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Seiya Kawamata is back in MMA

By Zach Arnold | December 5, 2007

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Just when you think the PRIDE yakuza scandal is about to finally die, the tentacles of history’s past are back in mysterious ways.

Seiya Kawamata, the admitted yakuza fixer who was a central figure of Shukan Gendai’s negative magazine campaign against PRIDE & Dream Stage Entertainment, is back in business. In a recent column by BoutReview Japanese editor Hideto Ida (a respected writer), there were two revelations made about Kawamata in an interview with writer Yusuke Yahagi that will no doubt raise some eyebrows. (Read previous posts about Kawamata on Fight Opinion by clicking here.)

  1. Kawamata apparently may cooperate with or give advice to the new M-1 Global promotion.
  2. Kawamata apparently has put money into and/or has a stake in FC Management, the company that (according to the article) is currently representing Brandon Vera.

A quick summary of Kawamata’s role in the PRIDE yakuza scandal…

Kawamata was closely aligned with K-1 and Kazuyoshi Ishii as a ‘yakuza fixer,’ meaning he was an intermediary that dealt with gang bosses. He dealt with the bosses and made sure they got VIP treatment, but at the same time wanted to placate and make sure that no troubles were caused with these individuals at fight events being broadcasted by the free-to-air TV networks. Kawamata was an important figure during the time that K-1, Inoki, and PRIDE were cooperating with each other in 2001-2002.

For the New Year’s Eve wars in 2003, Kawamata was Inoki’s point man for the Inoki-Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 event (airing on Nippon TV). The show ran against K-1’s event on Tokyo Broadcasting System and PRIDE’s Man Festival event on Fuji TV. The Inoki show was a total disaster and Kawamata alleged in Shukan Gendai magazine that his own yakuza members turned on him and sided with DSE. He claimed that he and power agent Miro Mijatovic were threatened by DSE yakuza into paying them money because he got Fedor onto the Inoki NYE show.

Kawamata filed a complaint with the Kanagawa Police (which led to the hunt for DSE’s virtual owner, Mr. I aka Mr. Ishizaka aka Kim Dok-Soo). Kawamata ended up in ‘hiding’ for a long period of time.

He filed a lawsuit against Nippon TV because they canceled their NYE contract with him after the disastrous 2003 show. Kawamata ended up losing the court case, which proved costly for Mijatovic because he had successful won a lien to be attached onto any damages Kawamata won in court against Nippon TV (Mijatovic was not paid for foreign fighters he booked on the show).

PRIDE ended up losing their Fuji TV deal after Shukan Gendai’s negative campaign continued for several months.

There have been recent rumors that Kawamata is now going back and forth between Japan and Los Angeles. There is discussion that he may be writing a book or helping a book be produced soon about his role in the fight industry.

Topics: Japan, K-1, M-1, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 8 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

8 Responses to “Seiya Kawamata is back in MMA”

  1. Who’s being interviewed in the article?

    Ed. — Fellow BoutReview writer Yusuke Yahagi.

  2. I’d love to be able to read that whole article series. That link was part 8 of what looks like a big story about the whole Yarrenoka event.

  3. Zach Arnold says:

    Start here and you can read the article series.

  4. […] co to wszystko pisze? Ano Zach Arnold z FightOpinion pisze, ?e japo?ski dziennikarz, Hideto Ida, który jest respektowanym ekspertem od MMA w Japoni, […]

  5. PizzaChef says:

    What the fuck? The guy who helped killed off PRIDE is now basically and helping people that are helping out former PRIDE/DSE staff members (Yarennoka!) ? That’s beyond fucked up.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    What the fuck? The guy who helped killed off PRIDE is now basically and helping people that are helping out former PRIDE/DSE staff members (Yarennoka!) ? That’s beyond fucked up.

    Remember… Kawamata booked Fedor (along with Vadim and company) for Inoki 2003 on NYE. So, those parties would not be strangers.

  7. Bonus.

    Yakuza scandals are the gift that keeps on giving for professional fighting and fighting-like events in Japan.

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