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Tag: Yushin Okami

21 Times the UFC Proved They Cared More About Entertainment Than Sport


(#22: Building doors out of wet cardboard for dramatic effect.)

The UFC is not a sports organization. They’re an entertainment company that dabbles in athletic competition. Here’s the proof:

1. Firing Jake Shields.

2. Firing Yushin Okami.

3. Firing Jon Fitch.

4. Not firing Dan Hardy (“I like guys who WAR“)

5. Giving Chael Sonnen a title shot coming off a loss.

6. Giving Nick Diaz a title shot coming off a loss.

7. Bringing a 1-0 Brock Lesnar into the UFC.

8. James Toney.

9. Signing Sean Gannon after he beat Kimbo Slice via exhaustion in an illegal bare-knuckle street fight.

10. Putting Kimbo Slice on a main card after he went 0-1 in the TUF House.

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Chopped: Seven of the Most Surprising UFC Cuts in Recent Memory


(Photo via Getty. Depression via reality.)

The news that Jake Shields had been axed by the UFC on Tuesday was not taken lightly by MMA fans who had referred to the former Strikeforce champion as “Jake Shieldzzzz” for years prior. Days later, we are still trying to make sense of the decision to cut Shields following his first loss in two and a half years, but it was an easy one to make in the eyes of Dana White, who basically told reporters that Shields was released because he didn’t “WAR!!” enough.

As several publications have noted, the firing of Shields has once again highlighted the UFC’s ever-burgeoning “entertainment over sport” mindset when it comes to the legitimacy of their product. It’s the reason guys like Leonard Garcia and Dan Hardy remained with the promotion after two, three, four losses in a row and why Ben Askren was never even given a shot in the first place despite being a top 10 welterweight on damn near everybody’s list. Where just a few years ago, the Tank Abbotts of the world were ridiculed for their one-dimensional, bar brawler-esque approach to MMA, they are now being praised for their ability to entertain and absorb punishment over actually win a fight.

MMA is a sport. The UFC is a spectacle. White’s belief that Gina Carano would deserve an immediate title shot should she sign with the promotion is proof of this. The signing of Brock Lesnar after one fight is proof of this. James Toney is proof of this. We are living in an era of the UFC where the “Just Bleed” guy has risen from psychotic fanboy to upper management, and unfortunately, the firing of Jake Shields was not the first of its kind…

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Yushin Okami to Face the Complete Opposite of Yushin Okami in WSOF Debut


(Savov poses with his Bulgarian pop star girlfriend, Desi Slava, while Okami can only crysterbate into a box of tissues offscreen.)

After signing a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting back in October, former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami finally has a date set for his promotional debut.

If you recall, Okami was released from the UFC last September (to make room for the Jumabieke Tuerxuns of the world) despite going 3-1 in his last 4 fights, because whatever, fuck you. “Thunder” was quickly snatched up by the WSOF but has been sitting on the shelf ever since his signing for reasons unknown. Regardless, it was announced earlier today that Okami will make his promotional debut against Bulgarian Svetlozar Savov at WSOF 9 on March 29th.

With 11 finishes in his 12 victories, Savov is pretty much the antithesis of Okami, who collected just 4 stoppages in his 18-fight UFC career. That being said, expect Okami to come in as a huge favorite here. Not Cormier vs. Cummins huge, but somewhere around that. Thankfully, this squash match will likely slip completely under the radar once Rousimar Palhares inevitably maims Steve Carl in the evening’s main event.

Seriously, I cannot begin to comprehend why the WSOF is essentially rewarding Paul Harris for his repeated acts of douchebaggery in the cage by giving him an immediate title shot — it’s like giving a convicted arsonist a book of matches, a gallon of kerosene, and the keys to the home of the judge who sentenced him. “Tickets got to be sold,” I guess.

-J. Jones

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What’s to Blame for UFC 169′s Record-Setting Amount of Decisions?


(Dana White called UFC 169 a “10-decision, record-breaking catastrophe.” / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

To say the UFC had an off night with UFC 169 would be an understatement. True, the card was record-breaking, but in the worst way possible. It featured more fights ending in a decision than any other fight card in UFC history. So many fights going to the judges isn’t a result of just bad luck. There are a few factors at play when a fight goes to a decision.

First, the fighters could be so evenly matched they either complement or negate one another. The former can result in a match like Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua or, to delve further into MMA’s past, Tyson Griffin vs. Clay Guida. The latter kind a fight—one between negating styles of equally matched fighters—results in any dime-a-dozen decision that features long bouts of stalling against the cage or ineffective, listless striking. The kind of fights the UFC presented to us in spades last night, and have been peddling on prelims (and even main cards) for a while now.

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Yushin Okami on Bridging the East-West Training Divide and Moving Forward After His UFC Release [Tokyo Dispatch #2]


(Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

I got off the Oedo subway line from Shinjuku station at the Kiyosumi Shirakawa stop and waited for a few minutes to meet up with my guide for the night, Stewart Fulton. Stewart is a Scottish ex-pat who has lived in Tokyo for over a decade. He’s also a professional fighter and has bled and sweated with some of the best fighters in all of Japan.

On this Friday night, Stewart is taking me to the gym of the man UFC president Dana White has said is the best fighter to have ever come out of Japan — Yushin Okami. Uncle Dana may very well be right about that.

It’s an interesting time to visit with “Thunder” because, despite White’s lauding of him, the UFC released Okami last fall. Now, the former middleweight title challenger is signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and is expected to make his promotional debut in March against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Stewart has told me that I can train with the group of select professional fighters that Okami will lead tonight but also warned me that it is a sparring day and that they go hard. After three straight days of hard grappling at other schools in Tokyo, I’m fine with sitting through tonight’s session as a spectator and leaving with my head still attached to my body.

I wonder out loud to Stewart what kind of mood Okami will be in tonight. He hasn’t done many interviews since being cut by the UFC. Okami’s release shocked some observers since he is still clearly a top middleweight. Surely, it shocked Okami as well. Who knows how eager he’ll be to talk about the topic.

Luckily, there are plenty others to discuss. Namely, training.

Stewart tells me that over the years he’s been amazed that Yushin has never appeared to be injured during training. Injuries happen constantly in training and fighters are almost always nursing several of them that vary in severity.

“I’ve never noticed him favoring an injury during practice,” Stewart tells me.

“Either he doesn’t get hurt or he’s very good at not showing it.”

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Beware the Bowing, Humble Man: 5 Things We Learned Over 5 Days in Japan

By Elias Cepeda 

I spent last week in Tokyo, Japan, to cover the Glory year-end championship kickboxing event and interview and train with luminaries of Japanese MMA. I’m only now beginning to process everything I experienced and saw but here are five immediate take aways.

1. Japanese Fans are No Longer Silent During Fights, But They are Still Hella Observant

Watching Pride events on television years ago, I used to marvel at how attentive and respectful the Japanese fans in live attendance seemed. During most of the action, it seemed as though you’d be able to hear a pin drop in even the largest of super arenas because the fans watched in almost complete silence.

Then, a fighter might make a minor adjustment towards a submission that most American fans would not be able to recognize as the offense it was, and the previously silent Japanese crowd would “ooohh,” and “ahhh.” In my American fight world of boorish booing, louder t-shirts and indifference to any aspect of fighting that wasn’t a competitor being knocked unconscious, Japan seemed like a magical place where people watched fights live with the understanding and respect they deserved.

This past Saturday, I watched a Glory kickboxing event live inside the Ariake Coliesum in Tokyo, Japan. It wasn’t MMA, but I was still excited to not only watch the great strikers on the card, but to experience a Japanese crowd in person for the first time.

Well, they are no longer silent during fights. Apparently that part of fight-viewing culture in Japan has changed in the past ten years or so.

Fans shouted throughout bouts and hooted and hollered. Still, they seemed to know what was going on much more so than American crowds I’ve been a part of or witnessed. Little bits of the fight were still appreciated by the crowd and they showed tremendous support to anyone who showed perseverance and heart in a fight, even if it wasn’t the crowd favorite.

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UFC 168 Free Fights: Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami, Chris Weidman vs. Mark Munoz, Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche [VIDEOS]


(Fight starts at the 12:05 mark)

The UFC, in its infinite grace, has released three more classic fights featuring UFC 168 headliners. Above, you’ll see Anderson Silva‘s second-round TKO of Yushin Okami from UFC 134 back in August 2011. The fight marked Silva’s ninth middleweight title defense, and his first UFC appearance in his home country of Brazil.

Below: Chris Weidman‘s savage knockout of Mark Munoz at UFC on FUEL 4 in July 2012, which earned the All-American his fifth UFC victory and a shot at Anderson’s belt the following year. After the jump: Ronda Rousey‘s historic title-fight against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in February, which ended (unsurprisingly) in Rousey’s seventh-consecutive first-round armbar — or her ninth, if you count her ammy record. Can she make it a perfect 10 this Saturday?


(Fight starts at the 12:05 mark)

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Yushin Okami Signs With WSOF, Will Hopefully Have a Better Debut Than Jon Fitch


(Oh, so *this* is the “wouldn’t get up from butt scoot” guy? Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.)

When looking back at the past few years of their respective careers, it’s hard not to draw a comparison between Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch. We’re guilty of it. Hell, pretty much every MMA site out there is guilty of making the somewhat obvious comparison, and it’s pretty easy to see why. Both guys were perennial UFC contenders (or so we thought) who were ranked in the top 10 of their promotion’s horribly preferential ranking system at the time of their release. Both guys also possess a style that is oft described as “grinding” or “taxing” or “like watching 2001: A Space Odyssey at half speed while on Ketamine.”

Simply put, Okami and Fitch share a lot of common ground. That their similarities is a subject that has been elaborated upon more than that one time Court McGee overdosed on heroin is as frustrating as watching the majority of their fights, but I digress. Of course, it won’t help matters that Okami decided to up and sign with World Series of Fighting over the weekend like Fitch before him. Let’s hope his promotional debut — which is set for “around March” – goes a little better than Fitch’s.

In an exclusive interview with CagePotato.com, Okami elatedly spoke on his new home in the WSOF and new beginnings in general, as well as the emotional toll his UFC release had on his physical well-being:

Yes. Hello. Yushin Okami. Thank you. Yes. World Series of Fighting. Hello. Thank You. Yushin Okami. 

Good to be back, Nation! (*hums Kazoo and hitch kicks off stage*)

-J. Jones

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And Now He’s Fired: Yushin Okami Released by UFC After Seven Years of ‘Perennial Contender’ Status


(“Look, Andy, you’re clearly still upset about the pool party thing, but I swear, the Evite must have gone to your junk mail folder or something, because we totally included you on the-oh God noooooo NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

“Perennial contender” is a back-handed compliment — it means you were always good enough to hang in the top ten, but never good enough to hold the belt. It suggests a kind of career limbo, in which you’re forever in the mix, highly regarded, but ultimately unsuccessful. Jon Fitch was a perennial contender, and when he was fired by the UFC in February, fans who never liked him in the first place criticized the UFC for getting rid of their #9-ranked contender — as if rankings held any sort of accurate measure of a fighter’s value. Fitch may have been more talented than most welterweights in the world, but he had outlived his usefulness, from both a competitive and promotional standpoint.

And so it goes with Yushin Okami, the latest medium-to-high-profile UFC fighter to be axed by the promotion, who is still listed as the #6 middleweight contender on UFC.com. UFC president Dana White confirmed Okami’s release today, telling Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole:

He’s been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Okami was already a 16-3 veteran when he joined the UFC, with appearances in Pancrase, Pride, Hero’s, and Rumble on the Rock, where he scored a bizarre DQ victory over Anderson Silva in January 2006. “Thunder” made his Octagon debut later that year at UFC 62, and began to steadily rise up the middleweight ranks, winning his first four fights — including decision victories against Alan Belcher and Mike Swick — before losing a #1 contender fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 72.

The rest of Okami’s UFC career would play out the exact same way.

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UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader — Liveblogging the Fights You Actually Care About


(Dana White isn’t there. Joe Rogan isn’t there. Arianny and Brittney aren’t there. But if you’re the Veteran Voice of the Octagon, you grab a polo shirt out of the hamper and show the hell up. It’s called integrity, okay? Hippofan knows what I’m talking about. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

Ali Bagautinov. Marcos Vinicius. Tor Troeng. Piotr Hallman. The people of Belo Horizonte don’t care about these dudes, and neither do we, to be honest. So we’re going to try something a little different for tonight’s liveblog of UFC Fight Night 28, and only run play-by-play for the three fights on this card that are worth liveblogging: Joseph Benavidez‘s meeting with Brazilian flyweight contender Jussier “Formiga” da Silva, the middleweight co-main event between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Yushin Okami, and the light-heavyweight headliner between Glover Teixeira and Ryan Bader.

Live round-by-round results for those fights will be located after the jump starting around 8 p.m. ET-ish. We’ll also post quick results from the supporting card beforehand. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and if you’re watching along with us on FOX Sports 1, use the comments section to let us know how you feel.

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