By Zach Arnold | October 21, 2011
Our friend Shu Hirata was on Mauro Ranallo’s radio show this past Tuesday to talk about what’s happening with the fight scene in Japan. I’ll fill you in on a few of the interview notes and then give you my thoughts on the matter.
- Shu says that the Tokyo Metropolitan Police are now working with the broadcast TV networks in Japan in order to try to shut down the TV cash to the yakuza. This, of course, means that the TV networks aren’t so willing to deal with the ‘fight sports people in Japan.’
- Shu claimed that fighters like Kazuyuki Miyata & Kazushi Sakuraba haven’t been paid in over two years. As for why Sakuraba would fight without getting paid… “I think he is a little bit controlled by other influences.” You don’t say. It is noted that Japan has a law stating that there is only a two year statute of limitations period for someone to file a lawsuit over unpaid claims and that most Japanese fighters do not legally draw to challenge promoters.
- “If I had to bet my life on it, I will say it’s done. K-1 is not going to survive.”
- On the UFC Japan show front, Shu says that the fans that will show up for the event are UFC fans and not the PRIDE faithful. He’s right. If the WCW effect taught us anything it’s that those old PRIDE fans aren’t going to be around in huge numbers. They’re gone. As for who is backing the show, Shu claims that major ad agency Dentsu bought the UFC Japan event as a sold show. In essence, that means Dentsu is paying UFC a guaranteed amount of money. Matt Hume recently claimed that one of the big sponsors for the show would be Softbank.
Here’s the problem on the item about Dentsu being involved in the UFC Japan show… Dentsu works with the major television networks to bring sponsors to the table. They would not put out millions of dollars in cash unless they were going to get the show on broadcast television in Japan. Otherwise, what would the point be of them running a live event that’s a no-TV show? Doesn’t add up. A live WOWOW cable broadcast is not worth it for Dentsu in terms of making serious money, so that avenue doesn’t make much sense for a powerful ad agency. This is the same ad agency that worked with the big fight promotions a decade ago and has experience in this field.
So, if Dentsu is the money mark for this event, there’s two questions that need to be raised here: a) are they going to play the role that Total Sports Asia played for WWE in 2003 when they brought their show to Yokohama Arena? b) What will Dentsu want booked versus what the UFC office accepts in terms of matchmaking? Shu alluded to Dentsu wanting a PRIDE-flavored nostalgia show. Even if Dana White woke up on the right side of the bed and gave Dentsu what they wanted, that show is not going to draw big numbers on broadcast television in Japan. There is no strong Japanese ace. The foreigners who could work the card aren’t household names at all in Japan (outside of Mirko and maybe Nogueira).
The more details that surface about the UFC Japan show, the curiouser it sounds.
Speculative, initial guess: Dentsu may end pitching a time buy or barter deal with TV Tokyo, the weakest of the over-the-air broadcast stations.
You can’t go wrong watching a program that features Bas Rutten and our friend Nick Kalikas. Enjoy.
By the way, the discussion of a battle between DirecTV & Fox networks has everyone up in arms. Realistically, I don’t think it’s that big of a story… yet. If there is no deal in place and you are a DirecTV subscribe, all you have to do is make a simple antenna to watch the OTA (over-the-air) channels. If push comes to shove, I’ll be happy to give simple instructions on how to make your own antenna.
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This week’s MMA Link Club featured stories
Five Ounces of Pain: A look back at Wednesday’s Ultimate Fighter program
Josh decides to steal Dustin’s hat and jack his swagger back. Dustin thinks Akira did it, so now he’s ready to kill him. YES! kill him. Dustin takes all of Akira’s stuff in the kitchen and puts it in a trash bag. Then, at the gym, he throws Akira’s equipement all over the locker room. Akira wants a bareknuckle fight in the garden. Doesn’t he know that gets him kicked off the show?
*At the fight announcement, Akira and Dustin keep trash talking. Both guys want the other to perform sexual favors on them. No, seriously. Akira and Dustin is announced. They go nose to nose. Dustin tries a takedown, Akira stuffs it, and then throws down Dustin. Then Bisping and Miller exchange words. The guy who controls the bleep button earned his money just based on this segment.
Because nothing says promoting the intelligence of MMA fighters (in the spirit of Fox Sports boss David Hill) by having more and more slurs broadcast on television.
MMA Fighting: The Nick Diaz Phenomenon
“I think there’s nothing wrong with the media focusing on that stuff,” he said. “It’s something to talk about. It’s a story. I don’t want to say it’s good for the sport, the guy not showing up for the press conference, but it is another character in the sport, you know?”
That Penn ended his answer with a question seemed perfectly fitting, too. Sometimes Diaz leaves you with an uneasy feeling, like you’re not sure if you’re in the midst of watching someone unravel, or you’re just watching someone who’s conflicted.
He supplanted Fedor as the man the hardcores online root for unconditionally. The proof is in the pudding as far as people putting their money on the line at the sportsbooks to bet on him beating BJ Penn, which I find to be remarkable.
“My hair has grown out a little longer. My beard is a little longer. So definitely, we’re going to see a different Roy Nelson,” he said.
But what about your weight, Roy?
“I just want to basically wow people with my beard, so definitely going for that.”
You’re not answering the question.
“As long as I’m 266, I’m good to go,” he added.
This is why, despite the fact that he’s nearly a 3-to-1 favorite at the ‘books, that it makes me nervous to be heavy in his favor to beat Mirko. (Pardon my initially unwitting pun.)
Cage Potato: UFC 137 gambling addiction enabler
Stay the Hell Away From: George Roop. The man has never been one for consistency, and though he has scored brilliant knockouts over Chan Sung Jung and Josh Grispi, he was also blown out of the water by Mark Hominick, and has dropped decisions to Eddie Wineland and Shane Nelson. Shane who you ask? Exactly. Hatsu Hioki takes this with ease.
Hioki is over a 3-to-1 favorite to win. I think that’s a bit high given the history of people overrating Japanese fighters coming to the UFC, even if Hioki’s style is better-suited for the cage.
I think the guys who have the most success are the ones that constantly put everything together. That’s the kind of fighter I want to be. I don’t want to be a guy who strikes for a while and then randomly goes for a takedown. I want to use everything together, my striking, my takedowns and constantly having options available. I think that’s where you’ll have the most success.
Here’s a video interview of Zach after his latest win in Bellator:
Even with Ben Askren training Anthony, I think it’s a fairly competitive fight…
Bleacher Report (Gregory Chase): Is there inconsistency in the way UFC releases fighters?
While nationality may or may not play a significant role, there does seem to be this luminous ambiguity of what constitutes “cutting” criteria. Sometimes it seems based on how they lose, sometimes on what they have done for the sport. Sometimes it seems guys get cut solely because they lost X fights in a row. But if you look at Tito Ortiz, it contradicts some of them.
The true nature of why these guys are getting released when they are is unknown, but it is apparent there is a lack of system. This is where fans find frustration and where the organization starts to look more like a business than a sport.
Middle Easy: A Zeus-ish interview with Chuck Zito
He thinks that if Randy Couture vs. Fedor had been booked that Randy would have won. In hindsight, is he right?
The Fight Nerd: Victor Conte talks steroids in MMA & boxing
Interesting that no one is even asking about drug testing after Chael Sonnen’s fight in Texas…
HDNet is struggling with clearance on many big platforms. Look what’s happened to them in Canada. That’s why MFC’s exposure on TSN is important.