December 29 and December 31,
Kron Gracie vs. Asen Yamamoto
and other Fights
Rizin Fighting Federation
is a new organization in Japan whose objective
is to resurrect the fighting arts as a form of popular entertainment
and source of income for fighters and promoters, managers, and
everyone else involved. In other words, all of the usual reasons. If
successful it will be welcome news for anyone who trains or teaches
any martial art in Japan, among other places, because these events
are primarily what drive enrollments and retention of students.
The inaugural events took
place on Tuesday December 29 and Thursday December 31 (Japan times)
and were broadcast free on channel 8. The scheduling was intended to
allow fighters participating in the tournament sub-event to recover
from their elimination matches. The finals were held on Thursday.
Fights were presented so as to provide a little of something for all
tastes, including K-1 (Muay Thai without clinch and elbows), shoot
boxing, and MMA, known in Japan as 総合格闘技
[sougoukakutougi]. Some relatively new faces were introduced.
Some veterans were dusted off. Former super-stars came out of
retirement, in some cases successfully, in others disastrously.
People who had no business going anywhere near a ring were somehow
induced to defy common sense and their own physical well-being to do
precisely that. Money perhaps? It's been known to motivate people to
do things that they shouldn't do, so why not? Several retired sumo
wrestlers made appearances and were among the surprises of the
event. A former Olympic judo champion found that judo without
a 道着 [dougi] and
with punches is not easy. Two representatives of the legendary
Brazilian jiu-jitsu family, Rickson and Kron Gracie showed up, one
to fight, one to lend moral support, reminisce, be on display for
the benefit of adoring fans, and probably, to provide continuity
between the glory days of Japanese kakutougi and its
(hopefully) bright shining rebirth.
So how did it go?