day waiting for promoters to call you only to find yourself broke with nothing but injuries and a memory.
10.What are your thoughts, if any, about Maurice Smith coming out of retirement, and fighting on March 30th for Resurrection fighting alliance? You know “Mo” better than most, any comments? Is he physically in shape to do this sort of thing still?
I wish him the best and of course I want him to win but more so than that I just hope he gains some perspective on what he wants to do with his life right now. Now, I kind of have a class A personality type were if I’m going do something I’m going to put 100% of my effort into it. I’m hopping some of this has rubbed off on him so he can finally make a decision of what he wants to do and put his heart into it. Whether it’s a trainer, manager, fighter or salesman and I think this fight will help give him some perspective as to what he really wants to do. As for him being in shape, we’ll see come 30 March.
Awesome interview Scott and thanks for everyone at GJS for talking to us. YES, we put this up a little late, and all of you who are part of the gang know why. But it’s up now and it’s awesome and we wish Scott all the best in whatever it is he gets up to in and out of the ring.
(NOTE: March 30th Maurice “Mo” Smith Knocked out Jorge Cordoba with a head kick at 2:05 of the 3rd round. He did this at 50 years of age.)
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