This is a truly incredible story that needs to be told and told again…
During the very early years of MMA, the sport had a reputation for being ‘barbaric.’ Condemning the sport as ‘human cock fighting,’ politicians and mainstream sports were dead against mixed martial arts.
Thanks to a deeper understanding, on the most part MMA is accepted in the modern age. Although not as embedded as pursuits such as football, basketball or baseball, MMA is doing great considering its young age. Although many new fans may not know it, mixed martial arts is built on sacrifice.
One particular man’s story shows just how far old school warriors were willing to go.
Few people know the real story of Yuki Nakai. Strong in heart, body and mind, Nakai’s story will give you goosebumps, as will the video at the bottom of this article. Back in 1995, MMA was a very different sport, and Nakai’s sacrifice was astounding.
Fighting three times in one night at Vale Tudo Japn 1995, Nakai gave what very few could ever match. During a horrific evening of gruelling attrition, the Shooto champion would quite literally give his eye to preserve MMA’s future.
Watch The Video Below
Facing three men who all outweighed him, Nakai’s valiant fighting spirit was on full display. Firstly, against 6 foot 5 kickboxer Gerard Gordeau, Nakai suffered a life changing injury. Gordeau purposely gouged Nakai’s eye, leaving it terribly swollen. Nakai would win the fight, and still had two more to go on the very same evening.
During this touching and revealing video, you will see exactly how Nakai’s warrior spirit was displayed:
Just how many fighters would be willing to go this far today?
Dwarfed in his second fight by 100 pounds, Nakai again pulled off a stunning submission win. By this time he was completely blind in his right eye. Although he lost against the respectful Rickson Gracie, his battle was far from over.
Nakai was blinded for life in one eye, but refused to let this hod him back. After becoming the first Japanese man to earn a Brazilian Jiu Jistu black belt, Nakai went even further.
After that night in Japan, Nakai kept his blindness a secret. The Japanese warrior did this to preserve the reputation of MMA. Truly a great man, Nakai was later made president of the Japanese Jiu Jitsu Federation.
Hats off to you Nakai, a true legend of MMA, Jiu Jitsu & combat sports.