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Sebastiaan Rutten (born February 24, 1965) is a retired Dutch-American mixed martial artist (MMA) and kickboxer. He was the UFC Heavyweight Champion, a three time King of Pancrase, and finished his career on a 22 fight unbeaten streak (21 wins, 1 draw). He is currently the co-host of Inside MMA on HDNet.

As a fighter, one of his favorite tactics was the liver shot (both punch and kick), and he popularized its use in MMA. Rutten is known for his charisma and has capitalized on his celebrity since retiring from fighting in 1999. He has worked as a color commentator in several MMA organizations, including Pride, and has appeared in numerous television shows, movies, and video games. He also coaches MMA and has authored several instructional materials.


Rutten was born in Tilburgmarker, Netherlandsmarker and became interested in martial arts at the age of 11 after watching Enter the Dragon. His conservative parents didn't allow him to pursue it at first, but he eventually started to train in Tae Kwon Do. He was very committed and eventually earned a 2nd degree Black Belt. He then began learning Kyokushin Karate, and earned a 5th degree Black Belt.

In high school, he was not big and strong and had a skin condition on his hands for which he was bullied occasionally. But years later he attended his high school reunion as a decorated fighter and issued a friendly challenge to fight his former tormentors, which they declined.


At the age of 20 he started competing in Thai boxing. He fought 15 times and won the first 14, all by knockout in the first round. He was TKO'd in his final fight.


Rutten then began his professional Pro Wrestling career with the Pancrase organization in Japan. In 1993, Japanese pro wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki traveled to Holland to scout fighters for their new "hybrid wrestling" (Bushido wrestling) organization, featuring submission fighting, but with no closed fisted strikes to the face. A precursor to what would become modern mixed martial arts, the organization was the first of its kind, and featured such early MMA names as Frank Shamrock, Vernon White, Maurice Smith, Ken Shamrock, and Guy Mezger.

His lack (at that time) of ground-fighting experience led to early defeats at the hands of Masakatsu Funaki and the then King of Pancrase Ken Shamrock, and more controversially losing to Frank Shamrock by way of a split judge's decision. Rutten would come back in 1995 and be dealt another loss from King of Pancrase Ken Shamrock, but would go on to beat the previously undefeated Minoru Suzuki and win his first King of Pancrase title. After putting his title defenses on hold due to an injury, Rutten returned to the ring and beat interim King of Pancrase Frank Shamrock for the undisputed King of Pancrase title.

Rutten then avenged his loss to MMA legend Masakatsu Funaki in 1996 in what is considered to be one of the greatest fights in Pancrase history. Rutten described the war with Funaki in an interview: "Before the fight when he came to me, he made that thumb over the neck, throat slashing motion like I was going to go down. I turned to my manager and said, "Okay, now I'm going to kill this guy, you watch". My game plan was to keep the fight going for 15 minutes...Funaki had never fought above 15 minutes. But then, like 12 minutes into it, while I'm still on my knees he kicks me in the head. I block, but for me that was an illegal thing to do. So right away I start, BANG, BANG, BANG, and he goes down. From that moment on, I totally destroyed him. You got to see the fight; it was a massacre. My palms were black from hitting him so hard. He had the gods on his side or something, because he stood up every time. I hit his face back on the mat and you hear it slam into the mat. His nose is all the way to the side, broke, they have to straighten it out. I go, "Oh my God, this guy can take a shot!" I kneed him so hard in the head. He went down four times. But the last knee I gave to him was like everything I had. I grabbed him by the head and kneed him. It was really like a Rocky movie. I'm standing there and I fall backwards, and I'm totally out of breath. I get up and the referee holds my hand up. Then he lets my hand go and I drop again, BOOM! I was exhausted, I gave everything I had; I really wanted to destroy him. I broke his cheekbones and broke his nose, just because he said he was going to kill me. Oh, I was so angry at him. But afterwards, friends again...what a crazy sport this is, huh?"

Rutten then went on to defend his title against both Jason Delucia and Guy Mezger and in so doing became a three time King of Pancrase. In 1996, he relinquished his title in order to be present for the birth of his second daughter. Rutten returned to Pancrase, taking 8 more victories, bringing his unbeaten streak up to 19 straight fights.

Rutten left Pancrase as one of the most dominant fighters in the history of the organization. MMA legend Ken Shamrock was the only fighter in Rutten's career did not avenge his losses to; despite this, Rutten has said he would never want to fight Ken Shamrock again because of the close friendship he has developed with him over the years, and that he would not be able to put his mind and heart into fighting Ken.


In 1998, Rutten signed with the UFC, the biggest MMA promotion in the United States. His first fight in the UFC was against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at UFC 18, which Rutten won by KO. Next he faced Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 20. After initially taking a lot of punishment from his guard, Rutten landed a devastating liver kick to Randleman's body to turn the tide of the fight. Rutten then pounded away at Randleman from inside his guard, using elbows to open up cuts on top of Randleman's head and punching Randleman to the face. This fight went into overtime, with Rutten taking a close decision victory to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Rutten vacated the title later in the year, in order to drop down to middleweight (now known as light heavyweight) a weight closer to his natural weight, in a bid to try and become the first person to hold a UFC title in two weight classes.

While training for his next UFC fight in 1999, Rutten suffered multiple serious injuries, including blowing out his knee (a long running injury), and tearing his biceps. He was forced to retire from MMA competition for the time being, by doctors orders.

During his MMA career he became known for two particular things: his fondness of liver shots and his habit of doing a "Rutten Jump" (jumping split) after winning a fight.

Post-fight career

After his retirement from fighting in 1999, Rutten focused on becoming an actor, getting small parts on TV shows such as Martial Law, 18 Wheels of Justice, The King of Queens, and the Canadianmarker series Freedom, as well as appearing in low budget movies such as Shadow Fury, The Eliminator, and the comedy short The Kingdom of Ultimate Power which was featured in the 2005 L.A. Film Festival. It also won the first prize at the short film festival in NY for "best comedy".

The Eliminator, 2004

Rutten wrestled a few times for NJPW from 2000 to 2002, including an IWGP title shot against Yuji Nagata, which he lost.

Rutten was also the color commentator for the English productions of Pride Fighting Championships events, calling nearly every event from Pride 1 through the 2005 Grand Prix. Known for his sense of humor and first hand knowledge of the sport, Rutten quickly became a fan favorite commentator. In April 2006 he announced that he would not continue to announce for Pride, due to the constant flying to Japan, and being away from his family every month.

Rutten has a cameo in the video game "Grand Theft Auto IV" on the in-game TV show called "The Men's Room." He also did motion capture for the main character's fighting moves. He said that when he arrived at the motion-capture place in New York he asked the people in charge how violent they wanted to have it and they told him to "give it all he got". After two hours they stopped him and said, "It's OK, you don't have to go any further".

He was also featured in WCW vs. the World for the Playstation, but was named "Thunder Dome" to avoid copyright laws.

On January 23, 2008, he was announced as the new Vice President, Fighter Operations reporting directly to IFL CEO Jay Larkin. His role was to build relations between the IFL and its fighters as well as work on potential match-ups between fighters. He also hosted the weekly shows "Battleground" and "International Fight League" with Kenny Rice. This all ended when IFL went out of business in late 2008.

Currently, he and Rice host Inside MMA, a weekly MMA variety show on HDNet. The pair also does the English commentary and play-by-play for Dream events broadcast in North America on HDNet. While the fights originate in Japan, the duo commentates live remotely from the HDNet studios in Los Angeles, California.


He is certified as an instructor of both MTBN Thai Boxing and Pancrase.

Rutten coached Mark Kerr during the filming of the HBO documentary The Smashing Machine.

In 2006 Rutten was tapped to coach a team for the International Fight League, an MMA organization that focused on team combat. His team, the Anacondas, defeated the Silverbacks 3–2.

Rutten is an investor in the Legends MMA gym in Hollywood and teaches there occasionally.

He also trained former street fighter Kimbo Slice for his professional MMA bouts.

Last fight

On May 2006, Rutten announced his return to MMA competition. Cleared by doctors to fight again, Rutten was slated to face Kimo Leopoldo in the now defunct World Fighting Alliance on July 22, 2006, at The Forum in Los Angeles. Two days before the event, Kimo tested positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. In place of Kimo, Rutten fought Ruben "Warpath" Villareal. Rutten took a first-round victory by way of technical knockout after low kicks left his opponent unable to stand. With that he brought up his professional record to 28 wins 4 losses and 1 draw.

Personal life

Rutten currently lives in Westlake Village, Californiamarker with his second wife Karin and two daughters, Sabine (pronounced Sa-bee-nuh) and Bianca. He has another daughter, Rachel (pronounced Rah-SHEL), who lives with his ex-wife in The Netherlands.

His first wife gave him the nickname "El Guapo", which means "The Handsome One" in Spanish. It was inspired by the movie ¡Three Amigos!. Rutten recently became a citizen of the United States.


Rutten has several tattoos, each of which is intended to help him spiritually and emotionally:

MMA record


Instructional materials

  • Bas Rutten's Big Book of Combat, Volumes One and Two (2002)
  • Bas Rutten's Big DVDs of Combat
  • Bas Rutten's Lethal Street Fighting (2003)
  • Bas Rutten's MMA Workout (2001)
  • Bas Rutten's Superior Free Fight Techniques
  • Bas Rutten's "Extreme Pancrase" No-Holds Barred Fighting System
  • Training with Bas Rutten "Never Back Down Special Features" 2008


  1. The Origin of Bas Rutten's Love of the Liver Shot?
  2. Official biography
  3. Who's the Bas?
  6. Bas Rutten exposes Gary "Jerry" Millen
  7. GTA4: Rutten is hilarious
  8. Bas in GTA4
  9. Legends Gym: Bright Lights, Big City
  10. Bas Rutten: Exclusive Interview in Black Belt Magazine

External links

Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round, Time Notes
Win 28–4–1 Ruben Villareal TKO (Leg Kicks) WFA – King of the Streets 2006-07-22 1, 3:24
Win 27–4–1 Kevin Randleman Decision (Split) UFC 20 – Battle for the Gold 1999-05-07 1 21:00 Wins UFC Heavyweight Championship

and retires due to injury.
Win 26–4–1 Tsuyoshi Kohsaka TKO (Strikes)
||UFC 18: The Road to the Heavyweight Title ||1999-01-08 ||1 14:15
Win 25–4–1 Kengo Watanabe TKO (Lost Points) Pancrase-1998 Anniversary Show 1998-09-14 1, 2:58
Win 24–4–1 Keiichiro Yamamiya Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Pancrase-Alive 11 1997-12-20 1, 4:58
Win 23–4–1 Osami Shibuya Submission (Body Crunch) Pancrase-1997 Anniversary Show 1997-09-06 1, 3:15
Win 22–4–1 Takaku Fuke Submission Pancrase-Alive 7 1997-06-30 1, 4:28
Win 21–4–1 Kiuma Kunioku Decision (Lost Points) Pancrase-Alive 4 1997-04-27 1 15:00
Draw 20–4–1 Osami Shibuya Draw Pancrase-Alive 3 1997-03-22 1 15:00
Win 20–4 Manabu Yamada Submission (toe hold) Pancrase-Truth 7 1996-10-08 1, 0:54
Win 19–4 Masakatsu Funaki TKO (Lost Points) Pancrase-1996 Anniversary Show 1996-09-07 1 17:05
Win 18–4 Jason Delucia TKO (Liver Shot) Pancrase-Truth 6 1996-06-25 1, 8:48
Win 17–4 Frank Shamrock TKO (Cut) Pancrase-Truth 5 1996-05-16 1 11:11
Win 16–4 Katsuomi Inagaki TKO Pancrase-Truth 4 1996-04-08 1 14:07
Win 15–4 Guy Mezger Submission Pancrase-Truth 2 1996-03-02 1 19:36
Win 14–4 Ryushi Yanagisawa Submission (Choke) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 7 1995-12-14 1 27:35
Win 13–4 Maurice Smith Submission (Choke) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 6 1995-11-04 1, 4:34
Win 12–4 Minoru Suzuki Submission (Guillotine Choke) Pancrase-1995 Anniversary Show 1995-09-01 1 15:35
Win 11–4 Frank Shamrock Decision (Split) Pancrase-1995 Neo-Blood Tournament, Round 2 1995-07-23 1 15:00
Win 10–4 Jason Delucia Submission (Toe Hold) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 5 1995-06-13 1, 1:32
Win 9–4 Maurice Smith Submission (Kneebar) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 4 1995-05-13 1, 2:10
Win 8–4 Takaku Fuke Submission (Heel Hook) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 3 1995-04-08 1, 1:52
Loss 7–4 Ken Shamrock Submission (Kneebar) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 2 1995-03-10 1, 1:01
Win 7–3 Manabu Yamada Submission (Side Choke) Pancrase-Eyes Of Beast 1 1995-01-26 1, 1:05
Loss 6–3 Frank Shamrock Decision (Majority) Pancrase-King of Pancrase Tournament, Round 1 1994-12-16 1 10:00
Win 6–2 Jason Delucia Submission (Guillotine Choke) Pancrase-Road To The Championship 5 1994-10-15 1, 1:43
Loss 5–2 Ken Shamrock Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Pancrase-Road To The Championship 3 1994-07-26 1 16:42
Win 5–1 Minoru Suzuki TKO Pancrase-Road To The Championship 2 1994-07-06 1, 3:43
Won 4–1 Yoshiki Takahashi TKO (Broken Shin) Pancrase-Road To The Championship 1 1994-05-31 1, 1:37
Win 3–1 Vernon White Submission (Guillotine Choke) Pancrase-Pancrash! 3 1994-04-21 1, 1:16
Loss 2–1 Masakatsu Funaki Submission (Toehold) Pancrase-Pancrash! 1 1994-01-19 1, 2:58
Win 2–0 Takaku Fuke TKO Pancrase-Yes, We are Hybrid Wrestlers 2 1993-10-14 1, 2:03
Win 1–0 Ryushi Yanagisawa TKO Pancrase-Yes, We are Hybrid Wrestlers 1 1993-09-21 1, 0:43

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