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Tag: Kazushi Sakuraba videos

Video: Dana White and Kazushi Sakuraba Discuss the Bad Old Days of PRIDE


(Props: UFC on YouTube.com)

While kidnapping princesses in Japan last month, UFC president Dana White spent some time with MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba (and a translator, and another Japanese dude who was apparently just there to hang out), and talked to Saku about his days in PRIDE. The resulting video is above, although as Dana tells us, there was a lot that Sakuraba asked him not to include. Some thoughts and observations, in no particular order…

- Is it me, or does DW seem really jet-lagged in the intro? Dude is running on fumes.

- The sociopathic matchmakers at PRIDE wanted Sakuraba to fight Fedor Emelianenko at one point; that was the only fight he ever turned down. And no, Sakuraba wasn’t paid extra money whenever he fought a 205-pounder or a heavyweight.

- White can’t help crapping on PRIDE a bit for their handling of Sakuraba. “Imagine if they promoted fights the right way, and did it the way it should have been done,” White says. “Sakuraba is a fighter and an attraction that they could have took all over the world…if Sakuraba was at 170 and, at that time we’re talking the 170-pound division was Matt Hughes, Carlos Newton, Pat Miletich. All those guys that competed at 170 at that time, imagine Sakuraba coming into Las Vegas to take on one of those guys. They could have done big things.”

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Kazushi Sakuraba to Dig Out the Ol’ Orange Wrestling Briefs for DREAM/IGF New Year’s Eve Show


(Human speed-chess: Kazushi Sakuraba and Kiyoshi Tamura put in work at a UWFi show in March 1996. Video via theperfectone)

If you’re a student of Japanese MMA history like we are, you know that legendary fighter Kazushi Sakuraba got his start as a professional wrestler in the 1990s, honing his grappling chops in the UWFi and Kingdom Pro Wrestling leagues. But once he tasted success at the UFC Japan tournament in December 1997, Saku’s career shifted away from worked matches, and he soon became PRIDE’s most beloved native hero.

Now 42 years old and riding a four-fight losing streak — the last three losses by stoppage — Sakuraba has agreed to re-capture some of his lost youth in a tag-team wrestling match at Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011, the New Year’s Eve show promoted by DREAM and IGF at the Saitama Super Arena. Sakuraba will team up with fellow wrestling/MMA crossover star Katsuyori Shibata, against Shinichi Suzukawa and Atsushi Sawada. (I’ve never heard of the second guy, but Suzukawa is that dude who beat Mark Coleman even though he wasn’t supposed to.)

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