Share Shinya Aoki May Be Headed to Strikeforce in 2010 But He Won't Be Wearing His Pants
by Kid Nate on Dec 9, 2009 1:27 PM EST in News 65 comments
Is this the Shinya Aoki that American fans will have to settle for? It's like seeing a peacock shorn of his feathers.
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Per MMA Weekly, the good news:
Shinya Aoki could make his Strikeforce debut in March, according to the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion's CEO.
Scott Coker on Monday told MMAWeekly.com that "dialogue was continuing" with Aoki's camp and follow-up meetings were planned during a trip to Japan for Dynamite! Dream vs. Sengoku on New Year's Eve.
"I do believe Aoki will probably be here fighting for Strikeforce in March sometime," he said.
And the bad news:
Of course, with an American debut, Aoki would likely have to swap his pants for run-of-the-mill fight shorts.
As fun as it is to anticipate Aoki's American debut, if you read closely, you'll note that nothing is signed and all we really have is Scott Coker's sincere desire to bring Aoki to Strikeforce. But Coker, uniquely among American promoters has got a proven track record of bringing over top Japanese talent, including Kasuo Misaki and Mitsuhiro Ishida.
On the issue of the grappling pants, Aoki has told Michael David Smith it's immaterial:
I asked Aoki in an e-mail interview set up by Dream whether his pants aid his grappling skills, and his response (as translated by a Dream PR
representative) indicated that he wasn't too pleased with my question.
"It is nothing to do with my grappling skills," Aoki replied. "Anybody who has experience of grappling should know about this. This questions seems for non professional."
Precedents are rapidly being set in stone for the complete elimination of not just Aoki style long legged grappling shorts, but other designs that enhance fighters' gripping abilities. As Zak Woods argued, there's a good reason for this:
WKR certainly understands the ban as long as it is shown that the shorts do provide an advantage compared to other athletic apparel.
A commission's duty is to keep an equal playing field for all competitors. Part of that duty is combating unfair technological advantages. Sports fans saw one such incident in international swimming earlier this summer. When Milorad Cavic defeated Michael Phelps in Rome the Serbia swimmer was wearing a new Arena X-Glide swimsuit. It was determined that the technologically superior suit gave Cavic an unfair advantage and the Arena X-Glide suit was recently banned from international competition.
On the other hand there is already a set precedent for equipment that allows fighters to more easily perform their speciality: mma gloves. When they were first introduced by Tank Abbott at UFC 6 they were immediately controversial and perceived as giving strikers an unfair advantage.
I believe mma gloves are essential. Mainly because I like to see good punching exchanges.
But there is a cost to mma gloves -- they make securing submissions, especially the rear naked choke much harder. This makes fights that should have been over go longer, results in more decisions, and lots of stalling while fighters have overwhelmingly dominant position but can't capitalize because their opponent is grabbing their gloves and they're not allowed to strike at the back of the head.
And that's not even getting into the reality that many many pro-fighters practice very advanced arts of oiling up their bodies via baths before fight time so that they appear dry and clean upon entering the cage but once they start sweating they're oozing oil from every pore.
But I'm willing to make that compromise....IF we accept that something should be done to make it easier to get submissions.
There is a simple, elegant solution.
Mandate that all fighters wear Aoki style grappling pants. That eliminates the unfair advantage argument, maintains a level playing field AND encourages more submissions.
The only argument against it comes from those who fear and hate the art of submission fighting. Because really, what's wrong with seeing more submissions?
It's not like Aoki's pants suddenly transform him into a submission king. If I were wearing Aoki pants I'd be just as hapless and harmless as ever, just like donning a pair of mma gloves won't turn me into a knock out king. The fighters still have to get the submissions, they just have a slighty easier time.