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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
SmackyBear's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
Oh god no!

But I kinda felt something was going down since name fighters left the company.

It is a shame. I can only hope that at least K-1 will find a new home. They can't let this brand die.

As for MMA, let's hope that DEEP or Shooto can pull something?

+rep for posting!
Thanks. It sucks that the big promotions in Japan are having trouble. But all isn't lost over there.

Shooto is on the verge of doing some things for the future of the sport. They've undergone a shakeup in leadership, and some of the new leaders are proposing bold ideas for Japanese MMA.

This is an excerpt from a larger article about Shooto's financial scandal that led to the new blood. The article is long and somewhat involved for an MMA board, so here's the link if anyone wants to read it all.

Hayato Sakurai is personally campaigning to reform the amateur system by adding a greater range of competitive classes to its current dual class amateur and professional ranks, which feature two levels of amateur competition, classes D and C, and two levels of pro competition, classes B and A. Further, “Mach” hopes to see the banning of headgear, as well as the application of Vaseline for cut prevention -- a practice still largely unemployed in Japan -- and the allowance of ground-and-pound in all bouts.

Asahi’s own proposal is one that will significantly change the look and feel of Shooto while preserving its intent, if ratified and approved by the new association.

“I want to introduce the Unified Rules of MMA and a cage to Shooto. I’m only one man, but now my voice can finally be heard and we can discuss it,” Asahi said with a grin. “Japan is fairly isolated, so we don’t realize how behind we are. I’m someone that has always said that we need to use the unified rules and a cage because we’re behind. Until now, the only person to understand this was Watanabe because we both have had fighters [Yoshida and Takeya Mizugaki] in Zuffa promotions. We’ve seen how they perform there, but no one else has that same experience.”

Asahi posits that adopting the unified rules will help further a global standard of MMA, as well as answer the desire of many young Japanese fighters to acquire cage experience in preparation for someday fighting in the UFC -- a promotion Asahi compares to Major League Baseball in relation to Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

“If they go abroad and lose, it’s for a reason. How can we survive in a system we’re not brought up in? Japanese people today don’t understand that the UFC is the best league in the world now. We need to catch up. All the best fighters are there, and they’re getting paid,” Asahi said, citing recent UFC acquisitions like Yamamoto and Michihiro Omigawa as evidence that Japan’s best are going stateside rather than sticking around in their homeland.

The hope is for future changes to secure Shooto’s place in Japanese MMA’s future now, while Japanese MMA is seeing much turmoil. It is fitting that leading Shooto promoter Sustain has titled its 2011 event series “Shootor’s Legacy.”

“We may not be able to make a promotion here that can compete with the UFC anymore, but we can at least make great fighters that can compete there successfully,” said a hopeful Asahi. “It doesn’t really work the other way around. You don’t see [Alex Rodriguez] coming from the MLB to play in Japanese baseball. The best are in the UFC now, so why not create our best fighters here and send them over to the United States? Someday, we’ll have an MMA version of Ichiro [Suzuki] or [soccer player Shinji] Kagawa.”

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