When We Were Bouncers: Enson Inoue
Actor/stuntman/fighter Paul "The Mauler" Lazenby has an awesome new Facebook page - When We Were Bouncers. Every Monday he presents a crazy new story from former security personnel who went on to become actors, fighters, comedians, pro wrestlers, stuntmen and other standouts in their chosen fields.
He recently sat down with the legendary Enson Inoue. 'Gameness' is the will to win greater than the will to live. Enson Inoue is the gamest fighter in the history of mixed martial arts, and no one who has saw Inoue vs. Igor Vov disagrees. After the doctor stopped the fight, Inoue took the mic, apologized to the crowd for not having been strong enough, and went to the hospital for four days.
Inoue has lately turned his efforts to charitable works. 'Yamato Damashi' recently walked the length of Japan to raise awareness for those effected by the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami.
I RECENTLY GOT IN THE middle of a situation at an MMA show called RINGS: The Outsider. It’s a group run by a famous wrestler named Akira Maeda, and a lot of Yakuza [Japanese organized crime figures] fight on those shows.
Maeda’s organization got a reputation as being kind of crazy because a lot of the guys who fought there didn’t understand it was a sport, and so things would become personal. A guy would be watching his brother getting pummeled in the ring, and he’d take it personal and then things would happen outside the ring. You can’t have that, because if it happens too much then the police just shut the event down.
I would get paid just to be at these shows because I’ve got a lot of connections with the gangsters and the Yakuza people. Because of the respect they have for me, they usually try to control themselves to a point where they don’t riot or anything like that.
One night I was at a show and after one of the fights, the guy who won stood over his opponent a little bit longer than he should have and screamed down at him. But nothing physical happened as they left the ring, so I thought everything was okay and I just sat there waiting for the next fight to start.
Then all these big security guys came up to me and said that there was some shit going down in the back. Which struck me as weird, because I was like, “You guys are security, why the fuck are you telling me?” (laughs) But then I realized that if they’re coming to me, there’s probably some crazy-ass riot going on with gangsters who aren’t gonna be listening to the security guards.
So I walked in the back, and sure enough there was the two [Yakuza] fighters squared off with each other, and none of the security guards wanted to get involved. So I stepped in between the two guys, and even though they were both going crazy, they at least calmed down a little bit when they saw me. You could see them start to control their anger a little more. [Then] I noticed that the official security guys weren’t even standing with me to have my back -- I’m just standing there between these two guys with all their friends behind them, and the security staff is completely out of it!
Now, the usual idea would be to separate the guys involved, but I did things different. The way things go in the gangster world, if shit goes down you have to settle it now. If you’re gonna hurt each other, if you’re gonna solve it, you have to do it now. Because if you let it go and it goes through the [Yakuza] families, then even if the higher-up guys decide everything’s cool, you might still have the lower guys hurting each other. You don’t know who’s gonna tell what family member, and who’s gonna run into who. The whole problem can escalate, get out of hand.
So I took the two [fighters] in a room, just me and them. They were still worked up to the point where they looked like they were gonna throw down, but if they did it in there it would be cool [because it was] just two guys -- no weapons, no friends are gonna jump in, it’s just us. They kept yelling for a while, and then the guy who lost the fight started crying -- like, angry crying. But at the same time, [he] seemed to be more sad than pissed off. I guess those guys used to be friends, and he was sad that the other dude had disrespected him.
At that point I said, “Okay, this is cool -- it’s better that I’m not here so you guys can sort this out”, and I stepped out of the room. When the security guys saw me come out alone and close the door, they said, “What the fuck are you doing? Why aren’t you in there?!” (laughs) But there were no knives or weapons in that room, just some lockers and some chairs, and how much damage are you really going to do to each other with chairs?
The security guys tried to go in there but I stopped them because, you know how sometimes when there’s people around trying to stop it, a guy will get braver? You know, he says shit that he probably wouldn’t say if it was just him and the guy he’s mad at, all alone. Sometimes having a crowd around can turn a mouse into a lion. But with just them alone in a room, there was no pride involved and it could come down to what the issue was really all about.
I listened through the door, and I heard yelling from both guys, then it turned to crying, then the crying turned to talking, and after that everything got resolved. Hmmm... I guess this would be a better story if somebody got stabbed! (laughs)
Because of the respect I have with these underworld figures, I’ve gotten really good at getting people to talk instead of go to war. Which is actually really funny, because back in the day I [was the first guy to] jump up and say, “Let’s fuckin’ take it outside!” (laughs) The first option I used back then is the last one that I want to use today. The way I do things now, problems get sorted out and nobody has to get hurt.
Check out www.facebook.com/FamousBouncers for more bouncer stories from stars in a wide variety of pursuits. For UG Blog excerpts for MMA Fighters, check out:
When We Were Bouncers: Dean of Mean
When We Were Bouncers: Ragin' Kajan Johnson
When We Were Bouncers: Aaron Riley
When We Were Bouncers: Tom Erikson
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Cheng
When We Were Bouncers: Shayna Baszler
When We Were Bouncers: Gary Myers
When We Were Bouncers: Jonathan Goulet
When We Were Bouncers: Gene LeBell
When We Were Bouncers: John Lober
When We Were Bouncers: Paul Varelans
When We Were Bouncers: Pat Miletich (someone gets attacked with a pitchfork)
When We Were Bouncers: Renzo Gracie (he bounced in a brothel at 14)