What did I just watch?!?
Looking back at the glory days of Japanese MMA can be a nostalgic affair. During a 10 year period, when JMMA was at its peak, some of the best fights went down in the East. At the same time, so did some of the most outrageously bizarre bouts.
In the land of the rising sun, the giants emerged, and they were beloved. ‘Freak show fights’ ushered in the millennium, as hordes of excited fans watched contently. Venues such as the Saitama Super Arena were packed to the gills regularly.
Some of the most watched fights of all time were not even close to being rankings based. Many believe the UFC holds all the records in terms of viewing figures. That’s simply not true, not in the slightest.
To put this in perspective, Bob Sapp vs. Akebono in 2003 got an estimated 54 million views. Yes, you read it right, that’s about five years worth of UFC views in ONE fight! But it was his bout with “Kid Muscle” that sealed Sapp as the biggest freak show fighter ever.
In 2008, just before the freak show fight trend truly died out, former football player Bob Sapp fought manga character Kinniku Mantaro. During a seriously bizarre 2008 K-1 event, ‘The Beast’ took on ‘Kid Muscle’ (really pro wrestler Akihiko Tanaka).
Although Sapp is not exactly the most ‘skilled’ fighter per se, he is certainly much bigger, stronger and more experienced than Tanaka. The fact Tanaka spent the entire promotional period dressed as Mantaro made this delightfully weird and worrying all the same.
Watch as Bob Sapp obliterates poor ‘Kid Muscle’ in one of the strangest MMA fights you’ll ever witness:
JMMA is Insane
Former Pride FC owner Sakakibara is attempting to revive the JMMA craze with Rizin FF. Sadly it doesn’t feel the same, but at least we have the power of Youtube to relive these delightful memories.