Former UFC heavyweight champion and one of the biggest personalities in the sport of mixed martial arts, Bas Rutten, will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. The announcement was made on Friday night. He will be entered into the Pioneer Wing of the newly revamped Hall of Fame.
Rutten is recognized as the king of Pancrase organization in Japan and made a career out of winning fights via his famous liver punch. After completing for several years in the Pancrase company, Rutten signed to compete with the UFC in 1998.
Rutten came into the UFC with a ton of anticipation and was scheduled to face Randy Couture in his first fight but due to a contract dispute, Couture left the UFC. Rutten went on to win his debut against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at UFC 18. He would then go on to face Kevin Randelman for the heavyweight championship at UFC 20. Rutten would win the very close bout but vacated the title shortly afterwards to compete in a lighter weight class.
During his training he suffered multiple injuries, including blowing out his knee, that had forced him to retire from the sport in 1999. He would come out of retirement in 2006 for one last bout and went on to win the fight via a TKO.
Rutten’s post fight career has been just as decorated has his fighting career was. He as served as a color commentator for several promotions most notably for the PRIDE organization and he is currently lending his vocal talents to the WSOF. He as also taken part in many film and television roles including a supporting role in 2012’s comedy “Here Comes the Boom” starring Kevin James. Rutten also hosts the weekly MMA show “Insdie MMA” on AXS TV. It was this show that Rutten was able to comment on his Hall of Fame selection:
“I never expected to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. I won the UFC heavyweight title, but injuries cut my UFC run short. Most of my big wins were in Japan. I saw the new UFC Hall of Fame format and I thought maybe I could get in eventually as a Contributor because of my years of commentating. But I’m so honored that the UFC recognized what I did as a fighter.”
The UFC Hall of Fame 2015 induction ceremony will take place on July 11 as part of the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas. Rutten now joins Jeff Blatnick, who is entering the Contributors Wing, and the 2005 rematch between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg which will be part of the Fight Wing of the Hall of Fame.