Antonio Inoki is the indisputably second-coolest fightsport promoter in Japan, after cigar-munching, fighter-assaulting, backstage brawling king of K-1 Hero*s and The Outsiders; the Don of mainstream and obscure Rising Sun promotions alike in Sir Akira Maeda. It must be said; Inoki’s own credentials for beating up fellow pro-wrestlers for real, getting into wight old pwopa tear-waps for weal and being a pwopa naughty geezer are by no means unimpressive – long and storied is the career of Antonio Inoki too – atrocious mixfight bout against Muhammad Ali in 1975 et al!
However, we must blame his abject looting of PRIDE FC’s world heavyweight champion Fedor for the 2003 Bom-Ba-Ye show for the untimely death of that glorious org; the only World Cup that MMA is ever likely to have. Inoki’s blatant plundering and the behind-the-scenes ugliness over the ownership of Russia’s finest led to real life gangster shit; gangster murder, gangster dealings made public, and ultimately, the slur of – surprise surprise – “gangster” being the term levelled at DreamStage Entertainment by their irate television stations and thus, the beauty and pagaentry, violence and class of PRIDE FC was forever tarnished and dead.
Major Japanese television networks can’t be tarnished with a public “Yakuza” label. PRIDE, right as they rode the crest of a high & beautiful wave and took their promotion twice across the Pacific pond to Vegas, were with horrible suddenness a dead-org-limping; dead in the water.
Zuffa and bald Dana’s Italians bought its empty shell, just to secure the video library, a handful of top talent for the UFC and to underline what Yakuza activities circa 2003-04 had already managed; the coup de grace, as it were, in a body that within months would have bled out and become cadaverous anyhow.
But still, all’s well that ends well; Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2014 will be fun; even if Inoki’s massive chin heralds back to the death of PRIDE for some. At least K-1′s German lightning a.k.a Stefan “Blitz” Leko won with a head kick at the ’03 event, and Fedor arrived in his usual form to dispose of poor Yuji Nagata in what was barely a minute. “Little” brother Aleks, (Who Is Ryoto) Machida and light-heavyweight Alistair SkinnyReem also notched up victories so with a boom boom boom, I suppose Inoki can say “way-oh“…
This year… whoo!
The INOKI Bom-Ba-Ye 2013 card!
- Shinya Aoki vs. Toshikatsu Harada
Most credential’d lightweight in MMA history versus Japanese fighter a.k.a another compatriot victim
- Satoshi Ishii vs Kazuyuki Fujita
That disgraceful, abhorrent man is back, taking on the former BEST CHIN in the sport
- Jerome LeBanner vs Ray Sefo
K-Juan legends fight
- Minowaman vs Atsushi Sawada
The Super Hluk Champion of the World versus a dead man walking
- Brett Rogers vs Phil DeFries
Excellent husband and former Strikeforce heavyweight monster makes Japan debut
- Satoru Kitaoka vs Ramazan Esenbaev
DEEP Lightweight champ Koala versus Russian star
So… we have:
THE GREATEST – or at least, most credential’d lightweight ever in Mixed Martial Arts history, who has notched up more “ranked” wins than any other (with eleven or twelve recorded top 10 victories, depending on your source of rankings).
Against his compatriots, he is truly cannibalistic. Even when – as in the case of Mizuto Hirota and Tatsuya Kawajiri – they are ranked in the world top 10 by consensus, Shinya El Maestro de las Sumísion Volando Aoki viciously vivisects them with obnoxious ease. Hell, he yanked a ‘copper lock’ (as demonstrated by British police nationwide – we all felt it at some point… it’s a cop move) on poor Hirota after straddling his back and controlling him with one hand. That was the damn Sengoku titlist; champion of the world’s then-greatest promotion. Aoki is a twisted genius; a submission magician. Harada will surely come up with Har-nada. Aoki is har(a)der. Etc.
DEEP champ Koala Kitaoka returns to the New Years Eve big stage with a bout against Eastern European opposition!
~K-1 Legends Fight!
Jerome LeBanner is not quite the terminator he was circa one calendar decade ago, but nevertheless the French monster is always guaranteed entertainment. There are few more popular fighters than he in the stand-up striking realm; Ray Sefo for his part has also competed against the very best in the business – beating many – and his standout moment simply has to be the Mark Hunt slobberknocker that became by-far the most talked about post-school Eurosport clip of “kickboxing action” that was subsequently talked about the next day in England. Hey, no YouTube a decade ago…
In this one, Ray Ray may be equally shopworn when it comes to judging his pedigree against the very best around, but his constitution is certainly a tad more solid than is JLB’s. It always was, but particularly at this late stage in the game. But with LeBanner’s power and tenacity – when not upping and leaving the ring because he doesn’t believe in “extra rounds” – is quite notable, so despite the lateness in the day for both men’s careers, this scrap could very well become the pick of the card.
~ Boo this man, boo ~
Good God, that awful man is back. Satoshi Ishii‘s disgusting display against Minowaman when being hyped – even after the Yoshida debacle – as the saviour of JMMA, was one of the blackest nights in the previously wonderful history of Japanese fightsport. It was Tokyo’s “Night of The Long Knives“, The Black Day when the cracks became apparent and the outside world realised that something really was wrong.
Ishii takes on Kazuyuki Fujita, who is most notable for once having a chin so unbelievably solid that arguably the best, well-rounded, fast, strong and aggressive Ken Shamrock ever seen in MMA beat on his noggin for a good seven minutes solid until his then-new Achilles heel – cardio – got the better of him and the legend of “Petey, my heart!” was born. Although, even before the towel went in and Ken’s heart palpitations began, he never actually verbally referenced his heart.
Fujita went on to almost beat prime Fedor with a EUUUUGE overhand right – a feat that would have elevated him beyond Optimus Prime – until the unstoppable robot regained his composure and in the midst of his chicken-dance, secured a desperation takedown on The Fuj and with a rear-naked, choked the life out of the big Japanese fella. Alas, his chin isn’t quite what it was, along with his barrell body; he was last seen on the BIG STAGE getting kneed unconscious by Alistair Ubereem at Dynamite.
Still, it’s lover-lover-lover-ly to see some of the familiar faces rolled back out for a ring-a-ding-dong-dandy on New Years Eve in Japan – the forever-home of Mixed Martial Arts.
As for Minowaman; mere words cannot do an adequate preview justice. He’s back, and in his homeland, the fight will DEFINITELY not be fixed against him with cheating officials, juiced opponents, dubious officiating, drug-related Arsenal-Tottenham-gate style pre-fight sabotage and the whole host of devious tricks that caused him to “lose” (ruled No-Contest by the people) when fighting on non-Nippon soil.
Now, The Super Hluk Champion Will Win. Kinnikuman Top Team!