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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 Frank Shamrock, 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 split.


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 Guy Mezger.

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 classes.

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.[4] 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 Season 1).

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

DOB: 2/24/65

Height: 6.1

Weight: 205 lbs


MMA Record: 28-4-1

UFC History:

  • UFC 18 (1/8/99) - Rutten defeated Tsuyoshi Kosaka by TKO at 14:13 in the First Round.

  • UFC 20 (5/7/99) - Rutten defeated Kevin Randleman by Split decision in the First Round.

Official Website: www.basrutten.tv

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