Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Shroobi presents Japanese MMA History, Pt.1: Conflict Between Organizations

Here, I'll write about the history of conflict and blame between Japanese MMA orgs. I've added recent remarks from Yuki Nakai to help show how the managers of affiliated gyms view these situations.

Pancrase vs. Rings vs. UWF International

Rings founder Akira Maeda proposes the mutual trade of his pro wrestlers to other promotions, but the organizations deny him.
At this time, only Pancrase is recognized as a legit MMA org.
UWF co-founder Yoji Anjoh's response: "I can beat ya (Maeda), 200%."
This angers Maeda, who retaliates by punching Anjoh at a Samurai TV party.

Rings acquires Maurice Smith, who previously fought in Pancrase.

Rings booker Koichi Kawasaki tries to get Guy Mezger from Pancrase. Pancrase blames Rings, but Rings claims Kawasaki had already resigned. Mezger says Kawasaki tried to make contract with him on Rings' behalf. This causes Pancrase and Rings to hate each other.

Rings also approached Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den gym (of which Mezger was a member) after their deal with Pancrase ended, but failed to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, Akira Maeda continues to attack Pancrase in the press: "I'm gonna end Pancrase."
One Pancrase fighter from this era, Kazuo "Yoshiki" Takahashi, says he'll fight Maeda one-on-one.
This was during Takahashi's career peak; the same year, he beat Wallid Ismail at UFC 12.
But Maeda rejects Takahashi's challenge, instead wanting to fight Minoru Suzuki.

Yoji Anjoh sucker-punches Maeda from behind at UFC's "Ultimate Japan 2."
Maeda was knocked out. Anjoh claimed it was payback for the earlier altercation.
When Takahashi found out about the incident, he shook hands with Anjoh.

Fans of the various Japanese orgs begin attacking each other. It was more insane than the English-based UFC vs. Pride fan battle. This continued until Maeda's Rings promotion closed down in 2002.

Maeda reveals that he's made peace with Takahashi, facilitated by Tsuyoshi "TK" Kohsaka. Takahashi enters the Maeda-run Hero's ring in 2007.

Shooto vs. Pancrase

Cobra Kai's Daisuke "13" Hanazawa is unable to participate in a Pancrase event due to injury.
Teammate Dokonjonosuke Mishima wants to participate in his place.
After this, the Shooto commission decides to strip the license of any Shooto fighter who participates in Pancrase.

Shooto points out that there were worked fights in the early days of Pancrase, and therefore can't stand to exchange fighters.
Shooto and Pancrase also try to poach one another's fighters. The orgs blame each other, and Shooto's solution is to shut off fighters' chances for mutual participation.

Deep promoter Shigeru Saeki succeeds in making Dokonjonosuke Mishima (Shooto) vs. Takafumi Ito (Pancrase) at Deep's "6th Impact."
The Shooto Commission doesn't avoid this match-up.
Result? Mishima by armbar in 53 seconds.

Two months later, Ito fights Shooto ranker Takuya Wada in Pancrase and wins a decision.

Recent changes (2007)
One of Shooto's most important people, official Taro Wakabayashi, says he will try to solve the old feud with Pancrase. He revealed the reason, because no one knew about the problem. The result is that a Pancrase guy in a Shooto gym can use his name where he really belongs.

PPT (Paraestra Pancrase Team) - Paraestra Tokyo
TEAM JUNKiey - Paraestra Matsudo

Paraestra is one of Shooto's official gym groups. Paraestra's leader, Yuki Nakai, spoke about the org vs. org issue recently.

PPT is over. Yanagisawa into Pancrase with Paraestra Tokyo name.

It's bad that (because) we are from Shooto, our boy has to give up a chance to participate in Pancrase. We can't forget income, enjoy life and fight. It's made a bad image for dojo managers, when fighters have less options to make income. I've always said I accept any fighter and (they) can participate in any org.
Paraestra has Shooto for its fighters. So I don't have plans to make a Paraestra event. If a fighter has skill making his own space in the fight scene to earn money, I think he better do that himself. I think management is important for a fighter's living. I don't think managing fighters is our main job.

original forum post 07/07/2007

Big thanks to Chris Nelson (from Bloody Elbow) for English and editing.

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