600lb. Sumo vs. MMA Fighter: Surely This Is Unfair?

By Salvador Sanchez

Mixed martial arts exhibitions have always promoted ‘freak show’ fights of some sort, but this was just crazy!

If you were a fan of mixed martial arts in the days of Pride FC, then you will be familiar with the term ‘freak show’ fights. It’s when a promotion puts on a fight with lopsided advantages in weight or height, but usually the skill advantage is held by the smaller man/woman.

You’ll remember the great Fedor Emelianenko fighting Zuluzinho in Pride, or Hong Man Choi in Dynamite, these are prime examples of freak shows. So what’s the attraction for these types of crazy pairings?

A lot of it comes from the demand of the audience involved. Back when Pride was the premier organization of mixed martial arts, there was no such thing as blockbuster pay-per-view shows, it was all about packing out the biggest stadium possible.

The Saitama Super Arena was the go-to venue for most Japanese MMA promotions back in the day, and the fans wanted to see a hero compete against seemingly impossible odds. Hence the freak show was born.

But don’t get caught up thinking that these circus fights are only associated with a long-gone era of fighting, just a few years back the UFC put Kimbo Slice in to their heavyweight division, even ex-boxing champion James Toney got a shot.

If it makes money, even in the absence of sense, freak shows will get booked more often than not. The subject today is Emmanuel Yarborough vs. Daiju Takase. Yarborough, a Sumo Wrestler, weighed in at 600 pounds for the fight at Pride 3. Takase was 169 pounds.

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