Steroids in MMA
Which MMA Fighter Will Test Positive For Steroids Next?

The Case Against Punishing Shinya Aoki

(And he was such a nice guy before he started hanging out with those Diaz boys. Photo courtesy of Fight Magazine.)

When Shinya Aoki broke Mizuto Hirota‘s arm at the New Year’s Eve Dynamite!! show and followed it up with the old ‘Tokyo Heybuddy,’ that didn’t sit too well with the people from Sengoku.  Not that they had any real reason to think that their lightweight champ would beat the Dream beltholder, but having him utterly destroyed and then publicly humiliated probably wasn’t what they had in mind when they agreed to that portion of the cross-promotional battle.  Now, says MMA Mania, Sengoku officials are asking for Aoki to be punished for his post-fight behavior, which they referred to as "erratic, unforgivable conduct," followed by what they believe to be a mostly insincere apology.

They’re right about one thing — Aoki probably isn’t all that sorry.  The move wasn’t exactly gentlemanly, but it was perfectly in line with the persona he had been cultivating in the lead-up to this fight.  This is the same guy who pretended not to know who the Sengoku champion was, who called the fight a "disgrace" to himself and his family, and who entertained himself at pre-fight press conferences by telling other fighters to shut up when their comments ran a little long for his liking.  If you were paying attention, you could have seen this coming.

But it’s not the first time we’ve seen a little post-fight in-your-faceitude in Japan.  Fighters have verbally berated downed foes before, without real consequences.  What makes this one seem worse is the fact that Hirota’s arm was broken at the time.  Though honestly, who does he have to blame for that aside from himself?

Hirota chose not to tap, presumably because he is a disciple of the ‘Tapping Out is For Bitches‘ school of thought.  That’s his choice, and his arm, so fine.  You can’t pin that part on Aoki, who only did what any pro fighter would do in the situation.

Did he really need to get all Nick Diaz on Hirota afterwards?  No, but it didn’t make things any worse.  Hirota’s arm would have still been broken even if he’d gotten up and wept like a baby over the harm he had caused another human being.  Aoki acted like a jerk.  Or, if you prefer, a real Brock Lesnar.  Sengoku is perfectly within their rights to say so, as all we are, and something tells me it won’t bother Aoki any more than it bothers Lesnar.

But to yank his license or mete out some other tangible form of punishment is really an overreaction to an ancillary matter.  If Hirota’s arm wasn’t broken, people probably wouldn’t be so upset.  They weren’t when Bibiano Fernandes did the exact same thing to an uninjured Joe Warren, and the only difference here is that Warren tapped (sort of) and Hirota chose not to.

The injury is Hirota’s fault, while the unsportsmanlike display afterwards is Aoki’s.  It might be hard to separate them psychologically, but let’s not act like this is the first time a pro fighter has acted like a prick immediately after a win.  Even in Japan, this isn’t so novel.

Cagepotato Comments

Showing 1-25 of comments

Sort by : Show hidden comments
ReX13- January 8, 2010 at 6:54 am
I, like many people, hate BJ Penn. So i hold a secret belief, no matter how unrealistic it may be, that Shinya Aoki would put him in some kind of one-off, never-before-seen heel hook/neck crank/calf cutter sub that would make Penn cry tears of blood and shit himself in the Octagon. Then Aoki would slap him, Mazzagatti, and that new Octagon Girl, throw up the Tokyo Heybuddy to DW, and retire to Mount Midoriyama to devise obstacles and inform fools about the meaning of life.

Three months later, Penn would announce his retirement and take up surfing and yoga.

Sunburned- January 7, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Sorry guys.

Think global when it comes to MMA.
Sunburned- January 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Don't forget boys, MMA is worldwide.
(Try not to allow the local shows cloud your judgment).

- For the US BJ nutswingers.
halfbreed23- January 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm
A friend of mine lives in Japan and has become friends with a few MMA stars like Josh Barnett, Antonio Carvalho and Megumi Fuji. He says that Shinya was a very nice, outgoing guy about 2 years ago but since then he has become very pompous. In fact, while he was able to get me autographs from Barnett, Carvalho, Mega Megumi, Kawajiri, and a few others he be came so uncomfortable around Shinya that he did not feel comfortable asking him for one to send me.

I'm still a huge Aoki fan though. He greatly entertains me.
ghostboner- January 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm
@Dan The Viking - Ha ha ha ha got him!

@skeletor - Ha ha ha ha got him! That is one bad ass fruitcake.
agentsmith- January 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm
The Fernandes/Warren incident isn't a fair comparison. Firstly because Warren wasn't injured at all, and secondly because Fernandes was disrespected and provoked by Warren claiming he hadn't tapped. When you beat a guy fair and square, but then he cries foul and says "no you didn't", I don't think too many people would fault you for giving him the finger. But breaking a guy's arm and then standing over his prone body and giving him the finger, that's an entirely different matter.

As Art Gibs said above, you can't treat Aoki's actions as if they occurred in a vacuum. Yes, Hirota bears most of the responsibility for his own injury, but Aoki obviously knew the arm was broken, and I'd say that makes his behavior far more disrespectful and unsportsmanlike. Most sports have punishments for "unsportsmanlike conduct", and MMA should be no different... especially since we love to crow about how much honor and respect there is in the sport.

Should Aoki have his license pulled? I'd say that's a bit too harsh, but a fine would be just... um, fine.

Also, I question the implication that if your opponent doesn't tap that somehow means you're FORCED to break his arm. The opportunity is there for you to shout to the ref to alert him that he might want to step in. It wouldn't be the first time.
skeletor- January 7, 2010 at 2:48 pm
All I know is Aoki is the toughest fag I've ever seen fight on television.
portland mma- January 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm
I was guessing he was simply just going off the fact BJ was rich beforehand, only difference was George W was given everything and BJ has LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY had to fight for the respect he has gotten.
portland mma- January 7, 2010 at 2:11 pm
I have spent a loser-ish amount of time on MMA websites like this and I'm going to have to say Sunburned's comment is the dumbest thing I've ever read.

Just a heads up...
DAN THE VIKING- January 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm
@ Sunburned

GW Bush of mma?
Meaning he came out of nowhere to run the UFC lightweight division, and now has to stick around another 4 years to defend the belt because he started something no other fighter @ 155 can finish? A title run?
Sunburned- January 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm
A lot of BJ nutswingers here, wow.
He is the GW Bush of mma, (in case the idiots are unaware).

Just a heads up..
DAN THE VIKING- January 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm
lol @ gracie_nuthugger

"But to yank his license or mete out some other tangible form of punishment is really an overreaction to an ancillary matter."

Really Potato? Did you get your 32 year old lawyer's secretary of an Aunty to write this article?
Carl Sagan- January 7, 2010 at 1:48 pm
Take an unstable brain from repeated head trauma, dump the adrenaline of a win on it, and it's not surprising that the hundreds of thousands of viewers don't understand or approve of the ensuing antics.
Robocop Didnt Tap- January 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm
I'd say Sengoku is just salty because their champion literally got brokened.
El Guapo- January 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Aoki's subs are sick, but his strikes are... they're uhhh.... Hmmm, this is awkward.

Penn by murder. IF they fight. Which they won't because Dana will want to sign him to a lifetime contract to be paid in Red Bull/Rock Star/Affliction T's
the glza- January 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm
great picture of shinya's antics:

MrFeexit- January 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm
I love the use of multisyllabic words in describing this event. One of three things is accomplished, those of us that know the words, nod our heads with agreement and understanding, those of us that don't, nod our heads with vacant look on our face and pretend to get it and some of us might even look up the words we don't quite get and a possible 4th outcome is that a glazed look comes over our eyes and we stare at pictures of the ring girls.
The Clinch- January 7, 2010 at 12:05 pm
BJ would clown Aoki,
Florian would cut him up with his hellbows,
and I really, really, hope Kawajiri smashes him.

The more I see Aoki the more I don't like him. His fight with Shaolin was terrible, which isn't just Aoki's fault, and then he does some classless shit like this. Hirota should have tapped, that's Hirota's fault, Aoki didn't need to follow through with being a sore winner about it.
Art Gibs- January 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm
I agree with your conclusion that Aoki shouldn't be punished, but you can't draw a clean line between the broken arm (Hirota's fault) and Aoki's antics (Aoki's fault). Your article views Aoki's conduct in a vacuum and essentially asks, "How is this different from any other post-fight in-your-face behavior?"

Well, it's different because Aoki had just broken his opponent's arm -- and he knew it. That's what makes this so atrocious. Sure, Bibiano Fernandes's post-fight behavior was equally unsportsmanslike, but Fernandes didn't just break his opponent's arm. And that's why Aoki's conduct is so much worse.
kangerpang- January 7, 2010 at 11:53 am
What Aoki did, and What Lesnar did is terrible for MMA, you wanna know why?
Cause it just gives people like Bob Reilly more ammunition.
Merlin- January 7, 2010 at 11:50 am
I have never seen "The Baka Survivor" act like that before ... but the Japanese are weird like that, they will have green tea & honor their ancestors one minute & then read incestuous hentei & film themselves pooing the next.
portland mma- January 7, 2010 at 11:46 am
How did he go all Diaz? Nick does that shit before a fight but he's generally not that big of a dick afterward unless your KJ Noons or Joe Riggs (does anyone now if their is a video of the hospital fight?), which is completely warranted if you take into account Noons' and Riggs' d-bag factor.

The funny thing was I actually used to really like Shinya (I'm still entertained by him) for a while but now he is coming off as a pretentious little bitch. I also presume that he thinks he is a little better then he actually is. Victories over guys like Alvarez, Hansen and Gesias Cavalcante are awesome but I don't think he stands a chance against some of the good wrestlers or strikers in the UFC, especially since Dana wouldn't let him wear the rainbow traction pants. If Hayato Sakurai has beat Shinya's ass like he has I am pretty sure BJ would murder him.
imakeutap- January 7, 2010 at 11:41 am
if you look at the silohuette on his shorts, it was predicting this exact moment, that would be a tshirt id buy, aoki giving the finger, ipod style
Kimbos Bread- January 7, 2010 at 11:39 am
imakeutap- January 7, 2010 at 11:39 am
@ Merlin

hahaha, so true, i love the japanese though