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Tag: Antonio Inoki

Who’s the Real “Father of MMA”? — 10 Fighters More Deserving of the Title Than Bruce Lee


(Dat. Pizza. Dough.)

By Seth Falvo

Though current bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw will not be a playable character in EA Sports UFC when it hits the shelves two weeks from now, Bruce Lee will be. Perhaps equally ridiculous is that Bruce Lee isn’t being treated as a novelty addition to the roster, but rather as “the father of Mixed Martial Arts,” something Dana White has also called him. Giving credit to only one person for the creation of MMA is absurd enough, but painting Bruce Lee as that person is just preposterous.

Then again, it really isn’t hard to understand why Zuffa would want to make someone like Bruce Lee an ambassador for our sport. Lee was — and still is — an instantly recognizable celebrity. His body was ripped and athletic. He knew how to wrestle, sure, but also understood that most people would rather watch him throw flashy kicks. His affirmations were deep enough to look good on playing cards and posters, but not too profound for the bros curling in the squat rack to comprehend. In other words, he appeals to a much larger audience than Edward William Barton-Wright and Tommy Tanaka do.

Even with all that in mind, there are figures in combat sports history who not only did more to mold modern MMA than Bruce Lee, but can also be worked into the charmingly revisionist Zuffa account of history just as well. The following list will focus on the accomplishments of these individuals, as well as the arguments for why they should be repackaged as the fathers of MMA. Let’s start with the oldest candidate, and work our way towards the modern era…

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Reliving Chuck Wepner vs. Andre the Giant: The Great American Freakshow We Somehow Forgot


(Wepner was tossed out of the ring in the third round, and lost the fight by count-out. Seems legit. Video of the fight is available after the jump.)

If you happen to be a connoisseur of MMA freak show bouts, it’s likely that you recognize June 25, 1976 as the day that “The Greatest of All Time” Muhammad Ali took on Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki in a mixed rules bout. The fight itself may have been an unwatchable display of bizarre kicks from Inoki – who was only allowed to kick if one of his knees was touching the mat – but it’s remembered as one of our sport’s first genuine freak show bouts.

Yet often forgotten by even the most die-hard fight fans among us is that the undercard for Ali vs. Inoki contained a match between Chuck Wepner (the boxer/liquor salesman whose bout against Ali served as the inspiration for the Rocky series) and Andre the Giant broadcast live from Shea Stadium. Before we go any further: Yes, you read that last sentence correctly, and yes, we’ll have video evidence of this after the jump.

By 1976, Andre the Giant had established himself as an unstoppable juggernaut in professional wrestling, to the point that simply getting in a few good shots in a losing effort against him could put another wrestler over. He may not have been professional wrestling’s first “unbeatable giant” character, but he was certainly the most successful and popular portrayal of it. Naturally, when Vince McMahon Sr. faced the dilemma of finding an opponent for the division killer, he got the idea of having him defeat a real fighter. Chuck Wepner – who coincidentally was considering becoming a professional wrestler by this point in his career – was the ideal opponent.

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WTF of the Day: Lesnar vs. Emelianenko Allegedly in the Works… For Japanese Pro Wrestling Bout


(“What the hell did you put in my Bud Light?”)

According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Antonio Inoki’s Inoki Genome Federation is trying to put together a pro wrestling bout between recently retired former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and former PRIDE and WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.

The chances of the one-off fake fight happening are slim-to-none considering Brock mentioned that one of the main reasons he retired was to spend more time with his family after his pair of diverticulitis scares the past two years. Travelling to Japan likely isn’t high on his list of family vacations.

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Kimbo Slice to Fake-Fight Pothead Sumo Wrestler in Japan Next Month, Obviously

Kimbo Slice Japan pro wrestling Antonio Inoki
("Five…five dolla…five dolla, foot rong." [Ed. note: I sincerely apologize for that awful caption.] / Photo courtesy of sportsnavi.)

His MMA career? Dead in the water. His boxing comeback? Who knows. But the Miami Pound Machine gotta eat. And so, Kimbo Slice has reportedly agreed to perform at an IGF pro wrestling tournament on February 5th in Fukuoka, Japan. His opponent will be Shinichi "Wakakirin" Suzukawa, the marijuana-scandalized sumo wrestler who allegedly went off the script against Mark Coleman last year. (Wakakirin was also supposed to wrestle Bob Sapp at Dynamite!! 2010, but Frankenhood pulled out at the last moment like the professional he is.) And before you ask, yes, Josh Barnett will be part of the tourney as well. 

Note to Kimbo: If you "win" your first match, Antonio Inoki may want to slap the shit out of you in front of everybody. I know, if that happened on a street-corner in Perrine, he would be as dead as yesterday’s chicken. (That’s something that people say, right?) As it turns out, the slapping is actually a sign of respect and well-wishing. Please inform your crew.

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Quick Poll: What’s Stupider?

FS
(Google Image Search result #1 for “freak show.” Apologies.)

From FightOpinion:

Nikkan Sports has a report claiming that Antonio Inoki is interested in Kurt Angle making his MMA debut on the IGF 4/12 Osaka Prefectural Gym show. According to Inoki, Angle will likely participate with open-fingered gloves and that it may be a 3-way MMA match involving Naoya Ogawa & Josh Barnett. Making this story even better is the fact that Angle has to work a TNA PPV the next day (4/13) in the States.

From Fightlinker:

DEEP is putting on a ‘Megaton’ grand prix, which means it’s a big fatty fest. Not only is this the most awesome concept ever, but if you’re a fat fuck too, you get free booze!

DEEP has announced the match-ups for their Megaton GP. I expect the fighters going at it with a lot of heart and maybe not the best of skills in this event. All in all, should make for some exciting fights.

Also, audience members weighing in at over 100kg can expect a 500yen drink coupon.

I guess the better question is — which of these events would you rather watch with your buddies while stoned? Hook us up, Mark

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