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UnderGround Forums >> Dana: "The Japanese Ruined Sakuraba"


8/31/11 5:06 PM
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J-Tee
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UFC Quick Quote: The Japanese ruined Kazushi Sakuraba

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"I’m a huge Sakuraba fan. The problem with the Sakuraba story is, Sakuraba should have fought at 170 pounds instead of doing all these Japanese freak show fights where they got him destroyed by guys who were two weight classes heavier than him. So, it goes unanswered whether Kazushi Sakuraba could have been the greatest fighter to ever come out of Japan. The Japanese ruined him! It’s just like any other sport that starts out in the beginning. Guys that were great that you try to compare ‘em to different eras and, you know, like I told you — (I’m a) huge Sakuraba fan and it’s unfortunate that his career wasn’t handled in the right way where we could have found out if this guy was possibly the best fighter ever in Japanese history and I don’t disagree with you at all that he was a huge superstar and definitely put, you know, it on the map, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world."

UFC President Dana White tells Mauro Ranallo (via Fight Opinion) that mixed martial arts legend Kazushi Sakuraba could have been the best ever -- if the Japanese didn't ruin him with freak show fights contested outside his natural weight class. The 42 year-old Sakuraba, perhaps best known for owning the Gracie clan, continues to compete overseas, where he is currently mired in a three-fight losing streak, despite the years of abuse he's already taken. Anyone out there in MMA land agree with White's claim that Yushin Okami is the greatest fighter to come out of Japan? Or does that distinction belong to Sakuraba?

8/31/11 5:13 PM
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Big Pun
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there was a pretty strong rumor that Sakuraba was getting an attitude and that's why Pride made the rule change that killed him. You'll never know if rumors like this are true, but it certainly seemed like they wanted to humble Saku. Saku always played the rules and turtled alot. He knew that his opponent could not really attack him when he was turtled so if he would get into trouble, out came the turtle. Then he would just spin to his back when out of danger and work his way back into position. But, just before his fight with Wand, rule change. And Wand butchered him when he tried to turtle up and defend himself. Like I said, there's no way to prove such rumors, but it sure had the right timing. Saku never knew what hit him.
8/31/11 5:18 PM
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Jons Forsberg
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Edited: 08/31/11 5:20 PM
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I think it's unfortunate that GSP is fighting guys that can't challenge him on any level and refuses to move up in weight.

he'd never step up to fight Vitor, Rampage, Lil Nog like Saku did, let alone win against any of these guys.
8/31/11 5:38 PM
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Haulport
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CRE - Sakuraba would've done better against Anderson than Okami did prime vs. prime IMO, his single leg is still top 5 in the sport's history. Sakuraba's ability to absorb punishment is almost unrivaled in combat sports, his heart is unquestionable, not to mention his application of the submission game is some of the best we have seen. 
We are in complete agreement. I actually think if you grabbed Saku from 1999 he would eat the current Anderson Silva alive. Chael showed he can be taken down by a good wrestler and Sakuraba's submissions were 2nd to none.
8/31/11 5:38 PM
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Domingo
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Big Pun - there was a pretty strong rumor that Sakuraba was getting an attitude and that's why Pride made the rule change that killed him. You'll never know if rumors like this are true, but it certainly seemed like they wanted to humble Saku. Saku always played the rules and turtled alot. He knew that his opponent could not really attack him when he was turtled so if he would get into trouble, out came the turtle. Then he would just spin to his back when out of danger and work his way back into position. But, just before his fight with Wand, rule change. And Wand butchered him when he tried to turtle up and defend himself. Like I said, there's no way to prove such rumors, but it sure had the right timing. Saku never knew what hit him.


Never heard that, but it would make a lot of sense. It did always seem like freakish timing that they changed the rules prior to the Wandy fight. The turtle pretty much always was his bread and butter up to that point.

I really think his style probably would've translated well to the current UFC. He had great takedowns, was tough to submit, could strike well enough to avoid getting mauled in most cases, and he had some of the best transitions in the game.
8/31/11 5:42 PM
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Neil Funk
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 dude, Dana..... shut the fuck up 
8/31/11 5:46 PM
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HELWIG
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 The problem with that^ conspiracy is that from Pride 1-6 those kicks to a downed opponent were allowed.

Then right before 7 they changed them.

If ANYTHING, there is a case to be made that it was done to protect Kerr. Considering how the big fight of the very night pride featured Vovchanchyn rocking Kerr's world with knees on the ground, there may be merit to it.

Kerr was a comic book character come to life. Nobody ever came close to submitting him until he was 40 years old and taking fights for the money. He had a better chin than he did a mental ability to overcome adversity. Kicks and knees on the ground were one of his few vulnerabilities.

So then it stayed illegal all the way up to Pride 13.

Who knows, maybe BOTH are true?
8/31/11 5:47 PM
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irishrottie
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lol if he was a fan of saku he wouldnt say that stuff. sakus legacy was defined by beating the odds and changing the game while doing it.
8/31/11 5:51 PM
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kcbjj
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I think the 'Okami is the best fighter to come out of Japan' talk was just hype for the Silva fight. That's how I viewed it, because it doesn't jibe with history or the facts. Now Dana is in the position that he has to defend what he said. Obviously Sakuraba is a legend and who knows if Okami will ever come close. Right now, he's not even in the same ballpark.
8/31/11 6:00 PM
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red_nose
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Sakuraba was one of the first fighters that gave me goosebumps watching him.

Watching him was like Bobby Fischer in his prime.





WE LOVE RING!!!!
8/31/11 6:04 PM
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jacktripper
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CRE - Sakuraba would've done better against Anderson than Okami did prime vs. prime IMO, his single leg is still top 5 in the sport's history. Sakuraba's ability to absorb punishment is almost unrivaled in combat sports, his heart is unquestionable, not to mention his application of the submission game is some of the best we have seen. 


lets not get carried away, sak was stopped violently by nino "elvis" schembri
8/31/11 6:07 PM
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4thHorsemen
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Is Dana a fan of MMA? I'm pretty sure he's not. Phone Post
8/31/11 6:18 PM
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dudefromisrael
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4thHorsemen -  Is Dana a fan of MMA? I'm pretty sure he's not. Phone Post

 You're right. 4thHorsemen from the UG has done so much more for MMA than Dana
8/31/11 6:20 PM
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J-Tee
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dudefromisrael - 
4thHorsemen -  Is Dana a fan of MMA? I'm pretty sure he's not. Phone Post

 You're right. 4thHorsemen from the UG has done so much more for MMA than Dana

 
8/31/11 6:24 PM
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4thHorsemen
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I am a fan. I, along with every other fan on this forum has done more to help MMA than anyone in the business. When I talk about MMA to friends, that's first hand marketing, and nothing is more effective than this, and I'm doing all of that purely for the live for the sport, and not looking for monetary returns in any way, shape or form.

So yes, even though your ignorant post was filled with sarcasm, it is actually true, I, the fan, have done much more for MMA than any promoter of one organization ever will. Phone Post
8/31/11 6:25 PM
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grafzep
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Frankly anyone disagreeing with Dana on this point is a moron. Of all the Japanese fighters to "come out of Japan" and I take that to mean actually fight outside of Japan, Okami has clearly done the best by a wide margin.

There is no question that Sakuraba was thrown to the wolves and fought people out of his weight class or was thrown into fights to lose valiantly to display "bushido" or whatever. There is a distinct difference in the approach to match making and career management between Japan and the States. The UFC Japan that Sakuraba won a good example, it wasnt just Pride.
8/31/11 6:26 PM
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nhbguy
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jacktripper - 
CRE - Sakuraba would've done better against Anderson than Okami did prime vs. prime IMO, his single leg is still top 5 in the sport's history. Sakuraba's ability to absorb punishment is almost unrivaled in combat sports, his heart is unquestionable, not to mention his application of the submission game is some of the best we have seen. 


lets not get carried away, sak was stopped violently by nino "elvis" schembri


Yes, but it's important to note that Sakuraba was already into his decline as a fighter. Coming into the Elvis fight he had recently suffered 3 violent losses to Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop where he had his collar bone broken and his orbital bone smashed. In fact, aside from Randleman, he never beat a "top" fighter again from that point on.

At his peak, from roughly 1997 to 2001, everything that CRE said about him was true. He was an absolute magician in ring.
8/31/11 6:28 PM
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nhbguy
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grafzep - Frankly anyone disagreeing with Dana on this point is a moron. Of all the Japanese fighters to "come out of Japan" and I take that to mean actually fight outside of Japan, Okami has clearly done the best by a wide margin.

There is no question that Sakuraba was thrown to the wolves and fought people out of his weight class or was thrown into fights to lose valiantly to display "bushido" or whatever. There is a distinct difference in the approach to match making and career management between Japan and the States. The UFC Japan that Sakuraba won a good example, it wasnt just Pride.


I'm a little confused. I do understand what you're saying about how Sakuraba's career was managed, but are you saying that Okami is a better fighter than Sakuraba was?

To put it simply, answer this question: Who is the best Japanese fighter of all time?
8/31/11 6:35 PM
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Jetster
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Jons Forsberg - I think it's unfortunate that GSP is fighting guys that can't challenge him on any level and refuses to move up in weight.

he'd never step up to fight Vitor, Rampage, Lil Nog like Saku did, let alone win against any of these guys.



Dude are U F'ckn serious! We all agree how great Sak was and look what happened to him..he got raped and killed by much bigger guys as great as he was....so GSP should follow in his footsteps and get killed like Sak did to please U!? Sak is a perfect example of what not to do in your career...
Thats whay Weight catagories exist...figure it out!?
8/31/11 6:54 PM
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Jetster
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Simply Putting it Sak was Ahead of his Time.
8/31/11 7:05 PM
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grafzep
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nhbguy - 
grafzep - Frankly anyone disagreeing with Dana on this point is a moron. Of all the Japanese fighters to "come out of Japan" and I take that to mean actually fight outside of Japan, Okami has clearly done the best by a wide margin.

There is no question that Sakuraba was thrown to the wolves and fought people out of his weight class or was thrown into fights to lose valiantly to display "bushido" or whatever. There is a distinct difference in the approach to match making and career management between Japan and the States. The UFC Japan that Sakuraba won a good example, it wasnt just Pride.


I'm a little confused. I do understand what you're saying about how Sakuraba's career was managed, but are you saying that Okami is a better fighter than Sakuraba was?

To put it simply, answer this question: Who is the best Japanese fighter of all time?


Sakuraba is the greatest of all time and would be spoken of in even grander terms than Fedor has enjoyed if he wasn't mismanaged so horribly. I always took Dana's comments to mean Japanese fighters that have come from Japan and fought in the States.

Ive seen Sakuraba fight hurt and thrown into hopeless matches only to get brutalized for apparently no reason than the sick enjoyment of seeing him barely survive and grin afterwards. The dude was used cruelly and thrown aside.
8/31/11 7:08 PM
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Wasa-B
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jacktripper - 
CRE - Sakuraba would've done better against Anderson than Okami did prime vs. prime IMO, his single leg is still top 5 in the sport's history. Sakuraba's ability to absorb punishment is almost unrivaled in combat sports, his heart is unquestionable, not to mention his application of the submission game is some of the best we have seen. 


lets not get carried away, sak was stopped violently by nino "elvis" schembri


...due to a headbutt in a fight in which he was toying with nino.
8/31/11 7:09 PM
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grafzep
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Edited: 08/31/11 7:20 PM
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ChokeEmOut - Anyone that thinks that Sakuraba isn't probably the best Japanese fighter simply wasn't around during his time.

He had this entire forum rolling over every single time he made a Gracie his bitch.

Royler - Slapped like a red headed step child, forum screaming about bad stoppage etc. but Royce will get his ass.

Royce - Made a complete fool of, toyed with for 90 minutes only to quit on his stool. Forum went apeshit.



Renzo - Ok, now this was the one to beat Sakuraba. Renzo effectively does seem to be winning the fight then pop, there goes his elbow. Forum goes nuts "Rnezo was winning until his arm was dislocated" bla bla bla

Ryan - "Ryan's aggressiveness will be too much for Sakuraba"..Sak commences to making him his bitch too.



Most of the people here today weren't even around for all this as it happened. It was an incredible time to say the least.



I remember those days well and it seemed that eventually the Gracies would finally get him but they never did. I remember the American fighter whose name escapes me at the moment but he was the "Brazilian Killer" and he did well but was finally brought low. Never happened to Sak. His downfall came from his own people. Travesty really.
8/31/11 7:10 PM
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J-Tee
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 UG News provided more of the Interview:

Ranallo also interviewed Frank Shamrock on The Gracie Hunter.

Mauro Ranallo: “This guy is literally going to die in the ring and, yet, here we are six years later and the 42-year old is still fighting. I wanted to get your thoughts on why what was considered one of the big fights and one that both Bas Rutten & I were both looking forward to calling never materialized, that being Frank Shamrock vs. Kazushi Sakuraba under the PRIDE banner. Why didn’t it happen?”

Frank Shamrock: “Well, it never happened because we just could never come to terms with it and at the time, you’re right, Sakuraba was the biggest thing in Mixed Martial Arts and honestly my brand was on the decline and… you know, I was a tough fight, him and I were the exact same style, our teacher’s teachers were the same teachers, so it seemed like we were destined to fight each other but, you know, that was a time when I was going down and he was going up and he was, you know, superstardom ahead of me.

“But when you talk about continuing to fight past your ability to represent your own brand, you know, the Japanese culture believes differently. To them, dying in the ring, that’s a big honor and, you know, I hate to say it but it looks like Sakuraba’s going to go out that way.”

MR: “You’re joking?”

FS: “No! I mean, when I was in Japan… I would have loved to have died in the ring fighting.”

MR: “Why?”

FS: “Because that’s what I love to do, that’s the essence to of putting everything on the line and risking your life and your heart and your soul, your spirit, and putting everything out in front of the people. What better way to do if you’re a warrior?”

Read entire article...
Listen to entire interview...


8/31/11 7:10 PM
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Wasa-B
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Dana's quote is obviously correct though. Its not controversial, we all knew it was true back then.

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