(Akiyama vs. Sakuraba is a cautionary example of why it’s best to wait until *after* the fight to make an impassioned plea to the referee. If only Palhares had seen this. VidProps: YouTube/AkiyamaYoshihiro2)
Well, this is a switch: Not only is a Greg Jackson-trained fighter accusing someone else of potentially greasing his body during a fight but it’s none other than Yoshihiro Akiyama, who you may remember was himself outed as one of the greasiest MFers in the game following a 2006 fight against Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 Dynamite!! The video of that fiasco can be seen at top. Nevertheless, Akiyama told MMAFighting.com foreign correspondent Daniel Herbertson upon returning home this week that the reason he didn’t try harder to take Michael Bisping down at UFC 120 was that the Brit felt suspiciously slimy to the touch.
"I only went for one takedown but Bisping’s body was really slippery,” Akiyama said. Then, apparently even setting off the alarms on his own irony indicator, quipped: “Even if I do say so myself … "
Look, nobody wants to get into another GreaseGate debacle here, so unless Akiyama wants to pursue this further we’re willing to chalk it up as a harmless pot-calling-the-kettle-black-type situation and move on with our lives. Also, not that we think Bisping would necessarily be above bending the rules (See: Him possibly purposely injuring Matt Hamill during “TUF 3”), we’re kind of wary of accusing another Wolfslair fighter of cheating, lest he threaten our testiculars via angry Facebook post.
Gotta say though, if anybody knows what a greased-up fighter feels like, it’d be Akiyama.
As you can tell from the vid, it doesn’t take Saku long to realize something fucked up is going on after Greasyama steps out of a couple of his single leg attempts. Unfortunately, Sakuraba makes the misguided decision to try to plead his case to the referee while Akiyama is on top of him raining punches on his facial area. In the moment that strategy doesn’t work out too well for him, but the Japanese media and fans made such a stink about the weird circumstances of the bout that Akiyama eventually admitted rubbing himself down with lotion backstage and the outcome was changed to a no contest.
Akiyama claimed he only slathered himself up with Oil of Olay to treat his dry skin and said he didn’t know that was against K-1 rules, even though this was his 11th fight with the organization. Allegedly, some footage surfaced of him applying six-bottles of lotion to his skin prior to the fight. Dude was suspended, didn’t fight for nearly a year and Japanese fans even threw a minor hissy fit when Nike used Akiyama in one of its commercials in the interim. Just goes to show you: In Japan, fixing fights and jacking tons of roids is totally tolerated, but do not try to cheat Kazushi Sakuraba. That’s a major no-no.
Herbertson also reminds us that the Saku fight was not the first time Akiyama faced charges of lubing his person. There was also something about waxing his gi during the 2003 World Judo Championships, though officials later said the slipperiness was just due to the combined effects of humidity and laundry detergent. Yeah, and Floyd Landis just stayed up late drinking whiskey the night before he won the Tour de France.
Anyway, greasing allegations aside for a moment, we can’t help but notice that the above video also appears to foretell some of the troubles Akiyama has had since crossing the pond and signing with the UFC. Not for nothing, but his standup attack sure looks slow and plodding. Also, note the halfhearted nature of the final hammerfists Akiyama uses to put Saku away. We’re not saying he’s already starting to gas out there, we’re just saying.