Enson Inoue: Impossible to run a big MMA promotion in Japan without Yakuza

Enson Inoue: Impossible to run a big MMA promotion in Japan without Yakuza

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Hello everyone it’s Enson Inoue.

I had a successful return to the ring last April and am currently in the process of writing a book

Teaser 3:  Ikebukuro Prison Diary, Day 1
October 19, 2008 Sunday
    Last night was my first night in prison and this may have been a wake up call that I needed.  Yesterday before going to Roponggi to party, I had time to kill so I drove my car to the East side of Ikebukuro station to park my car.  I wanted to eat a couple of sushi’s then possibly go for a massage.  But before I go to eat I wanted to catch up on some emails so I jumped in the back of my van and turned on my computer.  Then before I knew it there where 2 policemen on the side of my car asking me if they could search my car.  I knew there was a roach from the joint I smoked the night before going to bed and more of a friends weed he left in my car and was going to get it from me at night in Roponggi.  I hoped that they wouldn’t find the stuff, but as you already know… they did.  The police saw me try to hide the roach in my pocket and asked me what did I put in my pocket.  The feeling that overwhelmed me at this moment was, “Shit!  I’m fucked!” As I stood behind the car wondering what was going to happen to me, out came my friends 12 joints and 5 grams.  I thought of running but my better judgement told me that running would only make things bigger so I peacefully cooperated with the police.  Before I knew it there was 3 squad cars, about 10 policemen, and 3 plain clothes detectives.  It was like the movies.  They then told me that they were going to test the marijuana right in front of me to see if it really is real.  I told them that it wouldn’t be necessary because it is real. But I guess of procedures they still went through with the tests and it came out positive.  A big crowd began to gather around as I was put in handcuffs.  I just wanted to disappear a was hoping this was just all a dream.  I was then taken to the Ikebukuro police station where I was questioned for about 7 hours.  They took my DNA then took  some urine samples to check for hard drugs and of course that came out clean.  They asked me many questions and they were determined to get not only me but everyone around me too!  Who’s Marijuana was it?  Who did you get it from?  Who do you smoke with?  Who else do you know that smokes?  I told them I got it from a foreign friend “Tony Montana” and that the all Marijuana was for my own private use.  I knew if I got it from a foreign friend that doesn’t live in Japan, the Japanese police would not follow up on it so that’s what I decided to do.  I had a total of 18 grams so they didn’t believe me that it was for personal use only.  There is no way in hell that I would even consider giving out names of my friends so I insisted that all the marijuana was only mine.  They threatened me that I wouldn’t be going home for a long long time but squealing on my friends would never happen.  They could have even put a gun to my head and threaten to shoot me but I still wouldn’t have talked.  Loyalty and unity is the core of a strong family and I wasn’t about to break that for anything!  It really didn’t look good for me when the investigator just shook his head, got up, and walked away.  I knew I was in a lot of trouble but my biggest concern was my Family and how worried they would be.  After I was finished with 7 hours of questioning, I was booked, fingerprinted, stripped searched, weighed, and lead to my cell.  I was surprised at how much weight I gained when the scale registered at 104 kilograms. 

I just couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me.  Even now a I write this in my prison cell, I can’t believe this was actually happening.  When I reached my cell it was a small rectangular room with a toilet in the back.  No chairs, no hard corners, nothing.  In the room there were 3 guys sitting on the ground pretending like they didn’t notice me come in.  Then when the door slammed shut the eldest guy in the cell greeted me and began to introduce himself.  His name was Atsushi Shimizu (#26). He is 49 years old and in prison for his first time going on his 35th day.  He is being tried for transporting counterfeit Yen he brought from Thailand, a total of $100,000 worth.  He faces a possible 8-10 years if found guilty.  He was a very laid back, soft spoken, and very helpful filling me in on all the daily procedures.  He then introduced me to Takeda (#27) who got drunk, punched a friend who is now pressing charges.  This is also his first time in prison and he will be in only for another 2 weeks.  The last person in the room was a 22 year old college student they called Sano Kun who is being charged with grouping a girl on the train.  He claims he was falsely accused and seemed like he was stressing out really bad.  This is his first offense and he may be getting out today, which is his 3rd day.  Everyone was very kind which made me a bit more comfortable. 

Last night surprisingly I slept okay.  Tossed and turned a bit but I think I got a good 4 hours.  We were awaken at 6:30 am put away our futon and blankets and to brush our teeth.  Then at 8 am they brought us breakfast.  They pushed it through the little hole  in our cell and breakfast was a small portion or rice, some yucky vegetables, and a bowl of miso soup.  The vegetables looked yucky so I offered it to my cell mates and they gladly ate it all up.  Then I dumped some of the rice into my miso soup and it was delicious.  It wasn’t enough food but in prison, you have to eat what they give, absolutely no seconds.  Then at 9 am we had 15 minutes of exercise time where everyone just shaves or cuts their nails. At noon it was lunch time and we had 3 slices of bread, some jam, and milk.  I wasn’t hungry so I gave my portion to Takeda and he happily gulped it all down.  After lunch, Sano Kun was called out of the cell, put in handcuffs, and led away.  I was told that if he is lucky, he’ll get released and we won’t see him again.

Now this brings me to the present time.  At the moment I am laying on my stomach writing my dairy wondering how long I’ll be in here.  I think I’ll be ready for whatever comes my way, but I’m not looking forward to the long dragged out days killing time in this cell.  So much time to think and so much time to reflect.  I already wrote 6 letters and 4 pages for my book.  I figured that what’s done is done so I decided to take this time to lose weight, write my book, and rewrite my daily schedule to be more productive in my day to day life when I get out.  My parents in Hawaii  don’t know what’s happening yet and I pray to God that when the finally find out about this, it is when they read this book.  After all they always do for me, this is the last thing I wanted to do to them.  They raised me the best parents could raise a child providing much love, support, and guidance.  This fuck up is just me and had nothing to do with how I was brought up.  I now have to learn from this experience and come out a smarter and stronger person.  My lack of discipline and Yamatodamashii but I hope the strength of my heart and Yamatodamashii will help me get through with my head up high and my spirits strong.


lastcall – Enson, How do you think Kid will do in the UFC? Enson, further on Kid in the UFC, what would your main advice for him be?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I think he will do great!

He needs to use his wrestling to get on top and use his ground and pound! His G n P is ferocious. However most important for Kid is to have confidence that he can kick anyone in this weight class’s ass, in the world.

taruk mak tao – Enson, Can you discuss why you think japanese and asian fighters in general struggle (for the most part) when fighting in the US?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I think the language and the atmosphere is what affects them most. The energy in the US arena is leaps different from the Japanese ones.

EVILYOSHIDA – hey enson. what do you think japan can do to save its mma industry?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Get the right people to run it who can get the right sponsors then get some of the top fighters back fighting on Japanese soil!

EVILYOSHIDA – Hey Enson, how prevalent is steroid usage among japanese fighters? is it rare or common?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Very rare

nobones –  Hey Enson cool to see you on the UG again.  What do you think of JMMA scene?  Do you think it can revive and do you think the UFC is the promotion to do it considering the FEG president has basically declared FEG dead unless emergency VC arrives soon?  Are there any Japanese promotions that could pick up the mantle left by Pride and soon Dream to carry on the JMMA torch and getting it burning again?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Dana is the man that can make it happen and I already have offered him my services if he needs them.

Jack Skellington – One last question: When was the last time you spoke to Dana White?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

About a year ago through email.

nobones –  What do you think of JMMA scene?  Do you think it can revive and do you think the UFC is the promotion to do it considering the FEG president has basically declared FEG dead unless emergency VC arrives soon?  Are there any Japanese promotions that could pick up the mantle left by Pride and soon Dream to carry on the JMMA torch and getting it burning again?

Also, do you think Shinya Aoki was overrated?  Maybe he was top ten once in his career, but many pundits had him ranked #2 for several years.  Seems ridiculous considering he never fought and beat a top five guy when they were top five.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Mma in japan is not dead. Maybe K-1s Tanigawa was just talking about himself that fucken crook. he has 2 Y organizations pissed and after him.

Aoki is too 1 dimensional.

EVILYOSHIDA – tanigawa is a douche. i never hd faith in dream because of his idiocy.  mma needs a real leader in japan, bring sakakibara back.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yes Tanigawa is a very dishonest who is on his way down hard.

Wasa-B – Actually, Enson on the JMMA management scene, corruption, yakuza, etc…..im not sure if most people here understand that much of the entertainment industry in Asia is intertwined with organized crime and that breaking out of it may be great but not exactly done at the flick of a switch.

Countries cannot change long historical patterns over night and Japan is an older country than the US.

So, that said, what, in a nutshell, do you think it will take to revive the JMMA scene again? Can a single figure or core management team that is not as crooked as Tanigawa for example lead the way on their own?

How difficult would it be for a major MMA org to run itself on the scale of a Pride or K1 without Yakuza ties?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

 Yes someone respected by the fighters, fans, and Yakuza will be able to revive JMMA…. and No. It would be impossible to run a big MMA promotion without getting involved with the Yakuza

thefightnerd –  hey enson, just saw this thread on the front page and wanted to also say thanks for the great fights, I remember seeing some of your earlier battles when I used to tape-trade and its impossible not to be a fan of a guy like you. wanted to ask you a little more about JMMA, specifically if you could go in more detail on what the yakuza controls when it comes to the fight scene and how much control they ultimately have? thanks

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

More than control, you have to pay them to work in their territory.  So instead of going in with no backing and get eaten up by the sharks… it’s smartest to collaborate with a Yakuza group, give them a percentage and they keep all the other sharks away.

hiptosser – Can you explain to us the position Yazuza hold in Japanese culture/society, I think there is a disconnect with fans in the states when we hear that Yazuza is involved with MMA or entertainment.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

It’s quite common and accepted in Japan.  But it’s a no no to have it come public.

theken206 – “1) Why doesn’t the Japanese government strip the Yakuza of their influence like the FBI does to the mafia(for the most part) in the States? Is it because of the group culture?”

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

The yakuza cant really be compared that well with Cosa Nostra. Diffrent set up/culture/influences/history etc etc

They are trying.  They are cracking down hard.

theken206 –  hmmmm quite intresting…… how are they going about it? Trying to tie illict buisnesses with legit ones? Some crazy japanese version of the RICO act lol?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Harassing them for no reason and changing laws to make life harder for them.

theken206 – gotcha gotcha. How has the effect been?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Pretty good.  The Yakuzas are being squeezed good.

Bixby – Hi Enson

I wanted to ask you about the Yakuza and how strong they are involved in the combat scene.

What about Yakuza in general? THe west has probably the false image of these guys due to hollywood movies and such.

How present are they really in all of Japan?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

They are silently present in every fight promotion.
They are also very present in everyday Japan.  For example I hit the town last night randomly saw at least 20 Yakuzas and went drinking with 3 of them.

DreamerMMA –  Damn, some of you are trying to get Enson killed with all the Yakuza questions.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

No it’s all good.



jittaz – hey enson, you are a legend, and a rolemodel to alot of us, my question in who was your toughest fight against in your career?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

1. Frank Shamrock
2. Igor Vovchanchin
3. Big Nog
4. Mark Kerr


was mark kerr the strongest fighter you faced Enson?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Physically?  Yes!

mijo – Sensei Enson. I dont want to bring up any bad memories, so hopefully I dont offend you. I always thought you were one the first real MMA guys, but I also thought your submissions were your strong point. Just how shock were you when Nog was putting you in those submission holds?

And what did you say after you fought and lost to Frank Shamrock. I remember you crying.

Im just curious. sorry.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Felt like I was getting raped!  Respect to Nog!

I said, “Franks 100% was better than my 100% tonight.  There were days that I took of because I was sore.  Losing doesn’t necessarily need to be something bad.  I can learn from this loss and make it something good.  My heart has gotten stronger from this battle.”

McCorkleRuinedMySN –  Enson!! I you could fight anyone who would it be? we’ll say one in mma, one not. also, Fedor, GSP, or Anderson? best p4p?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Of course it would be either my favorite fighter Vanderlei or a rematch with Frank.

Toss up between GSP and Cain.

leydster – Are you gonna be fighting again?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue
I’m 43 and the clock is ticking but if the right offer comes.

TheAlchemist –  sup Enson! Glad to see you back on the forums. Will we see you in the ring again?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Only if a good opponent and a good offer comes.

Lee Conway –  Enson, amazing to actually speak to you, just a quick question if you have the time. What would you say was the best win of your career? The one that you’re most proud of. Thanks in advance.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Win for the books, Randy Couture.
Win for my spirit, Igor Vovchanchin.

Im A Ninja – Thanks for taking the time to respond to the fans. You have always come across as an extremely respectful, and knowledgeable fighter. Many fighters should emulate the attitude that you carry. I think the sport would get a much better image, other than the barbaric, knuckle dragging buffoons that the media so likes to describe fighters.

What were some camps/fighters that you have prepared you for some of your fights? Can you remember the best training camp you had for preparing for a fight?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

The best training camp I ever had was my comeback fight in April 2010.  The combination of my brother Egan overall training(http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1652956946), Fisticuffs Leonard Gabriel’s boxing (http://www.fisticuffsgym.com/), and my O2 capsule, was the best training camp I ever had!!!

Benwahwah – Hey Enson, I’m wondering who do you wish you had been able to compete against. Also would you ever fight your brother in the cage or any of your students / teammates?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I always wanted to fight Vanderlei. I would NEVER fight my brother.

Hel13torm – hey Enson, was just listening to a podcast with Heath Herring and he told an entertaining story about your fight with him in PRIDE. He said he got you in a keylock and was trying to convince you to tapout otherwise your arm would break. He said you basically replied “Do what ya gotta do, man. Just break it”. Any other entertaining stories from or about that fight?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yeah he asked me to give up or he is going to break my arm and I replied, “If you can break it then go ahead and break it.”  It was cracking and popping so I was wondering if he could actually break it.  Then the referee came running over and asked me if I wanted to give up so I answered him by hitting Heath on the back of the head with my free hand.  That was a funny situation.

jbbarne – Much respect for your fights, and thank you very much!

 One quick question… do you feel MMA today is too boring, With the wrestling heavy, wall & stall tactics being used recently?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

The lack of Kill or be killed mentality is what’s missing from MMA today.  But it is doing well much much bigger and popular than when I was an active fighter.




muay_jitsu – Any thoughts on the Strikeforce HW grand Prix? I see you think highly of Cain, how do you think he would do if he was involved? It is a honor to even have the privilege to be able to ask a legend any question. Thanks for the memories and hopefully you will have the opportunities somehow to give us more.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Cain would do great where ever he goes.  Striking, wrestling, ground, stamina, killer instinct, heart of a lion, what else can you ask for?

Jack Skellington –  Enson, who are you picking as the winner of the Strikeforce GP?
BigFoot Silva vs. Fedor
Alistar Overeem vs. Fabrico Werdum
Andre Arlovski vs. Sergie Kharatonov
Josh Barnett vs. Brett ‘Grimm’ Rogers

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I see Fedor vs Barnett in the final.

Jack SkellingtonCan I quote you on that big man? lol

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Go right ahead.  The sleeper will be Alistar!
I must warn you though, my predictions suck.



UnzippedAndMcCorkh0led Question – when you are getting guys ready to compete, what do you do, or how do you tell them to handle the butterflies, nerves ?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I tell them to train as hard as they can because feeling that you are ready for the fight will subside the jitters. I also let them know that the jitters are normal and that they need to help it become aggression to smash their opponent.

WRESTLENOW – thx for the answers, i have been training bjj for over a year now however i don’t think the gi is realistic for an MMA fight and i try to get as much nogi as possible. what are your thought about gi vs nogi? did you come up in the gi?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yes no gi sparring is a must but I would never stop training with the gi.  The gi refines your technique.  I would train 70% no gi and 30% gi and before a fight I would do 90% no gi and 10% gi.  Always keep the gi training in your regimen.

DPhoenix – wow, the legendary Enson Inoue! I bow to you, sir!

Is it possible if you could please share some advice to a future MMA fighter (me)? I wish to learn anything I can from the best and I dream of going professional and fighting the best!

Thank you so much and best of luck in your book, which I will definitely look out for when it comes out!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Train BJJ with a BJJ Black belt, kickboxing with a kick boxer, and wrestling with wrestlers.

Hunter V – how many black belts have you produced? You still do gi training or is it mainly no gi and muay thai these days?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I’ve produced 9 black belts that are better than me now. I train 95% MMA and 5% gi.

tatamiburns –  Hey Enson, it must have been you on subfighter as talking to you on there was how I found Purebred Kyoto. Can you list your nine black-belts just out of curiosity.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Steve Roberto, Terrence, Shshido Tikita, Yoshioka, Hashi, and 3 other Japanese fighters.




PitbullMMA – When do you expect your book to be out? What is your favorite book?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Later this year. My favorite book although I can barely understand it is the Holy Bible

mandible – Much respect, old school legend of the sport. I recently recalled hearing or reading somewhere that you were on some sort of epic journey by foot across Japan. What happened with that?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Came back alive. 1400 kilos by foot and sleeping out every night.

Teufel_Hunden –  Enson, Thank you for #1 setting the example for living out Bushido! I have always loved watching you fight, win or lose and appreciate your character out of the ring. #2 For coming on here and taking your time to answer so many questions, sharing your stories and being super jack frost cool about it. I am looking very forward to reading your book and also would love to have it autographed. Maybe when it’s printed, you could pop back by and let us order directly from your website or something? Just a thought.

Whether it be fighting, mental, spiritual or whatever, what is your biggest lesson in life? And if it is in the book… I can accept that answer completely! Thanks again my brother!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

My biggest lesson was what I learned on my pilgrimage.  To appreciate the simple things.  Even as simple as a roof to sleep under every night.

NEDCMK1 – Wow Enson is back. How is your family? I loved the documentary clips of you guys together. Your son training?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I don’t have a son.  He was my step son in my marriage and he was taken away from me when I got divorced.  The most pain I ever felt.

Nomak –  I saw a documentary some time ago.

Can’t remember the name exactly but you were lovingly whacking your kid around and telling him to do push ups and sprawls and go for take downs.

He’s gonna be one tough kid.

Do you expect your son to follow in your foot steps?

Do you want him to be a fighter?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Well that was my wife at the times kid and if I had one he doesn’t necessarily need to be a fighter.  I do want him to train and be able to defend himself though.

topsidegogo – Enson, you’re a stud. Any seminars state-side planned?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I can’t travel until my probation is over and it ends in January 2012. After that I’m willing to go where ever to do a seminar!

myee8 –  It’s an honor to see you on the UG Enson, hope to see you in Australia one day!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I would love to do a seminar there.  Maybe someone can set something up for 2012 after my probation is over and I can travel again.

mma ray – Enson, if you dont mind me asking. Why exactly are you on probation? I’m sure some of my fellow ug’ers know why, and will probably beat you to the punch though. Once again, thanks for the great memories, and good luck in the future

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Possession of Marijuana.  I actually was a good movement in my life.  Got me back walking a straight line.

Hong Kong Phooey – in Hawaii ? Must have been some weight . Hope it was Kona 🙂

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

I was here in Japan and the laws here are strict.  I was caught with 16 grams including 22 joints.  I was locked up for 28 days, got 3 years probation, and lost my green card.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yes.  Threw out my pipe and my rolling papers!

Jack Skellington – I want to play word a association game with you please. Give me the first word that comes into your head when you hear these names:
    BJ Penn –
    Yuji Shimada –
    Anderson Silva –
    Kazushi Sakuraba –
    Brock Lesnar –
    Dana White –
    Kid Yamamoto –
    Fedor Emelianenko –

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

BJ Penn – Phenomenal
Yuji Shimada – dumbshit
Anderson Silva – poised
Kazushi Sakuraba – Gracie
Brock Lesnar – huge
Dana White – UFC
Kid Yamamoto – power
Fedor Emelianenko – cool

HardHittingHeeb – what fights have you watched where you have been impressed by someone’s toughness?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Edgar, when he fought Maynard.


Gnarly219 – No questions, just respect. You sir are the man.

Ok, just one. What is your philosophy on getting tattooed? Does everything on you mean something to you, or on a couple did you just see the design, liked it, and said “I’ll take that”? I’m a drummer who wants to half-sleeve my arm, but I just don’t know what to fill it with.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

All the tattoos on my body are things that are burnt in my soul. Things that I will take wth me when I die!

chew22 – You said a while ago that every tattoo has a part of your soul on it. How do you make decisions to get ink (tattoos), and who does your work?

Also, can you tell us one tattoo story?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

My boy Derek “Yoshi” does all my tattoos.  Check him out!  http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1403303601

Tattoo story? Buy my book when it comes out!



From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Finally the dirt in Shooto is exposed. 

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

 I thought it was totally honorable of Rumina to stand right there when the shit was going down. Rumina deserves to be the next head of the Shooto Association.

TheAlchemist –  What’s going on in that vid??! The guy with his arms behind his back seems thoroughly pissed!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

The guy on the right (Wakabayashi) is being forced to step down from his Shooto position by my boy Asahi!

EVILYOSHIDA – that’s shooto legend noburo asahi.

can you please explain the back story? very interested.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yes Taro Wakabayashi and the Shooto Association was embezling money. Asahi had over 28 signatures from Shooto gym owners all over Japan which forced Wakabayashi?Sakamoto?and Nakai to resign from Shooto. Some of the gym owners that backed Asahi was RuminaSato?Gutsman Sakurada? Kusayanagi? Hioki?etc.
Damn I wish I was there.

TheAlchemist –  It looked like Nakai was agreeing to what Asahi was saying. I wish that vid was subtitled!

Would have loved to see you in that vid Enson!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yes apparently Nakai didn’t know that Wakabayashi was doing all that but took responsibility for not being on the ball and stepped down on his own.  

TheAlchemist – Nakai always seemed like a stand up guy, glad that he wasn’t involved in the thievery and took responsibility for his position.

For some reason I kept watching the vid expecting a fight to break out and Rumina pulling flying armbars on everyone!

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yeah they said that is the reason why they didn’t want me around.  I’m on probation and they were afraid of what I would do…

TheAlchemist – Why would they think that? hehe. Maybe it’s better that you weren’t there, that would suck to have leave Japan.

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

Yeah!  What would make then think that?  I’m a saint……. sometimes.

Paka Ono – Wow! Much respect Enson!

And that’s crazy about Shooto. Hopefully this translates into something positive. I think there’s going to be a huge vacuum in JMMA is FEG does fail. And maybe a good opportunity for someone to fill in?

From: Enson Yamato Inoue

It will be a good thing.  Getting rid of the bad seeds can only mean good things. 

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