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The Controversial Career of Yoshihiro Akiyama

("The fine print specifically says no opponents with the word "cat" in their nicknames.")

Yoshihiro Akiyama‘s proclamation that he may not agree to face Chris Leben at UFC 116 made me think that maybe Japanese MMA fans are right about him when they say he has no Budo.

Now before you put on your mean mug and warm up your angry typing fingers to tell me I’m an idiot, hear me out.

Yesterday, we quoted Wanderlei Silva who said that he was prepared to fight Akiyama with a blown out knee and even took the weekend to decide whether or not he could still fight with broken ribs. Then on the other side of the coin we have Akiyama, who jumps on the Internet to voice his displeasure about having only ten days to prepare for Leben and threatens to pull out of the event since he has nothing to gain by beating a gatekeeper like "The Crippler".

A) It’s Chris Leben. He isn’t going to utilize the Rubber Guard to try to submit you with an omoplata, for Christ’s sake, he’s going to want to stand and bang, just like Wand would have done. The only difference is he’s a southpaw, so make your sparring partner switch stances and get to work.

B) Taking a new opponent on short notice would do something for you, Yoshi. Can I call you Yoshi? I feel weird calling you Sexyama to your face. Anyway, it would prove that you’re a fighter who doesn’t care who he fights and that you’re cut from the same cloth as the champions in the sport. It would also improve the image you’ve created for yourself by telling fans you make no excuses and will fight whomever is put in front of you.

If you have followed Sexyama’s career at all, you know that there is more to it than just sultry photographs and fashion shows. He has been involved in a lot of BS over the years, not least of which were two notable greasing incidents.

For those who are unfamiliar with the backstories, in 2003 Akiyama defeated three opponents at the World Judo Championships in Japan and was accused by the trio of wearing a gi that had been oiled to prevent his adversaries from gripping onto his sleeves.

Here’s the synopsis of the incident from the Taipei Times:

"A dispute over a slippery judo jacket may have denied hosts Japan a perfect ending to the world judo championships although they have heaved themselves back from a disastrous performance two years ago. The International Judo Federation (IJF) ruled out a breach of fair play in the case of middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama, whose slippery jacket, or judogi, has drawn protests from France, Mongolia and Turkey. Akiyama was forced to change his judogi, which was suspected of being waxed to make it difficult for his opponents to grip. He had beaten opponents from the three countries to reach an 81kg light middleweight semifinal on Friday. Wearing a reserve jacket, the Asian Games champion narrowly lost to German Florian Wanner who eventually won the title."

Three years later, Akiyama was back at it again against Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 – Premium 2006 Dynamite!! Although he didn’t wear his greasy gi, he did coat his body with body lotion, impeding "The Gracie Hunter" from grasping his limbs and body. Using a substance that was undetectable by ringside officials who checked him before the bout, as soon as he began to sweat, the grease became slippery on his skin and gave him an illegal advantage.

Here’s a video rundown of the fight and the backlash:

(Video courtesy YouTube)

Now, I don’t know about the loaded glove conspiracy theory, although it does seem odd that his glove was different than the other one he was wearing, but for him to say he didn’t know that applying copious amounts of body lotion prior to a match was illegal seems like a cop out.

Having skirted the rules twice in Japan, the country turned its back on the Zainichi Korean (ethnic Korean born and raised in Japan). Japanese MMA fans saw him as a heel and rooted against him from then on.

A feud with Kazuo Misaki, who, like many Japanese fighters and fans, detested Akiyama’s cheating ways and disregard for the fans came to a head when the pair met at the Yarennoka! 2007 New Year’s eve show. Misaki took the bout via head kick knockout, but the result was later overturned when it was determined that Akiyama’s hand was on the canvas at the point of impact.

(Video courtesy YouTube/Gengis Con)

In his post-fight interview Misaki conveyed the following message to Akiyama, much to the delight of the Japanese crowd:

"You have betrayed the fans and the kids by the way you compete. Please fight for the kids and for your fans…not yourself."

I guess Misaki’s advice didn’t sink in.

Cagepotato Comments

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jamesmedley- September 30, 2011 at 12:21 am
With Chael Sonnen Suspended, Yoshihiro Akiyama Prone to Face Nate Marquardt at UFC 128

A rumored bout between Yoshihiro Akiyama and Chael Sonnen came to exist right as news broke that Sonnen plead guilty to mortgage fraud. The very next day, Dana White-colored permit the world understand that Sonnen was temporarily suspended because they can get his legal aspects under control. Now, Nate Marquardt is walking around face Akiyama at UFC 128.

Many have pointed out that Akiyama might be better suited losing lower from middleweight, and fighting at welterweight. Akiyama is certainly an undersized middleweight, and will also be an extremely welcome addition for the welterweight ranks, nevertheless it appears this is not happening yet, for a lot of odd reason. Akiyama has positioned on two excellent fights since getting signed for the UFC, against Alan Belcher and Chris Leben, just one can't help but believe he'd perform better yet at 170lbs after watching his performance against Michael Bisping within the latest fight at UFC 120.
Medical assistants
Meohfumado- June 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm
Technically if he is too big of a wuss to disembowel himself, he would be allowed to symbolically do the act with a fan, and then still allow for his kaishakunin to decapitate him with all honor intact.

But if you really want to stick it to him, you would have to make him commit j?monji giri where he has to do a second vertical cut and also would get no benefit of a kaishakunin.

Angry Whopper- June 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm
Not hari kari. As a Japanese, it's all suppuku. If he has any honor at all, that is. Ritual (self) disembowlment, typically done with a wakizashi. .

Insert blade fully into the lower left abdomen, then drag that sumbitch straight across to the lower right abdomen. Then wait to bleed out.

I think it'll take at least 5 attempts, since his greasy hands will keep slipping off the hilt. Plus, he's a bit of a sissy. Just sayin
Hail to Wand- June 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm
I just created an account (you can tell by my name) to say this: Wand is the among the greatest fighters of all time. He fights anyone, anywhere and for the right reasons - for his fans. Many fighters say that they fight for their fans, but for Wand, it is real. He dominated for some eight years in Pride and always took the most risk to put on the best fight. You dont see that much more in MMA - fighters who care more about putting on a good show than eeking out a sleeper win. (think Rashad vs someone like Lenoard Garcia!!) I was at the UFC fan expo in Vegas and my wife wore a shirt that said "i love wanderlei" and his manager pulled us out of line to meet him personally. His manager said "Wand we have a special fan for you to meet" and he yelled "All my fans are special". He stood the whole time and signed autographs, shook hands and even took people's cameras to take pictures of them as a joke. Most fighters were sitting and just signing autographs like robots (Frank Mir). Wand was genuinely happy to be meeting fans. I got my Pride 10 special edition signed - the inside cover - those of you who own it, you know why. It was loud at the expo so I spoke into his ear and said "you are the reason I started watching MMA" and he said "you fans are the reason I still fight". Does not get much better than that. All hail Wand - win or lose.

Dick_Misanthropenis- June 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm
Woof! Ain't no tellin' what Jack told Helen... what the hell is they sellin?
DAN THE VIKING- June 24, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Put some sheets on ytour bed thats not sanitary.
Also, great website.
BONGTAR- June 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm
Goat- June 24, 2010 at 1:35 pm
Did I just read an entire article dedicated to hating on Akiyama?

Yes, I believe I just did.

This is way below you, CP. This is on the level of an internet troll making a hate thread in the UG.

tysonmcneely- June 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm
It's obvious that he doesn't want the fight because Leben is not sexy enough to be in the same cage as Akiyama.
Plan B- June 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Akiyama threatening to withdrawl?

I strongly object!!
steampunk22- June 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm
I was teasing. So far as the internet, I thought the sarcasm was fairly obvious. See the problem here? Same-sies. :)
Mex- June 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm
Oh Akiyama.... Just have a lil nip of liquid courage, take your piss test, fix your zipper, head on out to face Chris "The Cat Eater" Leben, who has a few chinks in his armor, even if he is TUF's KO OG.
rlh61- June 24, 2010 at 12:21 pm
@Viva...high five, playa!
justscrappin- June 24, 2010 at 11:53 am
I knew about the Sakuraba incident...but didn't know that his judo career was mired by the same allegations. What a f'n cheatin sob. The UFC should completely ignore his request for an entrance song and just put on that Carrie Underwood song. Think next time he cheats? Anybody? Anybody? I know -1 for the country music reference...I swear I don't listen to bitches I know do.......................ok I'm going....:(
DaltonSwayze- June 24, 2010 at 11:31 am

I thought, so far as the Internet is concerned, that I was fairly polite
glassjawsh- June 24, 2010 at 11:07 am
^ 17 year old cats and the men that own them and then blog about them = creepy
Jonny5- June 24, 2010 at 11:01 am
Alan Belcher or Micheal Bisping please
El Famous Burrito- June 24, 2010 at 10:49 am
*enters comments section and sees a waiting hand*

High-five, bro!

What'd I miss?

Hey, an Asian guy! You think he knows kung-fu?
jimbonics- June 24, 2010 at 10:40 am
My 17 year old cat knows pussy when he sees it.

Viva Hate- June 24, 2010 at 10:32 am
That is it, I am officially calling for a ban on him being called Sexyama due to this and we institute a new nickname of Yoshihiro “BP” Akiyama………………….get it, because he is oily, HA!

High five, anyone?
ktfo- June 24, 2010 at 10:25 am
Take the fight pussyama. its not like leben is more dangerous than wand. both of them are going to knock you out. Just get it over with. You already got a gift in the Belcher fight
Mike Russell- June 24, 2010 at 10:11 am
 Jeeves. I think the Japanese favored Japanese fighters with the late scheduling. Kang didn't know he was fighting Akiyama until about a week out from their fight, but I heard Akiyama knew at least a month in advance.I doubt it's the first time it's happened to him though, so I'm wondering if the translation was off or maybe it isn't really him posting on that site.Maybe he meant to say that he hasn't signed yet, because they haven't received the contract.
Jeeves- June 24, 2010 at 10:00 am
What I don't understand... and maybe someone can clear it up for me... is that in Japan, events like Pride never finalized cards until the week before an event. Now he is bitching that 10 days is not enough time to formulate a game plan?

And this whole nonsense about Leben not being a big enough name for him... Well, who the f is Akiyama? In the US, he, himself is really a nobody. Besides, no way you can't create a game plan in 10 days. Was his training that specialized for Silva? I doubt it. You do what you do and work on the things you don't do well... regardless of who you are fighting.
steampunk22- June 24, 2010 at 9:59 am
Hey dingus my internet timed out so I reposted here rather than get flagged for spam trying to repost in the same thread. Obviously it DID post, so now I'm going to go and delete it. But thanks for being so polite about it. ;P
MoTropolis- June 24, 2010 at 9:55 am
Shouldnt Akiyama have performed Hari Kari on himself after disgracing his people?