Sebastiaan "Bas" Rutten (born February 24,
1965) is a Dutch mixed martial arts fighter and color commentator. He
was a three time King of Pancrase, former Ultimate
Fighting Championship Heavyweight Champion, and is a certified
MTBN Thai Boxing instructor, Pancrase instructor, a 5th Degree Black
Belt in Kyokushin karate and a 2nd Degree Black Belt in
Tae Kwon Do.
He is also the founder of "The Bas Rutten System" and the author of
various martial art books and videos. He holds notable wins over
Masakatsu Funaki, Guy Mezger and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and is considered by
many to be the best Dutch fighter in MMA history.
Born in Tilburg, the Netherlands, Bas Rutten
became interested in martial arts when he was 14 after watching Enter
the Dragon, taking up Tae Kwon Do and getting his black belt in TKD in a
year. He eventually got his 2nd Dan in Tae Kwon Do, then he trained in
Kyokushin Karate, where he competed in bareknuckle full contact karate
tournaments. At the age of 20 he started competing in Thai boxing, going
undefeated, although he credits Kyokushin karate as the base of his
striking skills. Starting as a striker and later on learning submission
fighting, Rutten implemented a well balanced mixture of many techniques.
Bas Rutten calls himself "El Guapo" (Spanish for "The Handsome One").
This nickname was given to him by his wife. It is the name of the
villain in the movie "The Three Amigos". In his fights, Bas' "trademark"
was delivering punches and kicks to the liver of his opponents. In his
"Bas Rutten's Big DVDs of Combat" Bas refers to this as a "liver shot".
Bas is also known for his characteristic "Rutten Jump," which he
performed in the ring every time he won a fight, resembling a jumping
Bas began his professional mixed martial arts career with the upstart
Japanese fighting organization, Pancrase. In 1993, Japanese pro
wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki traveled to Holland to
scout fighters for their new "hybrid 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
His lack (at that time) of ground-fighting experience leading 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, Bas would come back in 1995 and be dealt
another loss from Ken Shamrock, but would go on to beat the previously
undefeated Minoru Suzuki and win his first "King of Pancrase" title.
Avenging his losses to both Frank Shamrock and Masakatsu Funaki in 1996,
he went on to defeat 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 first daughter. Bas
returned to Pancrase, taking 8 more victories, bringing his winning
streak up to 19 straight fights.
In 1998, Bas signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the biggest
MMA promotion in the United States. His first fight in the UFC was
against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at UFC 18, which Bas won by KO. Next he faced
Kevin Randleman for the UFC Heavyweight Champion at UFC 20, this fight
went into overtime, with Bas taking a close decision victory to become
the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Bas vacated the title later in the year,
in order to drop down to middleweight (his natural weight class), and
try to become the first person to hold a UFC title in two weight
While training for his next UFC fight in 1999, Bas suffered multiple
serious injuries, including blowing out his knee (a long running
injury), and tearing his biceps. Bas was forced to retire from MMA
competition for the time being, by doctors orders.
After his retirement from fighting in 1999, Bas 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 Canadian 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.
Bas 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, Bas quickly
become a fan favorite commentator. In April of 2006 Bas announced that
he would not continue to announce for PRIDE, due to the pressure of
constantly flying to Japan, and being away from his family every
month. He handed off commentating duties to fighter Frank Trigg.
In 2006 Bas was tapped to coach a team for the new International Fight
League, an MMA organization that focuses on team combat. His team, the
Anacondas, were defeated by the Silverbacks 4-1, with the only win
coming from Alex Schoenauer (a participant from The Ultimate Fighter
Return to MMA
In May of 2006, Bas announced his return to MMA competition. Cleared by
doctors to fight again, Bas was slated to face
Kimo Leopoldo in the now defunct
World Fighting Alliance on July 22, 2006 at The Forum in Los Angeles.
But just two days before the event, Kimo tested positive for Stanozolol,
a form of anabolic steroids. In place of Kimo, Bas fought Ruben
"Warpath" Villareal. Bas took a first round victory by way of technical
knockout out after low kicks left his opponent unable to stand.
Aside from training for his upcoming fights, Bas teaches martial arts
seminars, and is the author of instructional books and DVDs. Kevin James
mentioned training with Bas in an interview. He currently lives and
trains in Los Angeles. He and his wife Karin have three daughters.
Bas has recently announced that he is teaming up with UFC legend
Randy Couture in starting up a brand
new fight-gym in Hollywood, called "Legends Mixed Martial Arts Training
Center", where you can train Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,
Muay Thai and Boxing. Besides Bas and Randy, several other well known
instructors and pro-fighters will be teaching there, including:
Karo Parisyan, Jason "Mayhem" Miller
and Eddie Bravo
Rutten, like other shoot fighters in the past, has been contacted by
World Wrestling Entertainment with potential contract offers. While
potentially lucrative, Rutten has declined such offers as they would
require him to be on the road 200 days a year.
Nick Name: El Guapo
Weight Class: Welter Weight
Weight: 205 lbs
MMA Record: 28-4-1