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Creator / Bas Rutten

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"Dengity dengity deng."note 

"Apparently, the only way to kill a lion is by rear naked choke. Personally, I'd just kick it in the head."
Bas Rutten reciting his philosophynote 

Sebastiaan Rutten (born February 24, 1965 in Tilburg, Netherlands) is a Dutch Mixed Martial Arts fighter, professional wrestler and sport commentator. He started his career training in several martial arts and competing in professional Kickboxing in Holland, but he left the business for being mistreated by promoters. Bas then turned his attention to MMA thanks to Chris Dolman of Fighting Network RINGS fame, and got recruited by Japanese wrestlers Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki for their rising promotion Pancrase. Despite debuting there as a dangerous kickboxer, Rutten found himself struggling against the predominant grapplers of the company, so after his first defeat by submission, he devoted himself to a makeshift grappling training. Over time, his new attitude paid off, and Rutten became one of the strongest fighters of Pancrase, amassing win after win and capturing the King of Pancrase Openweight Championship twice (counting an unification fight). With names like Funaki, Suzuki, Frank Shamrock, Guy Mezger and Maurice Smith in his palmares, he left Pancrase unbeaten and went to make himself a name in United States for Ultimate Fighting Championship. His career there, though decorated with another championship, was brief and controversial, and he retired shortly after by injuries and battle wear. Bas then returned to Japan to work as a commentator for PRIDE Fighting Championship, making a memorable pair with Stephen Quadros, and also wrestled in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Currently, he works as a commentator and guest for several media.

"Tropes to the Liver":

  • Achilles' Heel: Ground and pound. Rutten never quite developed a takedown defense or even a wrestling game, and growing accustomed to a promotion where strikes on the ground were almost nonexistent meant that he focused much more in learning submissions than positional control. Naturally, his stint on the wider ruleset of UFC evidenced this weakness when strong top gamers like Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Kevin Randleman rendered him almost defenseless.
  • The Alcoholic: According to him, he was a heavy drinker in his youth, and it was one of the reasons he left kickboxing. The signing of one of his most importants fight there, against champion Frank Lobman, supposedly happened with Bas being shitfaced, so he did not knew it until some time later. He eventually quit drinking towards 2006.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: He got one in Fighting Network RINGS in his countryman Gilbert Yvel, another wild Muay Thai striker who was expert in surviving on the ground.
  • Always Someone Better: He never got to avenge his losses to Ken Shamrock, though according to him, he lost the desire after becoming friends with Ken.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • In his first fight in Pancrase, he struck so hard his opponent Ryushi Yanagisawa that he believed he had killed him or something. He had a similar moment after defeating Manabu Yamada with an arm triangle choke, because Yamada remained knocked out with his eyes open and he really looked dead.
    • This was used against him in his first match with Masakatsu Funaki. After accidentally breaking then Pancrase's rule on using fists to the face on Funaki, he began apologizing to him, but then Funaki used that distraction to perform a toehold on him and made him tap out.
  • Arch-Enemy: The one person he openly hates and has no respect for is Jason DeLucia.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • It is easy to forget that this fighter who not even Funaki and Suzuki could submit was a guy who learned grappling basically by himself via watching videos. He had some rudmentary training thanks to Chris Dolman and eventually went to train with Funaki, but most of his grappling acumen comes from recording trainings and matches in order to torture his clueless apprentice Van Dijk (and apparently Bas’ own wife) with their moves until they worked.
    • He also polished his game by watching Hayato Sakurai, who he believed to be the best rounded Japanese fighter of the time and possibly of all time.
    • In NJPW, he learned the shining wizard by watching Keiji Muto.
  • Badass Boast: He dominated the shining wizard in record time in NJPW and vowed to knock out Yuji Nagata with it. He nailed the move, although lost the match.
  • Badass Teacher: Has multiple instructional videos, a big book of combat, his system of MMA is worldwide, and he has helped train guys like Mark Kerr, Kimbo Slice and Samoa Joe.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: After being submitted by Rutten, Manabu Yamada claimed that it had been a fluke because there was no way Bas could submit a grappling master like him. Then it came the rematch, and Rutten not only sumitted him again, he did it with a figure four toehold, a really complex hold which nobody expected him to pull. Yamada had no more to say after it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He is a Nice Guy, but it is not a good idea to fight him while angry. See below.
  • Blood Knight: Rutten loved to fight, and he would do it with a smile on his face and four funny jumps after every match. Even now as retired you can notice the kind of enthusiasm he has.
  • Bookends: His first and last fight in Pancrase had him go Attack! Attack! Attack! on his opponents for a quick win.
  • Bouncer: There are plenty of stories about his time as a bouncer.
  • Bullying a Dragon: He has really many examples of why you don't mess with Bas Rutten.
    • His first instance was in a Muay Thai bout against Rene Rooze in Holland. The match got so heated that Rooze, never known as exactly a fair fighter, bit Rutten through his ear a la Mike Tyson. Inconvenienced with the foul, Bas gave him a knee strike in the groin. (At that point, unsurprisingly, the fight was stopped and a brawl broke up.)
    • During one of his MMA trainings in RINGS Holland, one of the fighters tried to get tough on him in a sparring, so Bas kicked him in the head and sent him to the hospital. Bas has never said the name of the prick, but he is strongly rumored to be either Hans Nijman or Herman Renting.
    • His third match with Jason DeLucia had Jason claiming during the fight that Bas was hitting him in the face with closed fists and groin shots, which cut Bas's payday for that match. Bas proceeded to hit him in the liver so hard that it ruptured it.
    • Near the end of their third fight, Frank Shamrock stuck his tongue out and made faces to Bas to get him angry, which effectively led to Bas illegally punching him close-fisted in the face, getting the fight restarted on the feet and a pay cut for Bas. However, Rutten made him pay the Schmuck Bait by defeating Frank by TKO shortly after.
    • Rutten usually adhered to the Pancrase gentleman's rule (no ground and pound of any kind, unless the opponent breaks it first), but when Masakatsu Funaki broke another rule trying to kick him while kneeling, Bas ditched the niceness and went berserker. He got Funaki lying on his back and broke his nose with a palm strike, and later finished him off with a series of knees.
    • Paul Varelans once was goofing around in a party and decided to bite Bas in the back. Rutten’s answer? Slap a Kimura on him and pull it to throw him off a window.
    • His last match in Pancrase was supposed to be an easy match, so he could prepare for his UFC debut at UFC 17.5 (UFC Brazil), though his fight got cancelled when Randy Couture signed with Vale Tudo Japan. When he found out that his opponent was someone that they had been training to specifically beat him, he abandoned any plans for a grappling exchange and went Attack! Attack! Attack! on poor Kengo Watanabe for a brutal TKO.
    • According to Bas, his first match for New Japan Pro-Wrestling against Manabu Nakanishi had an accidental version of this. At the very beginning of the match, Nakanishi pushed Bas into a corner and threw elbows at him as pre-arranged, but one of them ended up as too stiff, which out of habit from his fighting career led Bas to drop him with a palm strike that almost stopped the match, with Don Fyre (Bas' corner man for the match) putting his face in his hands. Thankfully Nakanishi got up and finished the match.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Rutten was freaking strong, and his striking style was built over his physical might. As put by Frank Shamrock:
    "I felt his strength right away - this superhuman, experiences strength. He was very muscular and wiry, and his muscles were incredibly dense. Mine aren't like that. When I get big, I get these full, perfect muscles [...] but they are not that strong. They don't have that density and that super strength. Bas's strength, compared with me, was enormous."
  • Chef of Iron: He is a certified culinary chef, having studied three years of French cuisine.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His works as PRIDE color commentator and self defense instructor are famous for their wackiness and tongue-in-cheek nature, and his private life contains some truly weird incidents, like the aforementioned brawl with Varelans and another one in which he got in trouble with some gun-wielding bouncers.
  • Combat Commentator: His work nowadays. He even did commentary on his past Pancrase fights for his YouTube account.
  • Combat Parkour: According to Bas, bullies used to chase him during his childhood, and he would ran away from them into the forest behind his house, climbing the trees and swinging from one branch to another to evade them. Only the braver kids attempted to follow him, and when one of them almost died of a fall, they stopped chasing him.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Focused in attacking his opponent's liver, via punches, knees and kicks, and was terrifying at it. He also advocates for palm and forearm strikes to the spot behind the ears (which is almost at the back of the head though still considered legal in MMA and boxing) and his instructionals usually devote a section showing how he would set them up in a fight.
  • Counter-Attack: As good grappler as he could become, his main offensive was his vaunted striking, relegating groundfighting for the possibility (in fact extremely common) of being taken down. This makes the bizarre fact of a fighter with 13 wins by submissions (1 more than TKO/KO wins) who never performed a single takedown on his career.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Has dished these out on occasion, most notably his first Pancrase fight.
    • His first Thai boxing fight lasted 43 seconds and ended with a spinning back kick to the liver.
  • Determinator: Managed to pull a draw against Osami Shibuya with a freaking broken sternum (which he broke himself). Less impressively, he submitted Ryushi Yanagisawa with an injured hand.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Everybody in Pancrase was scared by his striking, including a kickboxing champion like Maurice Smith, and even Rickson Gracie refused to face him (or even listen to him, for the matter) when Rutten challenged him to a match upon his retirement.
    • Rutten had a confusion with a Wing Chun master called Emin Boztepe in which they were supposedly led to believe by a magazine that each one had challenged the other. They ended it friendly and forgot the affair. However, popular belief is that Boztepe did challenge him but backed down when Rutten came answering the challenge.
  • Drunken Master: A drunken Bas, as many bouncers across the world know and respect, is not much less dangerous than a sober Bas. He once disarmed and decked a machinegun-toting bouncer who had come to get him out of a Russian club for causing trouble, and not satisfied with that, he returned to the dance floor and continued partying (Bas, not the bruiser). Fortunately for Rutten, he got the club owner in his side, and it avoided more mayhem.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Childhood bullies used to call Bas "melaatse", which means leper in Dutch, due to his chronic eczema. It is an example more of how Kids Are Cruel, but you can bet they stopped calling him that name when he knocked out his first bully.
  • Escape Artist: Very good in escaping holds on the ground, he once got out from a leglock by Masakatsu Funaki which looked impossible to escape. Amusingly enough, it seems that none of the two knew how had Rutten managed to do it.
  • Finishing Move: Liver shot. He also used heel hooks, rear naked chokes and other submissions when he learned the game. In pro wrestling, he also used the crossface chickenwing and the kick to the head.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: He used to put whole shows around parodying Bruce Lee back when he worked as an entertainer for martial arts events in Holland.
  • Genius Bruiser: Chef of Iron is but one example.
  • Human Notepad: Minor example: he used to draw the letter R on the back of his hands before his fights, meaning "rustig" (Dutch for "relax"), to calm himself down when he got angry and to keep himself from gassing out.
  • I Know Muay Thai: And Taekwondo, and Kyokushin and Shin-Tai (a style created by Roland Jansen) Karate. He later learned shoot wrestling, and also practices Krav Maga.
  • Large Ham: Had his moments as a commentator.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Very strong and fast, with a hard but incredibly precise striking.
    • Unlike most heavyweights, who tend to go hard but gas quickly, Bas was fanatical about conditioning and endurance training, which meant he could simply outlast some of his opponents.
  • Loophole Abuse: Pancrase did not allow closed fist strikes to the head. This would normally leave a kickboxer like Bas in a disadvantage, but he was the first to use open palm strikes (striking with the base of the hand). This was only marginally less effective than closed fists (and also, in a bare-knuckle promotion like Pancrase, less injury-prone) and Bas quickly managed to create a whole new striking style based on palm and forearm strikes.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Subverted because he actually was unscathed, but Bas was run over by a taxi during a party in Japan, and everybody thought he was dead until he got up smiling and saying "no internal damage!"
  • Mr. Fanservice: Worked as a male model during his days as kickboxer and chef.
  • Nice Guy: More or less confirmed.
  • Never Be Hurt Again:
    • He was sickly when he was a child and bullied on a daily basis. He then started training in taekwondo then the other martial arts he would come to learn.
    • In a funnier fashion, the first time Bas got into a Muay Thai gym he was knocked out by liver shot. He went to train obsessively to never receive it again, and in the process, he mastered it.
  • Odd Friendship: Rutten, one of the most loved guys in MMA history, is friends with Gerard Gordeau, one of the most hated guys in MMA history. Another odd one is with "Dirty" Bob Schrijber.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bas's reaction upon learning that his inminent debut match in Pancrase would be a single, 30 minute round and not several shorter rounds as he was accustomed. He won the match by going Attack! Attack! Attack! on his unfortunate opponent, but it was also the first time he needed to draw the R on his hands.
  • The Pete Best: For all his accomplishments in Pancrase and the UFC, he did it in a time before MMA went mainstream. He is now mostly known for his commentary work and self defense videos.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: As a teenager, Bas became part of a band of other students that were also accustomed to being bullied and ridiculed like him. They often practiced boxing amateurishly, and also called themselves The Champions.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Or rather purple. Rutten's memorable first attire in Pancrase was composed of purple shorts and boots. He later changed it to all black or red.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Jump For Joy" by 2 Unlimited in Pancrase.
  • Red Baron: "El Guapo" (Spanish for "The Handsome One", inspired for Rutten’s resemblance to Alfonso Arau character in ˇThree Amigos!). He also was given one for his first instructional tapes as the "Ten Second Killer" based on the Pancrase Catchphrase "Byousatsu", though at one time the producers (Nikko Tonshogu Press) fudged up one of their ads, calling him the "Red Second Killer" instead.
  • Room Full of Crazy: A (hopefully) sane example: he used to write down notes about grappling in post-its all over his house to write down ideas he got anytime.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: His personal Verbal Tic.
  • Signature Move: In pro wrestling, the shining wizard.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • Probably less in Rutten’s part than UFC's, but his career there was highly controversial in both of his matches due to the fact that the promoters had pushed him as the next champion and were evidently protecting him. His match against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka saw the referee standing the fight twice for no reason to give the advantage back to Rutten, and his title match against Kevin Randleman featured one of the most controversial decisions wins ever, so much that there is no consensus nowadays about it (see YMMV).
    • Rutten also was once on the shorter end of the stick with this. During his last kickboxing match, the referee ruled illegal the backfist strike and threatened to disqualify him. Bas did not have a clue about that rule, and was logically dumbfounded. Still, he won the fight.
  • Stone Wall: Though his takedown defense was barely existent, Rutten's submission defense on the ground was amazing - he was able to keep submission artists like Funaki and Suzuki away from getting close to submit him, even if they managed to keep him down.
  • Tempting Fate: According to Bas, the night before his fight with Kevin Randleman, Kevin told him that if Bas didn't kick him, Kevin would not take Bas down. Bas of course bites the Schmuck Bait when Randleman goads him into kicking him at the start of the fight as he believed he could counter Randleman when he goes for the takedown off catching the kick, except Kevin throws him off by moving back first to avoid the kick and then dives in immediately for the takedown.
  • Token Good Teammate: Fighters from RINGS Holland team are usually ill-seen by fans due to their frequent dirty nature (make your choice: Gerard Gordeau, Bob Schrijber, Cees Bezems, Gilbert Yvel, Willie Peeters...) but Rutten was a fair fighter and a solid fan favorite.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Started as a unidimensional kickboxer, but eventually learned ground game and became a top contender.
    • Before that, in his childhood he was bullied because he was sickly most of the time since he was 6, but at age 14 after taking taekwondo for a few months he knocked out and broke the nose of a bully of his with one punch.
  • Training from Hell: He passed one under his kickboxing trainers, among them the famous Cor Hemmers, and another under Chris Dolman.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: In his kickboxing career and initially in Pancrase. He has stated that he got through his kickboxing matches thanks to his powerful striking rather than any technical ability in the sport and that it was during his time in Pancrase where he improved his technical skills in both striking and grappling.
  • Ur-Example: Innovated the Bas Rutten Neck Crank, a sort of inverted backbreaker rack.
  • Victory Pose: Not really a pose, more like a victory dance where he jumps and splits his legs in the air for all the sides of the ring. It is called the Rutten Jump.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Wore the Dutch flag in his shorts.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: When he started fighting in MMA, he only knew a submission, the guillotine choke, but he knew it well, and could catch superior people with it.
  • Why Won't You Die?: He asked it to himself while knocking out Funaki again and again during their legendary match.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Rutten lost his kickboxing bout against Frank Lobman basically by lack of training, as while Lobman was a champion and had been training (even in prison), Bas had been partying hard and working as a bouncer.