Outer Eastern Martial Arts
Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate, Progressive Krav Maga & Reality Based Self Defence
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Bas Rutten is given a page of his own for several reasons. Firstly we have trained with Bas and his no nonsense approach to the Martial Arts is a breath of fresh air. Secondly, he is a man with a wicked sense of humour. From a self defence perspective he gets the message across in a simple and compelling manner.

Fighting career


At the age of 20 he started competing in Muay Thai. He fought 16 times and won the first 14 by knockout, 13 in the first round. He lost his final two fights by TKO.

In perhaps the biggest fight of his kickboxing career, Rutten faced Frank Lobman for the European Muay Thai title on February 12, 1991. Lobman won by TKO in the first round.


Rutten began his professional mixed martial arts career with the Pancrase organisation in Japan. In 1993, Japanese pro wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki traveled to the Netherlands 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 modern mixed martial arts, the organization was the first of its kind, and featured early MMA names Frank Shamrock, Vernon White, Maurice Smith, Ken Shamrock and Guy Mezger. 

Rutten dominated his first two fights in Pancrase, winning each by KO Rutten's first knockout was so brutal that his opponent Tyushi Yanagisawa (then the #4 ranked fighter in Japan) was carried from the ring and spent 2 days in a hospital. Rutten's striking was so powerful that, according to Frank Shamrock, it often intimidated other fighters. Frank Shamrock said, "His kickboxing was devastating. It was something everybody feared. The other thing he had was a basic understanding of real fighting...Bas had that street fighter mentality."
However, his lack (at that time) of ground-fighting experience led to a loss to the extraordinarily skilled Masakatsu Funaki. Rutten, realizing the importance of ground fighting, went to train with the master shoot wrestler Funaki. The training paid off, as Rutten knocked out previously undefeated Minoru Suzuki with a liver shot from his knee. Rutten later said that this win was one of the happiest moments of his life.

Just 20 days later, Rutten faced another steep test, fighting future UFC Hall of Famer, Ken Shamrock, who was then one of the best Pancrase fighters. Rutten turned in a hard effort but ultimately lost the fight via a rear naked choke. Rutten bounced back after the loss to Shamrock with a submission win over Jason DeLucia.

Rutten then participated in one of the biggest events in mixed martial arts history to date, the King of Pancrase Tournament. The winner of this tournament would be crowned the first champion of Pancrase. He was one of the four #1 seeds in the tournament and his first fight was against MMA newcomer (and future UFC champion) Frank Shamrock. Rutten lost a close (and somewhat controversial) decision in a fight considered a large upset, considering Rutten was a #1 seed in the tournament and Shamrock was then unknown and making his MMA debut.
Rutten found a measure of redemption after the upset loss in the first round of the King of Pancrase Tournament by choking out expert grappler and King of Pancrase Tournament Finalist Manabu Yamada in his next fight. With such an impressive showing against the tournament finalist, Rutten then received a rematch and a title shot against tournament winner and then current King of Pancrase Ken Shamrock for the King of Pancrase title, but lost early in the fight via submission due to a Kneebar.
After his second loss to Shamrock, Rutten focused on grappling even harder than before and started training 2 to 3 times a day solely on submissions. Rutten won 7 out of his next 8 fights by submission. He put together a series of wins against future UFC champions Frank Shamrock and Maurice Smith and eventually challenged King of Pancrase, Minoru Suzuki, for the title. Rutten beat Suzuki for the second time, winning 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:

Rutten then defended his title against both Frank Shamrock and the last one was against Masakatsu Funaki which he talked about above, and in so doing became a three-time King of Pancrase. In 1996, he relinquished his title 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 Rutten did not avenge a loss to. In 2000, when Rutten was PRIDE FC's color commentator, a third fight with Shamrock was entertained. Rutten agreed to come out of retirement to fight Shamrock in PRIDE FC. However, Shamrock stated that he already beat Rutten twice and that a third time wasn't necessary. Later, in 2002, Rutten said that he would not fight Shamrock again even if it was offered to him because of the friendship they developed over the years, and that he could not put his mind and heart into fighting Ken.


In 1998, Rutten signed with the UFC, the biggest MMA promotion in the United States. Rutten entered the UFC with a massive amount of hype; he was undefeated in his last 19 fights and was touted by the organization as the greatest martial artist on the planet.
Rutten was originally scheduled to fight heavyweight champion Randy Couture in a title match for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in his first fight, but Couture had a contract dispute and left the UFC to sign with a different promotion. The title was then stripped from Couture and a tournament of sorts was set up to determine the next champion.
Rutten's first fight in his quest for the UFC belt was against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at UFC 18, which Rutten dramatically won by KO with just a minute left in overtime.
On May 7, 1999, at UFC 20, Rutten faced Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. The first four minutes consisted of Rutten taking a lot of punishment from his guard. However, after the fight was stood up to check Rutten's cut, Rutten landed a devastating liver kick to Randleman's body to turn the tide of the fight. Randleman's pace slowed down considerably after the liver kick, which ultimately helped Rutten score judges' points by being the more active fighter. Rutten pounded away at Randleman from inside his guard, using elbow strikes to open up cuts on top of Randleman's head and punching Randleman to the face. The fight went into overtime, with Rutten taking a very close split decision victory to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Judging at that point was not based on the current 10-point must system, but who the judges felt won the fight overall.
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 to 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), tearing his biceps, and suffering a neck injury. 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 jumping split after winning a fight. Rutten talked about the origins of the "Rutten Jump" on his website: "When I won my first fight in Pancrase, I was so hyped that I jumped up in the splits to each side of the ring. Why? I don't know. But, it became my trademark and I had to do it after every fight that I won."
Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz has credited Rutten for inspiration during his early days. Ortiz said; "I looked up to Bas Rutten. Bas was my idol. People were just so scared of fighting him, he was like the man. I thought that was what I need to do now. If I train as hard as he does then one day I'll be as good as him and two years later look where I am, I'm on top of the world. I've got to say thanks to him, (Bas) for helping me out by making me believe in dreams."